Time machine software
by: Jeremy Trogg
You've often heard the horror stories, perhaps from some from your friends about losing your computer to some nasty new virus or something really important was deleted?
This is far from just being a pain. Ask anyone that has ever gone through a computer crash because someone changed something they should not have. Reloading the operating system sounds like it's not a big deal, and for the most part, it isn't. A few days at the computer store along with a check for $100 will also get the task done for you.
The problem comes when you realize that you don't have an up to date back up of your files, that you bought a vital program but can no longer find the disc, or even that you have email or email addresses on there that you won't be able to get back again.
Even if all that is there, it can still take even days to import all the backups and get that thing working like it was before. Forget about it if you picked up a new nasty virus before the virus software is updated.
I cannot tell you how many times I have rescued my disk from some poorly written program, many times the kids have messed the thing up by deleting things that they didn't know anything about, lost something important to a mistaken delete.
Despite all that, in the past 10 years, I have still had to reload my operating system (OS) several times. A few times, it was essential. Other times I had the opportunity to save my data, but the system was operating so poorly that a clean start was my only real option.
Other times, I wasn't at risk of losing the OS but I ended up deleting or changing files that I wish I had not. The funny thing is that whether it is a lost file or your entire OS has messed up, in most instances, you know what you have done in seconds or minutes. I've had it happen before I even got my finger off the delete key. Oh to be able to go back in time.
The saving grace
Several years ago, I heard about a new type of program that takes the worry out of those minor or major disasters. In essence, it makes multiple copies of your hard drive just the way it was at various moments in time and allows you to go back to that point... in essence, a time machine for your computer. Regardless of whose product you use, I highly recommend the rather modest investment whether you are an expert or a novice.
I've tried several programs. They all work about the same but having tried several, I seemed to find the most satisfaction from a product called GoBack, made by a company called Roxio.
Recently, Roxio announced that they are selling GoBack to Symantec, the makers of Norton Antivirus and other Norton products. That should say enough about the product alone.
You may have seen Roxio products before as they are probably best known for their CD and DVD creator software. I'd used that before and found it to be the most foolproof so investing $30 in GoBack and risking my computer on it was not a concern.
In essence, this kind of software makes a digital picture of your entire hard drive and updates it every few minutes or so. Microsoft claims that they do the same thing now through Windows, ever since ME. But don't bother. The Windows system is almost useless and I have seen it cause as many problems as it fixes.
GoBack operates outside of Windows and launches before Windows does. Therefore, even if you lose your OS completely, GoBack still works.
Time machine software such as GoBack lets you go back in time minutes, hours, even days or more. Multiple options give you quite a bit of flexibility and help you to NOT lose tons of data. Conversely, Windows time machine gives few options and if your problem happens late in the day, you can lose quite a bit.
I've used the Windows system a couple of times, both times taking hours to do the backup and one time, the problems that it caused made me wish I had never done it. GoBack has never taken any more than a few minutes and one of the great features is that you can go back to a point in time and if it isn't far enough, you can go back even further. You can even go back, get something you lost and transfer it to another disc, and then go back to where you started... in effect going forward in time.
For those of you that have changed a file and accidentally saved it thereby overwriting a previous version, GoBack allows you to right-click on that file and go back to an earlier version.
Time machine software is definitely worth the few bucks. You may find other products that work similarly and there will probably be improvements as time goes on. But do yourself a very big favor and get it installed before you lose your data and your temper.
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