Saturday, December 28, 2013

How to Set Up Your New PC

This is a very good article, but it is rather lengthy. It needs more that one quick read. Keep the link handy and refer to the article often. I don't necessarily agree with everything in it, but that will always be the case when dealing with such a long and detailed article. If you have questions, please contact me. See for contact information.

"Did you receive a pristine, mint Windows 8/8.1 computer this holiday season? Congratulations! I wish I could say you're ready to go.

However, right out of the box, no computer is perfect. Unlike most electronic devices, which you can plug in and use instantly, Windows PCs need some adjustment before they're ready for everyday use. You need to make your new system safe, and personalize it with your own preferences. There are programs on the hard drive you should get rid of, and other things you should add immediately. If you haven't yet been introduced to Windows 8/8.1, or it's been a while since you've set up a new machine, we'll walk you through it all in these 12 simple steps. If your new baby is a Mac, you've got a much shorter to-do list."

Monday, December 23, 2013

Backing up your data

Two blog posts ago, the one about Cryptolocker, I mentioned that we all need to be sure we make backups of our data. I am talking mostly about your Documents, Photos, Music, and Videos.

A customer called me and asked how they should do that.

There are as many answers to that question as there are customers, but let me lay out what I do and then what you might consider doing. It is very important to get your backed up data off site, i.e., out of the house.

Before you start, however, you should know how much data you have, and here I am talking about how many gigabytes your data uses on your hard drive. You can use Windows Explorer (N.B. NOT Internet Explorer) to help. Once in Windows Explorer right click on each of the 4 folders mentioned above and select PROPERTIES from the drop down menu.

I just did that for the Pictures library on my W8 laptop and got this:

You can see above that I have 24.5 GB worth of photos in my W8 Pictures Library. You can get a similar window in W7, Vista, or XP.

Find the size of each of your 4 libraries and add them up. Round up to the nearest 10 GB. This is the amount of data you need to back up, IMMEDIATELY if not sooner, unless you don't care if you lose it all.

In my case the answer is 100 GB. Most of you will probably come up with a smaller answer.

Now all you have to do is copy these 4 libraries (folders) to some external device and then get it (your data) out of the house.

Here are two approaches you might consider.

1) I use SOS ( Online Backup. There are many online backup service companies out there. Just search for online backup services and you will find many. The price you have to pay will depend on how much data you need to backup and it can get expensive. Two big advantages of this kind of service: your data is backed up off site, i.e., out of your house, and 2, these companies are in the business of doing incremental backups and are very good at it. Set up a schedule for your backups, check the remote site occasionally, and sit back and relax. Peace of mind is yours!

2) A very inexpensive and portable device called a flash drive can be purchased, easily used for backup, and can be stored off site (out of your house). I just did a quick search for "flash drives" at and found 162 different product offerings!  All you have to do is buy one big enough to hold all of your data. Better yet, if you can afford it, buy two. Copy your 4 libraries to your flash drive using Windows Explorer and check it out to make sure you have everything, and get the flash drive out of the house. Store it in a desk drawer in your office or in a friend or relative's home. Why buy 2? Because with this very simplistic approach to backup you will need to backup a week later to back up all of the additions you have made since the first backup. And so on. This is the easiest and probably least expensive way to get your data backed up.

As I said a while ago, there are probably as many ways to do your backup as there are PC Doc customers out there, but this should give you two ideas to think about. If you want to write with questions, please go here:  and use the contact form.