Tag Archives: how to back up

BitSeeds: How to Back Up Your Bitcoin or Altcoin Wallet

 

As I explained in the previous lesson on encrypting your wallet, one of the responsibilities you have when you hold your own funds is to protect them. Encrypting your wallet protects them from being spent without your permission, but you also should protect your funds from being lost just like you would with cash or any valuable item.

Your real wallet is not the program itself, but a file called wallet.dat which has a copy of your private key. Think of your private key as a magic key that lets you spend or save your money and proves you own it.

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How to Back Up Windows or Mac – Video Lesson

In this video lesson I explain the two general methods of backing up your important files, namely incremental backup (a.k.a. versioned backup) and “cloning” backup. I also give specific suggestions about how to do either one or both to protect the important files on your computer. Failing to back up is perhaps the biggest single computer mistake I see people making, and failing to back up correctly and regularly can lead to the loss of time, money and irreplaceable files, which can have devastating consequences. Watch and learn how to protect yourself.

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How to Back Up – Cloning Backup

The following article is another except from Worth’s new book titled “How to Avoid 7 Common & Costly Computer Mistakes – Explained in Plain English” and follows from my previous post where I answered the question “Why Back Up?” and my post where I explained how to back up using incremental backup. In this article I want to explain one general method for how to back up your computer, namely something called “cloning”.  I won’t repeat the many reasons why it is absolutely essential that you back up on a regular basis, but I will give you some recommendations on methods you can use to protect yourself, including information for both Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac computers. First off, let’s define “cloning” backups. Cloning refers to making an exact 100% copy of your computer’s hard drive, typically onto a second internal hard drive, or better, an external hard drive which is left turned off except during the backup process to minimize wear and tear and keep it more reliable. Some people argue that cloning isn’t really a method of backing up, and while I agree the original reason it was developed as an option was probably to make it easier to upgrade to a new hard drive, it also can make a great way to back up your computer. If done correctly, when you clone your computer’s hard drive, the clone should be “bootable”, which is to say, you can start the computer up from that drive in exactly the same way you normally start up with your computer’s main hard drive. The benefit of having a bootable backup copy of your drive is that it minimizes downtime and expense. In some cases, you can start your computer up from the external drive and literally be up and running again in a minute or two. Running your computer off the backup drive in this way is not a long-term solution, but if you’re waiting on a replacement drive or you’re waiting for a computer tech to replace the main drive after it fails you can at least get work done in the mean time and everything will be exactly the way it was as of the last time you cloned the drive. Cloning your drive in this way can also save you money by minimizing the time spent by a technician repairing your Mac or PC.  In many cases the tech can simply take the external hard drive out of the case and put it into the computer in place of a bad hard drive, then put the new replacement drive into the external case. This can take as little as 5-10 minutes to get you back up and running again, as opposed to potentially hours of time with the bill getting bigger by the minute doing it “the old fashioned way” by putting the replacement drive into the computer, installing Windows or Mac OS X, and restoring all the files from the backup and potentially (depending on how you backed up) also reinstalling each and every program such as Microsoft Word, etc. and getting everything manually configured exactly how you had it before. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of options to create a hard drive clone like this for Windows. Mac OS X users are fortunate to have more options, but it’s still possible to do on pretty much any computer. I have found a couple of programs that will duplicate your hard drive in this way for Windows, both of which are free (although there are a couple of caveats on this which I’ll explain in a moment). The first program for Windows, which makes these 100% “cloned” copies is something called XXClone.  This is a completely free program which does a great job and which I use myself.  The only problem with this program is that it only works properly with Windows XP, and is unfortunately not compatible with Windows Vista or Windows 7. You can find this program by Googling “XXClone”. Another option for Windows users that does seem to work with all versions of Windows is Seagate DiscWizard (formerly Maxtor MaxBlast).  Discwizard is available for free from Seagate’s website — just Google “Seagate DiscWizard download” to get the link. The one minor hitch to this is that for it to run, it does require at least one of your hard drives to be either a Seagate or Maxtor brand drive (Maxtor was bought by Seagate a while back). This isn’t a really big problem for most people because when you buy your USB drive, you can either buy a Maxtor or Seagate brand, which are pretty easy to find, or go to a local computer store and ask them to put a Maxtor brand hard drive into any USB case for you. These brand drives are also extremely common in computers, so there’s a very good chance you already have one of them as the main internal drive in your PC. I’ve been using Maxtor and more recently Seagate DiscWizard (which is the exact same program with a different name) for years and have tested this out extensively and it seems to have no problems as long as one of the drives is Seagate or Maxtor. On the Apple Mac side of things people have a few options, the main two being something called “SuperDuper!” and another called Carbon Copy Cloner. SuperDuper is inexpensive, CCC is free (but appreciates donations). Both are good programs, but I’ve been using CCC for the better part of a decade now as my main backup program and so it’s what I recommend to my clients. Both programs work in the same basic way, so pretty much anything I say about CCC applies equally to SuperDuper. Unlike Seagate Discwizard on the PC, CCC does not require any specific brand of hard drive, and unlike XXClone — which only works properly with one version of Windows — should work with any modern Mac. If you have an older Mac they also, the last time I checked, keep an older version of CCC available if you need it, but unless your Mac is several years old you should have no problem running the current version of CCC. On either type of computer, the time it takes to complete the backup varies a lot depending on how much you have on your hard drive, and what type of connector (USB, Firewire, eSATA) you use for the external drive. To do a complete backup it can take anywhere from half an hour to several hours in extreme cases (this is only usually going to be the case if you have an extremely large number of big files such as video files). But you can start it and walk away, so it’s not as bad as it sounds. This should be done at least once a month, maybe more frequently if you plan to make a lot of changes to the computer, like installing new software, or updating your system with a major update to Windows or the Mac OS. One of the things I really like about Carbon Copy Cloner (which I believe is also true of SuperDuper, but which unfortunately does not seem to be an option for the Windows programs I’ve mentioned) is that you can actually combine cloning with the other main way to back up your files, known as versioned (or incremental) backup. Basically CCC can give you the best of both worlds.  With this option turned on, it takes a couple of hours to do the first cloned backup, but then after that it can be as quick as 5 minutes. Because of this, I back up my main computer using CCC every single day as the last thing I do.  This way I know I have everything backed up, and it happens quickly and literally as easily as the flick of the power switch on my external drive. As a side note, Windows users who might want the ease of backup enjoyed by Mac owners should keep in mind that all Apple Mac computers can run Windows and it’s possible to do this and have Windows backed up right along with the main Mac OS X files.  There are a lot of other benefits to using Macs, but that’s a topic for another time. If you need more help, take a look at my easy video lesson course on backing up your computer, available for either Mac or Windows computers. In the lessons I show you step by step how to correctly set up use the programs I talk about in the article you just read. To learn more, click one of the following two links:

