(The Backup Bible)
updated  April 2023

If a major earthquake or other natural disaster strikes, will you lose essential data? If your roof leaks onto your computer and shorts it out, will all your family photos be gone? If something happens to you, a family member, or key employee, does someone else know all the passwords to turn the computer on and access computer accounts, email, and encrypted files?

Plan ahead to prevent losing your list of contacts, emails, tax records, photos, bookmarks/favorites, crucial business data, and other essential files.

Passwords and user names Installation disks and files Emergency disks or recovery drive
What to back up Hardware for backing up Software for data back up
Software for system backup How often to back up data UPS
Your will and executor More information  


 Make a list of all the passwords and usernames that you (and your family members and employees) use. Write them down pencil and paper (legibly!) and put them in your safe deposit box, email it to a senior company officer, or give a copy to a trusted friend or family member.  You may prefer to type the file on your computer, but don't name the file "passwords".  Instead, name it something like Cleveland Vacation Photos, so no hacker will be tempted to look at it. Put a copy of the list in your safe deposit box, along with your will and medical power of attorney.  On this list, include your cell phone and tablet unlock codes, all usernames and passwords for: email accounts, computer login, computer administrative user (for Macs and servers), online banking, cell phone unlock code, Amazon account, Apple ID, Dropbox, Audible, iCloud, Facebook, Google Drive, frequent flyer accounts, online shopping, Kindles, router logins, Microsoft account, stock trading accounts, and file of BitLocker encryption keys if you use them.

Capitalization matters with passwords, so when you write them down, make sure people can tell which letters are upper-case and which are lower-case.  Clearly distinguish the letter O from the number 0, and distinguish the number 1 from the letter I and lower case l, so people can read what you have written. Even if you normally use your fingerprint to unlock your smartphone, make sure you know what the unlock password is and write it down.  If something happens to you, your fmaily will need the password to unlock it.

What makes a good password?  The EFF recommends using a long string of words with no spaces between them.  Something like Myfavoritefoodsarechocolateandstrawberries5# with one capital letter, at least one number, and a special character.  That will satisfy password strength requirements and yet be easy to remember. 
I keep all of my passwords in an Excel spreadsheet like the one in the grid below.  It is stored online, so I can access it from my phone, laptop, desktop, a friend's house, while traveling, or anywhere.  (You might prefer to use Google Sheets or WPS Office by Kingsoft which is available in Android version or iOS version) Note the string of xxxxx in the password column.  I build my passwords around a common core and use the first few letters from it in the password.  For example, if my common core is ILoveChocolate and the password column showed xxx, this would mean to insert the first three letters of ILoveChocolate instead of xxx.  I do this so, if someone steals my phone or computer, or hacks into my online file, they will not have my actual passwords.  Print out a copy of your password spreadsheet and also write down your common core on that piece of paper.  Put a copy in your safe deposit box, put a copy in a sealed envelope and give it to your lawyer to keep with your will, and give copies to a trusted relative or friend.  If your house burns down or you are evacuated due to an earthquake or fire, you will be able to access your email, banks, and insurance agents using this list.  Update it at least twice a year.  Many people use three different common cores - one for stuff they don't care about, like library cards, a second common core for things involving small amounts of money like Amazon accounts, and a third common core for banking, stock brokerages, Quicken files, etc.

Many people have two-factor authentication (TFA) turned on for their email account, for added security.  If you have TFA turned on, make sure there's a way for you to get into it if you lose your smartphone, or if you evacuate your house due to an earthquake, leaving your phone and tablet behind.  This means either having a second email address that does not use TFA (import all your contacts from your primary email address) or have the TFA challenge go to someone who lives out of the area and thus they won't also be clobbered by the same earthquake or file that hit you. 

In addition to listing just your computer/smartphone login and password information, I strongly recommend that you also make a list of all your important contacts, assets and obligations in one place.  This includes all your bills, credit cards, banks, etc.  If something happens to you, such a list will save your family or heirs countless hours of hassle.  You can download a sample list in Word (DOC) format or if you do not have Word installed, download the same sample list in RTF format or the sample list in PDF format.  Charles Schwab offers this two-page list of other items to take care of, in case something happens to you.  It's also helpful to make a list of the bills that are autopaid from your bank account, and bills that are autopaid from the provider.  Make a list of each type of autopay, including the usernames, passwords, and account numbers (if any).

Some people like to use a password manager like LastPass, KeepPass, or others.  Here's an article explaining what that is a really bad idea.  The article was written about LastPass, but it's only a matter of time until the other password managers have data breaches also.

