Back up your files!

Backing up your files is easy. It really is. You should be doing it. Also, you can get around Windows 8 without your hand cramping up from trying to use a mouse.

Backup your files. Please. Just do it. And keep doing it.

A good time to develop a backup plan is before everything goes haywire. If, like most of us, you would regret the loss of your email or your address book, your photos, your spreadsheets and letters, your business information, your internet Favorites, or anything else on your computer, you really should backup those files.

Stop rolling your eyes. Backing up stuff is easier than ever. The days of feeding CD's into the computer one by one and "storing" them on the top shelf in the hall closet are over. External hard drives are inexpensive and reliable, and some include backup software. Western Digital Passport (http://www.wdc.com/en/products/external/portable/), ClickFree (http://www.clickfree.com/products_c2.php#), and some external hard drives from HP are reliable and have easy-to-use backup programs. (I do not like Seagate external hard drives, and their FreeAgent backup software is hard to figure out.)

A true backup is different than just copying files to another drive. Backup software compresses the files so they take up less space on your external drive. Also, backup programs give you the choice of backing up every single file every time, or of doing a full backup at first and then just adding new files to it. It keeps track of what’s already been backed up and just grabs what hasn’t.

Even it you get a hard drive without the software, easy to use backup programs are readily available, and many are free. Easeus ToDo (http://download.cnet.com/Easeus-Todo-Backup-Free/3000-2242_4-10964460.html) is pretty straightforward. If you have Windows 7, you already have a pretty good backup program built right in. Learn more about that here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/Back-up-your-files.

Creating a backup is a good idea. Creating more than one is an even better idea. I advise my business customers to have more than one backup and to keep one off site. Sometimes that involves multiple backup drives with one in a safe deposit box, and sometimes it involves an automatic off site backup solution like Carbonite (http://www.carbonite.com/) or Mozy (http://mozy.com/). Even if you’re not a business, you should at least consider whether you need a “backup backup.”

Navigating in Windows 8

Windows 8 is the newest version of Windows, and it is…different. There are some good things about Windows 8, but they are hard to find until you learn your way around. Windows 8 was made to run on touch screen computers. Navigation makes a kind of sense if you have a touch screen and can “swipe” and tap.

You can still use a mouse and keyboard to get around Windows 8. The important part of that last sentence is the “keyboard” part. If you don’t get the results you want by moving your mouse into “hot corners” try using keyboard shortcuts.

Microsoft’s site has information here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-CA/windows-8/mouse-keyboard-whats-new on how to use the mouse and keyboard to get around Windows 8. A more complete list of the keyboard shortcuts is here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-CA/windows-8/keyboard-shortcuts. Like the rest of Windows 8, the new shortcuts take some getting used to. I can understand Winkey + C to open the Charms bar. I can even understand Winkey +Q to open Search. But you get to Settings by pressing the Winkey + I. That’s just silly. There is no “I” in Settings.

Have you tried Windows 8 yet? What do you think? Would you recommend any particular book to help other people learn about Windows 8?

Do you need help with your computer? I'm here to help you and your home or business computer get along!

Cate Eales runs Computer Care Kelowna (http://computercarekelowna.com/) a mobile service helping home users and businesses get along with their computers. To arrange an appointment phone her at 250-764-7043. Cate also welcomes your comments and suggestions. Send email to [email protected].

You can read previous columns here: http://rlis.com/column.htm . If you'd like to subscribe to this column by email, please visit this link: http://www.feedblitz.com/f/f.fbz?Sub=20618 . It's easy, and free. If you'd prefer the RSS Feed, click here: http://rlis.com/rlis.xml.

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About the Author

The Technology Shaman, Cate Eales, has been helping people make online computing safe, accessible, and fun for over 30 years.

Cate lives in Kelowna with her husband, Eric. She owns and operates Computer Care Kelowna, a mobile computer business providing on-site service for home and small business customers.

Cate is here to help you and your home or business computer get along.

E-mail Cate at [email protected] with comments, suggestions, or questions.

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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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