Backing up internet info

B. Newman

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Sep 5, 2001
Kodak, Tn. USA
I realize that is a vague topic, but I didn't know how else to put it.

We had a storm the other day and I lost my Compuserve software/service on the shop computer. No problem, I just reinstalled it with the cd I have.

Then, I realized that all of my old mail and all of my favorites are gone.

What could I have done (or should do now on my laptop) to save or back up these things?

I'm slowly rebuilding my favorites on the shop computer, and maybe I didn't need all those others anyway, but it is a pain, to say the least.
to back up your Favorites - Bookmarks simply export the file to a folder of your choice. Then you can copy this folder and take it off the computer and store it either on site or in another building.
There is a local company here that backs up your files over the net for situations just like this. The only thing they require is that you have a decent broadband internet connection. Cost starts at about $15 a month and goes up from there depending on how much data you have to store. The name of the company is IntegriCom and the owners name is Joel Thain. He can be reached at 678.325.4005
Good Luck!
Do like Jerome says for your internet site. For your email and contacts, if using Outlook, create a "pst" file and save it. You will have to put both on a disk, you can save it forever.
After losing a hard drive recently, I spent days reloading the programs, settings, and preferences for everything. No important data were lost, thanks to daily backups of QBP, FrameReady, and other critical files, but the recovery task was big, nonetheless.

In hopes of preventing that work next time, I bought a 250 gb external hard drive ($89 after rebates from MicroCenter) and Acronis "ghosting" software, which is supposed to copy everything on the hard drive, including the operating system.

I use four computers interchangeably for email, internet, word processing, and other routine tasks. Each of those hard drives contains about 10-15 gb. All of the four hard drives have been "ghosted" to the external hard drive in different files, and I intend to repeat the complete "ghost" backups at least once a month. Between backups, the external drive is in safe storage away from the store.

The next time I lose a hard drive, I should be able to completely restore the "ghosted" contents from the external drive's most recent backup. I can afford lose a month's worth of emails and such, but I will continue to backup all of the important data daily.

Some years ago I learned that one backup may not be enough, as it may become corrupted or otherwise fail to serve its purpose. So, I will buy another external hard drive and use it as a secondary "ghost" backup.

If all of that seems like more trouble than it is worth, consider the cost of reconstructing just one month's lost data.

No matter what they cost, backups are cheap.
Jim nailed this one. With ghosting software, you can replace and restore a dead hard drive in a little less than an hour, as opposed to maybe days fumbling through it.

Just remember, when you restore an 'imaged' drive. It will be exactly as it was the moment you created the image. Any changes made after that would be gone.
Don't know if my problem falls under Techie Stuff but didn't know where else to put it.

My compressor blew up the other day so I bought a new one at Sears and can't get it to run long enough build up any pressure. I plug it into a power strip and it kicks the reset button out on the strip. Plug it directly into the outlet and it knocks out the circuit breaker. Yesterday it was much better....ran fine most of the day.


2 hp
15 amps
26 gal tank

Never had this problem with the old one (3.5hp).

Is it a bad motor, inadequate wiring???

Any ideas?
Sorry everyone, I posted a reply (my compressor problem) on this post instead of starting a new topic.
Hi Betty,

Another suggestion depending on how involved you want this to be is to consider mirroring software. This uses a second drive and well, is an exact "mirror" image of your current drive. If the one drive fails your mirror drive will pick up where the first one left off. However there are such considerations such as hard drive compatibility and fun stuff like that. If interested give Frank a call here and he'll tell you all about it!

Hope that helps!
Liz T.
Hi Betty,

I just realized you said *laptop*, mirroring won't work with a laptop because of the type of drives, but there is something called CasperXP that you can check out at: It creates a bootable backup of your laptop hard drive. It's pretty cool and easy. We've used it before and it works like a charm!

Liz T.
nuTech, LLC
Hi Betty

Compuserve's email has been reborn many times since the early 80s. They are now part of AOL and have changed email formats several times, and email addresses changed as well.,,,,, etc

Some versions used a proprietary program built into their dialer/front end menu software. Some used a web based email, which was discontinued. Some use Netscape with pop3. Some folks changed it to Outlook. Webmail is now back with a new format.

It's likely that your version is using Netscape. I havent personally used this program in years, but when I did it grouped family accounts into "Profiles". If this is still the case, might it be possible that a different profile name was defined than what you had before? (during the software setup) This could cause it to start fresh. One thing to check, is load the email program, and go to the PROFILES pulldown menu. See if you can find any other profiles on the computer, which may have all your old content safely stored. Once you see the info you want, you can likely go to file -> export to make an archive file. You can then burn that file to a CD for safe keeping.

I hesitated answering because I havent used Compuserve in years, but this may be something to check - just in case.

Best regards
Originally posted by Liz T.:
I just realized you said *laptop*, mirroring won't work with a laptop because of the type of drives...
Does that mean my Acronis software really didn't back up the hard drives from my Dell 8000 and IBM T41 laptops? The "ghosting" process was complete and successful, according to the Acronis software.

Why do you say "mirroring" (I call it
"ghosting") will not work on laptops?
Thanks all. What actually happened is that I lost the entire Compuserve and when we installed it again, it was the same as just starting from scratch - no settings, no nothing.

It was just like installing it on a new computer, the screen names were there (once I gave the password) but with an all new empty mailbox.

Our mistake was, when we installed the new one, we thought we didn't need the old one any longer since it wouldn't dial in anymore. What I should have checked was if it would have let me read the old saved mail and favorites offline. Oh well, I'll know next time.