How to Back Up – Apple Mac

How to Back Up – Windows PC

How to Back Up – Incremental Backups

The following article is another except from Worth’s new book titled “How to Avoid 7 Common & Costly Computer Mistakes – Explained in Plain English” and follows from my previous post where I answered the question “Why Back Up?” In this article I want to explain one general method for how to back up your computer, namely “incremental backup”.  I won’t go into the many reasons why it is absolutely essential that you back up on a regular basis, but I will give you some recommendations on methods you can use to protect yourself, including information for both Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac computers. First off, let’s define “incremental” backups, also known as “versioned” backups. When you create an incremental backup, it is where you are backing up your files in such a way that you have multiple copies of each file, or at least multiple copies of the files that have changed. Incremental backups can be achieved either “manually”, by burning a new disc each time you backup to CD/DVD/Blu-Ray/etc., or automatically by a backup program. The benefit of versioned backups is that if you make unwanted changes to a file or it becomes corrupted or otherwise lost, you can go back to an earlier point and retrieve the old version. First, use either optical disks or USB flash drives or maybe online backup (or all of the above to be extra safe) for your documents and other smaller files which are frequently changed or updated. This incremental backup should be done on a frequent basis, once a week for the average computer, once a day in an office environment where you have files critical to running your business. This can take as little as five minutes to do and it’s well worth it! Again, if you use optical discs such as CD or Blu-Ray, don’t use reusable discs but instead burn a fresh disc each time and keep at least the last 2-3 copies as spares.  If you use USB flash drives (or flash memory cards, which are basically the same as far as this goes) you again should rotate between at least two drives so you have a spare copy. You also don’t have to do incremental backups “manually” like this, as there are backup programs that you can set up once and then they will do this for you automatically. On the Windows side, the built-in backup software can do this, but the problem is it is notoriously hard to set up and use for most computer users. Fortunately, there is a very simple program I’ve discovered which puts an easy to use “front end” on the Windows backup system that makes it dead simple to use. The program is called Oops!Backup and while you do have to pay for it, it is a one-time payment (not a yearly or monthly subscription in other words) and very inexpensive. The peace of mind and insurance you get from using it are well worth the low price (under $40 US the last time I checked). The program will run automatically and back up all of your critical personal files & settings either on a regular hourly basis, or automatically as soon as you plug in a backup drive. You can use either an external hard drive for this, or get a large-capacity USB flash drive or memory card. On the Mac side there is an incredibly simple to use program called Time Machine which is so simple to set up it literally requires only one click to do with standard settings.  Time Machine works the same basic was as Oops!Backup (in fact, Oops!Backup is designed to be the Windows version of Time Machine according to the company website) and lets you “go back in time” through a simple screen and grab any older version of a file and “bring it forward in time” to replace a lost or damaged file. Note: Time Machine is not the same thing as Time Capsule. Time Capsule is an physical device which combines a wireless router and a backup (external) hard drive.  Time Machine does not require a Time Capsule, even though Time Capsule was designed with Time Machine in mind (hence the similar names). In fact, I strongly suggest that you do NOT buy a Time Capsule as they are designed to be left on all the time, which as I mention several times in this report, is a bad idea because it makes the drive less reliable. In my opinion, I think an external USB or Firewire hard drive is about the best place you can back up your files, but ideally you should leave the drive off when not in use to reduce wear and tear. If you leave it turned on all the time, then the backup drive isn’t really any more reliable than the main drive, which kind of defeats the purpose. Regardless of which exact method you use to create your backups, make sure you do back your computer regularly; it’s a huge mistake to do otherwise. If you need more help, take a look at my easy video lesson course on backing up your computer, available for either Mac or Windows computers. In the lessons I show you step by step how to correctly set up use the programs I talk about in the article you just read. To learn more, click one of the following two links:

