Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Backup and Free File Sync

Backups...backups...backups... So critical, yet so difficult to be 100% confident. Simple answer is there is no one solution that will guarantee your data's safety.

Storing your data using RAID mirroring will help avoid annoyances of hard drives dying horribly at the wrong moment, but this doesn't give you any protection against fat fingers and removing a whole directory by accident.  In fact my 3 year old daughter deleted a whole folder of music from a share on my NAS by accident just my leaning on the keyboard, yikes!

In my quest to enable simple file folder backups of data held on my NAS to give me an off-site backup, I still find the easiest solution is to copy it all to an external hard drive and hike it over to a friends house.

There are many file copy solutions, a solid one, probably built into your Windows operating system is Robocopy. This allows transfer of files and directories recursively including mirroring, where it will remove any files at the destination which are no longer at the source. If you don't using the mirroring option and just copy all your files, your still just overwriting the existing files, so what we really want is some kind of versioning.

Now I don't need anything complicated and I'm an avid fan of free software so I recommend you give Free File Sync a whirl. It's got a nice GUI, has all the file synchronising features you can think of, specifically including the option to version files you copy over, so if it can see the file already exists at the destination, it'll create a separate timestamped version, you can also specify a limit of how many historical copies it will keep. Certainly a nice way to keep track of things for a while without .

Don't forget, the only solid backup, is a tested backup and one that isn't at the same location as your current data; use a friend, use the cloud (DropBox, SkyDrive, Google Drive all have free storage options for at least your most important files).

Don't wait till you lose everything to wish you'd done it sooner!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Windows 8 Keyboard Shortcuts - [WIN + X] - Power user commands

Now that everything is relocated within Windows 8 and a little bit harder to find at first, pressing the X key while holding down the Windows key brings up one of the more useful menus.

The "Power user commands" menu

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Windows 8 Start Menu - Replace it with the best of both worlds!

After using Windows 8 for a few months now, I still feel the main start menu replacement is a little full-on and isn't as discrete as it could be. I suggest you try out Classic Shell. Unlike some other start menu replacements for Windows 8, it's free, and you can easily still get to the built in Windows 8 start screen by pressing Shift with the Windows key. Completely configurable, definitely worth a try, especially given the price.


Friday, 5 October 2012

Skype Home shows just a rotating circle

For the last week I noticed that the "Skype Home" tab that comes up in the main Skype interface ( was just showing the rotating loading circle.
Turns out that this is a problem with Internet Explorer settings and resetting them fixes the problem.

  • Go into Internet Properties within Internet Explorer and go to the "Advanced" tab. 
  • At the bottom is a "Reset..." button. Click that and reset your settings back to defaults. 
  • Quit Internet Explorer.
  • If running, quit Skype.
  • Start Skype again and all should be well.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Alternative to...

I've used this really handy website for many years now to find other pieces of software out there that do a similar job to something I've already got. A great way to find software that could be preferable to a tool you already use.