I didn't lose anything valuable - it was/is just aggravating.
Hi Jim,

Mirroring is different than ghosting. Mirroring is instantaneous constant mirror image of the main drive. Ghosting requires you to do an actual back up process, but mirroring is always backing up, it's 100% data redundancy. It works so when one drive fails the other one automatically kicks in and takes over so there is no downtime. I'll get some links for you which will explain it in more detail if you want. I hope I explained that well enough to make sense.
Mirroring is actually RAID (Redundant Arrary of Independant Disks) Level 1. Every time a bit of data is written to the hard drive, it's written not just to one hard drive, but two. As Liz said, if one hard drive fails, you won't even know it, unless you get some kind of notification from the system.

Of course, in the same way that Mirroring saves two copies of everything you write, it also deletes two copies of everything you delete. It won't help with virus infections or accidentally deleted files. That's where a ghosted copy or some other type of Backup comes in.
Liz & David:

Thanks for that information. I didn't know the difference between mirroring and ghosting. I guess it would be silly to tote around a laptop computer with two hard drives, eh?

I'm ghosting and probably will not be interested in mirroring. Instantaneous data access is not necessary for my business, and I am obsessive about not having all of my data storage in one place. If a thief broke into my frame shop, computers might be the only thing he would steal. If each computer had two hard drives, they would go out the door together, along with all of my data in duplicate.

But a question: What if one drive goes down, and the user puts off replacing it for a while, and the secondary drive goes down too? Since all of the data is being stored both hard drives at the same time, it seems possible that both of them could fail at about the same time -- maybe even within a few days.

The odds of 2 hard rives failing within a few days of each other are quite astronomical. But it could happen.

I find it more convenient to back up to a flash / USB drive. Those are quite handy and are up to 4 GB big these days. Enough to backup lots of crucial stuff. And, they are easier (faster) to restore from than a hard disk. I also found out you can even run applications (LifeSaver, for example) from a USB drive in an emergency.

For the ultimate and safest backup, a combination of USB drives and DVD or CD copy of the most important files is the way to go.

A Ghost copy is also good, if done regularly. But I find incremental USB backups are best for my purposes.
After losing computers in the past to hard drive failures, I have been running a Raid 1 mirrored drive for many years. I have experienced hard drive failures on individual drives but never on both. When it happens I get a smug, superior smile for being prepared and not losing anything. Then I screw up a $30 Silk mat and that puts me back in my place. :D
Originally posted by Jim Miller:
If each computer had two hard drives, they would go out the door together, along with all of my data in duplicate...

...What if one drive goes down, and the user puts off replacing it for a while, and the secondary drive goes down too?
A mirror is not a substitute for a backup, it's in addition. I don't believe there is any one answer to data security. You have to decide what your needs are, review the options, and make the decision for best way to accomplish them. Sounds like you've done that already and we're merely adding unnecessary options (to your situation) which only clouded the matter.
I use Compact Flash drives and USB-Thumb drives for redundant, daily backups of QuickBooks Pro and FrameReady. Every month or so I make a DVD of all the new drawings, photos and other docs in the computers. The critical data is well protected.

The ghosting tactic is only to prevent having to reload & reconfigure all of the programs and their contents. That took days.
Mirroring is generally a "realtime" situation, where two drives are written to at the same time, with the same info. It uses a special controller for this purpose, or even a set of two controllers. Its an early form of RAID 1 technology. As has been said, all reads, writes, deletions, infections, and even corruption immediately go to both drives. As a result, daily backups are still extremely important. This will let you limp along temporarily if one of those drives fail, but it is no substitute for a good backup and antivirus strategy.

If you want to learn more:

Your goal is possible, just the terminology is different. You can make a snapshot of your data each night and copy it to an external hard drive that you take home each night. (with a commercial backup program designed to to so, with xcopy, with Norton Ghost, etc)

I've never used them and don't know how feasible it would be, but if you get a RAID card, drives and an external enclosure that support hot-swapping, you could remove one of the drives and even leave the computer running all night. For sure it would be easy to shut the computer down and pull out one of the drives and put it back in in the AM before you start it.
Originally posted by Mike Labbe @ GTP:
...You can make a snapshot of your data each night and copy it to an external hard drive that you take home each night. (with a commercial backup program designed to to so, with xcopy, with Norton Ghost, etc)

Yes, that's what my Acronis software does. However, I don't think it would be practical to do it every day. Even "differential" ghosting -- backing up only the new stuff since last backup -- takes a while for a hard drive with data of 30 GB or so. I guess it's the verification process that takes the time, rather than backing up just a few MB of new data.
I agree.

If you do daily POS backups, I don't think you need to do a full drive backup too often. Weekly or monthly should suffice.

You would use the most recent one to fix the problem, after replacing a bad drive, and just restore the previous night's POS data backup after that.

If you have documents, spreadsheets, quicken/financial info on the pc, weekly may make more sense. Some of those programs have their own backup procedures as well, as the POS programs do.

Yes Mike, that's my plan. Daily backups of critical data, weekly backups of secondary data, and bi-weekly ghosting of entire computers.

Paul, I checked with a few of my computer-knowledgeble friends before buying my two 250 GB external hard drives. They all agreed that the "ghosting" software that comes with most of them is OK, but not the best.

Norton Ghost seems to be the most popular program, but a framing friend and the techie who builds my computers both told me they have had problems with Norton.

Acronis True Image came highly recommended and it seems to work quite well. The verification option is reassuring when it confirms a successful backup. Mind you, I have only backed up my four computers twice now, and have not yet needed to restore the data. Only time will tell...