How to Back Up – Apple Mac

How to Back Up – Windows PC

Why Back Up – Does It Really Matter?

The following article is an except from Worth’s new book titled “How to Avoid 7 Common & Costly Computer Mistakes – Explained in Plain English”. Why Back Up? I’ve seen it over and over again in the many years I’ve been helping people with computers: people – both at home and at work – who never back up their files. This is a really bad idea, and if you’re guilty of this, I suggest you make a point to start regularly backing up your files. Let me explain why. As you may know, every file on your computer – from photos, to music, to email, all of your programs, and even Windows itself, or Mac OS X – everything is stored on a part of the computer called the hard drive. Hard drives (both the older mechanical ones and the newer “solid state drives” a.k.a. SSDs) are the best technology available to us right now to store files on a computer, but unfortunately they can break down for a lot of reasons. Because of this, pretty much every hard drive will fail eventually. Anything in a computer, of course, can break down, but the hard drive is one of the most common parts to go. When this happens, chances are some, if not all of the files on the drive will be lost. Unfortunately most people learn this lesson the hard way, myself included! Years ago, when I was fresh out of high school, I still owned my first computer which was a few years old by that point. One day I was using my computer when I started hearing a clicking noise from inside the case, and suddenly couldn’t open any of my files — my computer’s hard drive was breaking down! I quickly realized what was going on and started copying my files as fast as I could to floppy disks (it was around 1990 when this happened). Hours later, after I don’t know how many floppies, and after hitting “retry” over and over and over, I managed to scrape maybe half of my important files off the drive before it completely fell apart. I was devastated: I’d lost so much of my early writing (short stories I wrote for myself, plus school work, letters, etc.) and a bunch of other important files that represented years of work. Imagine the most important things you keep on your computer. I don’t know if this would be your favorite memories in the form of pictures or home videos, important writing, like business or personal emails or Word documents, critical financial records – imagine what it would feel like to watch all of those irreplaceable things just go up in smoke right before your eyes. I’m a writer, and I lost at least half of my early writing, which I still miss sometimes, over 20 years later! And I was lucky! I have seen so many people bring their computers to me with a failing or dead hard drive. I’ve worked on their computers and in some cases I was able to get their files, but a lot of times it was just too late. They lost everything. And people don’t lose files just because of hard drives going bad as a natural result of years of use! Other times, people lose files due to viruses, careless mistakes by someone using the computer who accidentally erases something important, or due to clumsy mistakes such as spilling a liquid onto the computer and frying the hard drive in the process. The results can be stressful and upsetting if this happens on a personal computer, but it can be fatal to a business: according to the Gartner Group, a major IT research company, the estimate is that “43 percent of businesses fail… following a major disaster and 29 percent fail within the first two to four months.” Believe me, for a business – and for a lot of home users who keep their tax records, loan info, and other critical financial information on their computer – losing your files can truly be a major disaster. But it’s so easy to avoid. If all those people had just taken a few minutes to back up their files on a regular basis, at worst they would’ve lost a few days’ worth of work, or as little as a few hours – however long it was since their last backup! Now that I’ve explained why back up your computer, do yourself a huge favor and get in the habit of backing up regularly. It’s not hard or time consuming and is well worth it. It’s almost inevitable that something will go wrong that can cause lost files. Better to be prepared and keep your files than to make the mistake of failing to back up and losing everything as a result. If you need more help, take a look at my easy video lesson course on backing up your computer, available for either Mac or Windows computers:

How to Back Up – Apple Mac

How to Back Up – Windows PC