Some websites are starting to add support for passkeys, which are a replacement for passwords.  This article explains what passkeys are, and how they are used.  But a word of caution - your passkeys are stored in your smartphone or tablet.  If you lose your smartphone or tablet, or forget the unlock code for it, you can't get in with a username and password instead.


To recover from a disaster, you will need the installation files to install your software, plus any installation files you purchased and downloaded.  When you download software, save it in a folder called Install Files in case you ever need it again, or buy from Amazon which has a one-stop login for all downloaded software.  When you buy software on a CD, copy all the files into a folder in the Install Files folder.  Make a file called INSTALLKEY for each program, with the authorization code, serial number, or CD key, so you can reinstall it if needed, and I recommend also including a link to the URL where the file is downloaded from.   Put this INSTALLKEY file in the folder with the software that it unlocks.  Do this for all software essential to keep your business or household running.  You don't need to back up printer driver files, since you can always download them from the manufacturer's website.  If you are using older versions of software, even if it is freeware, it is essential to save it.  Software vendors commonly only post the most recent versions for download, so make sure to keep archival copies of old software install programs in your Install Files folder.  Make sure to back up this folder as part of your regular backup strategy. is a handy one-stop place to download the latest versions of common freeware such as Google Chrome, Zoom and WinRAR. 

When you buy (or build) a new Windows computer, one of the first things you should do is to make a recovery disk (or an emergency recovery flash drive).  You will need a flash drive that is 32 GB or larger.  Do it NOW.  If you wait until the computer has a problem, you won't be able to make it.  Mac users instead will use Time Machine (see below) or create their own bootable flash drive.  

Instructions for creating a repair CD are here for Windows 7 Windows 8 , and Windows 10.  Instructions to create a repair USB drive are here for Windows 8 and here for Windows10 or 11 .  You also can borrow one from me or a friend or download the disk image online to create a recovery drive using a friend's machine.  There are several different kinds of recovery drives (Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10.  Each comes in two flavors, 64-bit or 32-bit).  You will need to borrow or download the correct recovery drive if you didn't make one. You can download the ISO for the recovery CDs/DVDs here for Windows XP, Windows 7, or Windows 8, or download the install files for Windows 10 or Windows 11 (click on blue box Download tool now).  If you download an ISO, use your CD burning utility to burn the files to a blank CD or DVD.  note that a Windows 10 recovery disk can be used to boot and diagnose a lower version of Windows as long has the same number of bits (32-bit or 64-bit).


A dentist I know has a sign in his office which says, “You don’t have to brush and floss all your teeth – only the ones you want to keep.” I should have a sign in mine that says, “You don’t have to back up everything on your computer – only the stuff that is important and you may need some day.” Many people never back up their data, and then get upset when they lose family photos, tax records, business records, school term papers, and other important files.

You can lose files due to earthquake, theft, fire, virus infection, or the computer dying from heat or old age. Sometimes these files can be recovered at a cost of thousands of dollars, but sometimes they are not recoverable at any price. So BACK UP your important files. Do it often. Do it NOW.

Most home users do not need to back up the entire computer, just their data. But businesses can’t afford for their computers to be down for days while they re-install everything after a disaster. So businesses need to back up the entire computer, in addition to backing up the data. Usually business computers are networked together. The easiest way to back up a network is to back up the files to an online cloud server.  Or you can designate one computer as the network master or server. Back up the data from all the subsidiary computers onto the master, then back up the master (including the slave backups) onto a removable external drive.  Take this external drive off-site in case your building burns down.

In the old days, all files were stored locally on your computer and you had to remember to back them up.  Nowadays you have a choice - keep your files locally and back them up locally, or store them in the cloud using Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud, OneDrive, or another cloud service provider.  I recommend Google Drive backup which is free if you are using less than 15 GB of storage for on your Google account, or you can pay a nominal fee for additional storage. Even if you store files in the cloud, it's a good idea to locally back up your most critical information such as your Contacts, old tax returns, and most important documents.  (See the section below on backing up online services.)  If, like most people, you use Gmail and Google contacts via the Google Chrome browser, turn on sync so it will automatically save your bookmarks, browsing history, passwords and cookies to your online account. 

For files stored on your own computer, most home users back up these folders:  Documents, Desktop, Pictures, Favorites, Downloads, Google Drive, Dropbox, Install Files, and Music.  If you have an iPod, your music is probably already copied onto the iPod, which will back up your music. If you use Firefox or Chrome, back up your bookmarks if they aren't synced to your Gmail account.  If you use Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora, Thunderbird or other email software, make sure to back up your Contacts, Inbox, and other email files in CSV format.  (You must exit from these email programs before you can back up their files.)  You may also have other folders such as SWSETUP or DRIVERS on your hard drive that need backing up, to help you reinstall software on a replacement machine.

Don't forget to back up your mobile devices (cell phone, smartphone, tablet, iPad, and laptop) if they have stored any data or photos that aren't already in the cloud or on your desktop computer.  If you sync your mobile device to your computer, then backing up the computer will also back up the data on the phone.  I recommend using Google Photos to automatically back up every photo you take on your cell phone.  If you choose "high quality" instead of "original quality", you get free unlimited photo backup on Google Photos.  This app comes pre-installed on Android phones, or you can download it from the Apple App Store if you  have an iPhone.

Make sure to periodically  back up your email contacts, online calendar, and email.  To export just the contacts, Gmail users can go into their contact list, then click on More / Export.  Save into your Documents folder, Google Drive, or Dropbox folder.  Or get detailed instructions for backing up Google Contacts, Google Calendar, Google Drive, and other Google data at  and also check your Gmail security settings including making sure you have a valid recovery telephone number by visiting  Yahoo email users can export their contacts but not their mailboxes.  To export Yahoo contacts, click on the Contacts icon on the left, then select Actions/Export. Mac users commonly sync their Contacts and Photos to the iCloud, which can rapidly exceed the 5 GB free storage limit as photos get uploaded.  Consider using Google Photos instead. 


In addition to backing up your computer, I highly recommend backing up your data that is stored only online, so if you have a problem accessing the account, you will not lose that information.  Backing up your Google information is easy - use the Google Takeout tool and you can download the files immediately.  Apple makes this much more difficult and it takes several days to access the files through their Privacy tool.  Here's how to do it on Dropbox.


Back up your data onto a USB flash drive if you don’t have a lot of data, or onto a removable hard drive if you have too much for a flash drive. USB flash drives cost about $20 for 128 GB. A removable hard drive costs about $70 for 3 TB (3000 GB), and drives as large as 8 TB are available. You can also back up your data using an online backup service, where you don’t need to buy any hardware, as explained in the software section below.  USB 3.1 and 3.0 drives are much faster than USB 2.0 drives.  If you buy a USB 3.1 drive and will be using it on an older machine, make sure it is backwards compatible to USB 2.  Computers manufactured in 2019 or newer will often have a USB-C connector (which looks identical to Thunderbolt 3).  Most USB sticks have a standard USB connector, some have USB-C connectors only, and some have both shapes.  You can buy a cheap adapter allowing you to use a standard USB flash drive in a device that has only a USB-C connector.  BEWARE - do not use a network attached storage device (NAS) that uses an ethernet connection since they have reliability issues.  Back up to a device that uses a USB connector.

Except when actually running a backup, always disconnect and remove the backup drive from the system. If the backup drive is turned on and running when a large earthquake hits, the drive and the data on it will probably be ruined. After disconnecting the backup drive, get it out of the house or office, to protect it if there is a fire or burglar. So-called “fire-proof” safes will not protect your hard drive from an intense fire. Take your home backup to the office, and take the office backup home. Keep your USB flash drive in your purse, pocket, neighbor’s house, or give it to your kids. Remember that USB flash drives are easily broken. Do NOT lose the cap, and do NOT touch the metal connector on the end, especially on dry days with lots of static electricity, which will permanently fry the drive. Keep your removable hard drive in your bank safe deposit box, neighbor’s house, or someplace else AWAY from the computers it is backing up.  If you store it at home, put it low to the ground so it won't get damaged falling off a high shelf.  Get your backup OUT of your house or business, so if you have a catastrophic fire, your backup won't burn up along with your primary computer.  There's no such thing as a fireproof safe - even the best safes are only fire-resistant.  Water used to fight a fire or water from a flood can ruin a backup drive in seconds, even inside a tightly-sealed safe.  The graphic at the right shows a hard drive that was in a "fireproof" safe.  Or check out this video filmed in November 2017 showing a man digging through the ashes inside a "fireproof" safe to find an engagement ring he planned to give to his fianceé.  Below you will find photos of a computer and hard drive that were was stored in a "fireproof" safe. 

Mac users with a combination router/TimeCapsule cannot turn it off without losing your internet connection.  So if you use TimeCapsule, in addition, you need to buy a separate external hard drive for backup (or back up to the cloud). Periodically, copy the contents of the Time Capsule onto the removable hard drive, turn off the hard drive, and get it out of the house. If the TimeCapsule is turned on and running when you get hit by a lightning strike, strong earthquake, burglar, or leaky roof, you will lose the contents of the TimeCapsule, so turn it OFF and get it OUT of the house.  Bring it back home from time to time to do the backup.  Or get two identical TimeCapsules and alternate them home and to the safe deposit box.  Or better yet, ditch the Time Capsule and use real-time automatic cloud backup using Google Drive, DropBox, or Microsoft OneDrive.  If you are already paying for Microsoft office 365 subscription, it includes storage on OneDrive.

Be very careful if you use a network attached storage (NAS) device, or RAID for backup.  (If you don't know what these words mean, you are not using it.)  The backups made by these devices can usually only be read using the exact same hardware and software that created them.  If the NAS device or computer running RAID fails, unless you can buy the exact same hardware and locate the original software, your data will probably be unreadable.  So my advice is either not to use them, or to purchase two identical sets of hardware and keep one unused, not plugged in, as a spare. Better yet, get an inexpensive Windows computer and back up data onto it instead of an NAS.  This inexpensive Windows computer can also serve as an emergency computer if the primary one fails.  Or better still, use automatic real-time backup with Google Backup and Sync.


These days, many people elect to back up to the cloud instead of backing up data locally.  The most common method is Google Drive backup which currently gives you 15 GB free storage (which includes your Gmail files).  You can pay for more if you need it, but 15 GB is enough unless you have thousands of pictures, videos, or songs.  Current prices for additional storage are listed here.  Once you install Google Drive, you will indicate which folders you want backed up to Google Drive on the cloud.  You can have some files back up, and other files sync.  If you want to sync, it will create a local folder called Google Drive and these files will synchronize to your other devices such as tablets and smartphone.  The initial upload will take a while, depending on how many files you have.  The business version, Google One , is HIPAA certified and thus can legally be used in medical offices to store sensitive patient information.  You can also install the Google Photos app on your smartphone for automatic upload of photos from your camera to your Google storage whenever you are in WiFi range. 

Alternatively, Windows and Mac users can use Dropbox. When you install the program, it sets up a folder called Dropbox. Any file you copy or save into the Dropbox is almost instantly backed up to servers in Arizona, automatically, every time you edit it, as long as you are connected to the internet. You can access these Dropbox files from any computer anywhere, using your email address and password. You can also set up a public folder which allows you to share files (like photos of your kids) with anyone. You get 2 GB of free storage, and only pay if you exceed 2GB. The Dropbox home page has a video tutorial that explains how it works. Once you install Dropbox, move your important files into the Dropbox folder.  Dropbox works great at synchoronizing files on up to 3 devices, or more if you have a paid account.  Dropbox pricing is available here

If you are paying Microsoft a monthly or annual fee to rent (subscribe to) the Office suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) via Microsoft 365 (formerly called Office 365), this includes a subscription to the online automatic backup service called OneDrive.  I do NOT recommend OneDrive since it is clumsy to use and often results in having two different folders called Documents and two different folders called Pictures.  This confuses many users.  Once you stop paying for the OneDrive subscription, you will lose your backed-up files.  So only use OneDrive if you plan to keep paying Microsoft forever.

When you back up locally onto a removable hard drive or flash drive, make sure you are backing up uncompressed, unencrypted data, so it can be recovered using any computer, without needing a particular vendor's product to do the recovery.  Many backup programs and most network attached storage devices save the data in bizarre formats that are impossible to recover if you have a hardware or software failure.  Either drop and drag your files onto the external drive, or use the software recommended below.

If you don't want to have automatic backup to the cloud, Windows users can automate data backup using the excellent program GFI Backup which is free to home users. (download here) GFI performs an incremental backup on just the files that have changed since your previous backup. You put little check marks (see graphic to the right) next to the important folders that you need to back up, and it does the rest for you. Do NOT use GFI in automatic mode. Instead, manually run the program when you need it, so you can disconnect the backup drive from the system. You can selectively restore individual files from GFI. Do not use GFI to back up the entire computer, just use it to back up the data. By default, GFI will save data unencrypted and uncompressed.  Don't fiddle with these settings.  The newest version of GFI backup requires you to use a login password for your main Windows account.  If you have a blank login password, use an older version of GFI, which you can download here

Mac users can use TimeMachine to back up their data and their system. Do NOT use TimeMachine in automatic mode. Instead, manually run the backup, then disconnect and remove the backup drive from the system.  If a major earthquake hits while your TimeMachine (or any other spinning backup drive) is turned on and running, the data will be lost when the shaking destroys the drive.  TimeMachine allows you to selectively restore individual files or the entire computer. If you use a TimeCapsule, you cannot turn it off without losing your internet connection.  So if you use TimeCapsule, in addition, you need to buy a separate external hard drive for backup. Periodically, copy the contents of the Time Capsule onto the removable hard drive, turn off the hard drive, and get it out of the house to protect your data in the event of a fire or burglary. 


If you install a bunch of programs or do a lot of customizing to Windows or the Mac OS, you should back up your entire computer so you can restore it if the system won't turn on or if it gets a nasty virus infection that cannot be removed.  The next few paragraphs are specific to Windows users - skip to the Mac section if you have a Mac. 

Before starting the system backup, it's a good idea to run a CHKDSK, then Disk Cleanup, then a second Disk Cleanup and check the box to clean up system files, then run CHKDSK again.  When running Disk Cleanup, check all the boxes except for Thumbnails and Drivers.  To run Disk Cleanup, click on Start, then in the search box type Disk Cleanup or follow these instructions.  To run CHKDSK, click on Start, then in the search box type CHKDSK or follow these instructions

Windows 7, 8 and 10 have a built-in program for creating a system image, which backs up the entire computer, not just your data.  To make a system image use these instructions or click on Start/All Programs/Maintenance and enter the Windows Backup and Restore Center. Or click on Control Panel / System and Security / Backup and Restore.  Windows 8 and Windows 10 allow you to recover everything, or just recover individual files, but the Windows 7 system image restore process is an all-or-nothing proposition - with it, you can recover everything or recover nothing. 

A complete system image can take several hours to create if you have lots of data.  To recover from a disaster, you will do a complete image restore, then use GFI (or Dropbox or Google Drive) to recover files that have changed since the system image was created.  If you decide to use Windows to create a system image, you should create an emergency boot disk (called a Recovery Drive) using the same Windows utility.  You will need a blank CD or DVD (or flash drive for newer computers) and follow the prompts as they appear.  If you need to recover and didn't make the disk, don't panic.  Read the information above on Recovery Disks or borrow one from me.

In Windows 11, 10, 8 or 8.1, you can mount a Windows system image to browse for files, copy them, or restore them individually or in bunches. 

When you create a new Windows System Image for a given computer, it will delete the old System Image unless you rename the old file before creating the new image.  If you have room on the hard drive, it's a good idea to keep the old version around.  On your backup drive, open the WindowsImageBackup folder, look for the computer name, and rename the image file something like WindowsImageBackupDec2014.  In order to restore this file, you will need to rename it back to WindowsImageBackup from the DOS prompt during the recovery process. 

You may prefer to buy the software program Acronis TrueImage Home for system backup.  Acronis is inexpensive and is available here.  Make sure to make a bootable rescue disk using the Acronis software.  You will make a bootable rescue CD if your computer has a CD drive, or a bootable USB if your computer has no CD/DVD drive.

Mac users can use TimeMachine to back up their data and their system. Do NOT use TimeMachine in automatic mode. Instead, manually run the backup, then disconnect and remove the backup drive from the system. See the explanation above under Hardware.  Time machine does incremental backups which can greatly complicate recovery in the event of a total system crash.  I recommend, if you use Time Machine, to once a year wipe the recovery drive and do a clean (complete, not incremental) backup.

I do not recommend using Carbonite, BackBlaze, or any other online backup service for system backup.  It slows down the computer, and greatly slows down your internet speed.  If you need to do a complete system recovery, it can take several days to download the entire system data to be recovered, or you need to wait for them to mail you a set of recovery disks or recovery flash drive.  


If your Windows computer has a major problem and won't boot normally, you can often boot it into Safe Mode to limp along and copy your files that you forgot to back up.  In Windows 7, safe mode is enabled by default and you can boot to it by hitting F8 repeatedly immediately after turning on the computer.  This does not work in Windows 8, 10, or 11.  For these operating systems, to enable safe mode.  To enable entering safe mode with F8, open an elevated command prompt and type in the following three lines, one at a time. Each time the computer boots, it will briefly flash the screen shown at the right.  You have 1/2 second to hit the F8 key when you see this screen, if you want to enter Safe Mode.

   bcdedit /set {bootmgr} displaybootmenu yes
   bcdedit /timeout 4
   bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy legacy


Back up your data as often as it changes significantly. I back up at least once a month. If I am working on something long and complex, like my taxes, I back up those files at least once a day. Businesses usually do a daily backup or twice-daily backup.  Most businesses also use Google Drive, Dropbox or other real-time system for their crucial files so they are always backed up.

ALWAYS turn the backup drive off (or eject it) and disconnect it, except when you are actually running the backup. If an earthquake strikes and the computer is on, and the backup drive is plugged in, you will lose the data on BOTH of them. Store the backup drive lying down, someplace close to the ground where it won't fall over or fall down if there is an earthquake. 

For businesses, I recommend doing a full system image backup once a month. For home users who choose to do a full system image, once or twice a year is enough, but most home users choose to not bother doing a full system image. If their home computer dies, they usually pay to get it fixed or buy a new one, and the downtime isn’t critical like it is for a business.

Periodically, check your backup drive to make sure your data is actually getting backed up, and that you can read the backup.  All too often, people ask me to recover data from a backup drive that is empty.  They THOUGHT they were backing up, but the backups never happened. 


If you have backed up your data to Google Drive or Dropbox, your files are safely stored there.  Just make sure you have the username and password for that account written down some place safe, on paper, not just in your computer.

Google - To recover your data onto a new computer, install Google Drive on the new computer and log in to the same Google account to which your files are backed up.  Then go to and log in to your Google account.  If you set up Google Drive to sync, you can choose to mirror the files from the cloud, or access them on-demand only.  If you set up Google Drive to back up, you will see the files backed up on each computer in the left column.  You can drop-and-drag these files from the old computer's folder to the folder for your new computer.  Or, better yet, move the files into Google Drive and they will sync.   Wait for the files to synchronize - depending on how many files you have, this may take minutes, hours, or days. 

Dropbox - To recover your data onto a new computer, install Dropbox on the new computer and log in to the same Dropbox account to which your files are backed up.  The files will automatically start to synchronize.  Depending on how many files you have, this may take minutes, hours, or days. 

Google Drive and Dropbox both allow you to roll back to a previous version of a document, or a deleted document.  They keep 5 old versions for up to 30 days.  Past 30 days, those old files are no longer saved and you can no longer roll back to them.  Here are instructions for Google and for Dropbox


Boot to your Acronis bootable flash drive, then run Acronis True Image.  Click on "Restore / My drives."  Plug in the external backup drive on which your image is stored.  Wait 60 seconds for it to detect.  Now browse to that location and select the image that you want to restore, and the destination drive.  Click "proceed".  Depending on the size of your image, it may take 15 minutes to several hours to restore.  When the recovery is done, close the recovery window and unplug the external backup drive.  Now close Acronis and watch the black-and-white screen for the words "system shutdown".  When you see that, quickly unplug the Acronis bootable flash drive.


Insert a bootable Windows flash drive and boot to it.  When it asks if you want to install or not, choose the other option - to repair the computer.  Then select Advanced - and Restore a system image.  Connect your external backup drive and the computer should automatically detect the image.  If you have renamed the image, you'll have to un-rename it for the computer to detect and restore it.  The backup to be restored must be named WindowsImageBackup,  Recoveyr will take between 15 minutes and several hours, depending on how large your image it.

If the computer boots, instead of using an external Windows flash drive to do the recovery, you can hold the shift key down while restarting and enter recovery mode that way.


Most businesses have an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) attached to their most important computers.  A UPS is a four-pound battery with its own power strip.  The battery charges during normal use, and has enough power to keep your computer running for about 15 minutes if there is a power outage.  This permits you to save what you are currently working on, and back up the files, before shutting down the computer.  Note that a UPS won't help you if there is major shaking due to an earthquake, because then the data on your computer will be damaged and lost.  But if there is a power outage due to wind or a fire at the power distribution center, a UPS will let you run long enough to save your information.  Most home users don't need one.  UPS are sold at office supply stores, computer stores, and online through Amazon and other vendors.  I recommend the manufacturer APC.  An UPS will also protect your computer from damage due to surges on the power line and protect it from brownouts. 


You may want to appoint a digital executor in your will, or specifically grant powers over your digital information to your executor.  Read this article from Yahoo Tech for further information, including language you can include in your will to cover digital information. 


You can view a PowerPoint summary of these issues here.  The PowerPoints are not updated as frequently as this Backup Bible. 

Questions? Need help? The Computer Doctor is a consulting computer service based in Menlo Park to help individuals and small businesses with their computer problems. Visit our website for more information, or email Sue Kayton,