Thursday, September 13, 2007

Computer Problems

I'm between books and catching up--Still! BTW, I've just sent an excerpt of Claire and Neil's story in AT THE EDGE to this week's mailing list. There will be more, so if you haven't subscribed, now is the time :) But on to Computer Problems.

One of the things I'd let stack up during a compressed writing schedule was repairing a faulty DVD burner. I spent enormous writing time trying to backup, and finally called a tech, this on warranty services. He came last night, replaced the drive, and hopefully, I'm able to backup now.

Meanwhile, I researched and tested several online storage and backup services. Logically, it would be better to have backups and storage away from the office, and supposedly "secure."

It all sounded so easy. It wasn't, and I still do not have that ease. Here's what I found, generally. I'm not a tech, so take it FWIW and do your own research before settling in--I still haven't found anything suitable:

Primarily: All of them are very different. Most carry Macs and PC services, a few do not. Free offerings may be for a limited time, or not. They may run from 1-25 gigs (the 25 at Some put a nifty little program on your desktop, others you just go to their URL ( Some charge more if you exceed their upload bandwidth. Some charge more if you download over a certain amount, which you would do during a restore. All are extremely different with different services, including e-mail, sharing with friends, etc. Take into account that when a friend downloads too much, you could be financially accountable. Buddy systems abound.

The charges: Everything seems to run in increments. Check the I Agree clauses carefully, always a good idea. GoDaddy starts at 50MB, pretty small when you want to back up email. has an upload limit of something like 10MB and then you have to "upgrade." Upgrade is a standard word popping up wherever. "Upgrade" means more $$. I've already accepted that I'll have to pay something somewhere. That's the understanding of anyone playing with programs and computers and online services, which is how writers do business.

If you want to backup email, it can be zipped or unzipped, depending on the service. If you use Thunderbird, you may need software to compress into their .pcv files, which can be changed into more common zips. A free software is MoBackup, another program is $10.

I also use Outlook Express, also not easily backed up; there's a process where you store to a folder, copy, move, etc. to another. But you can save messages easily. During this time, I forwarded important stuff to my other mailboxes.

Lots of people use Mozy. My CenturyTel DSL speed was too slow, even with knocking off some running programs on my desktop. But they are kind and inform you of your lack to play straightaway. Mozy is easy to use, easy to unsub. Too bad.

1. Gmail/Yahoo/AOL offer backup services for their emails.
2. has a difference of editorial opinion with people commenting on XDrive. I found with, that it was necessary to actually click into the offerings to get a good view of the updates, etc., then visited the sales websites.
3. is not easy to unsub, requiring an email to sales, according to the tech. I like to unsub at will.
4. There are "Widgets" to check your load speed. Widgets are little elf-like installed programs that do whatever they do.
5. I checked DriveHQ, too.

Generally, even zipped, my email was too large for upload on a free-test run, so I'm back to DVDs and storing them off-site.

I continue to search for a comfortable fit in online backup and storage, if it really exists for me, but right now need to get just one solid backup done. Cross your fingers, please. :)


Thinking 2 Steps Ahead said...

Have you thought about an external hard drive and back up software? You can get a 160GB drive for about $100 and they connect with a USB port. Get two drives and alternately swap them out. Software that creates a mirror or back up of your entire hard drive automatically is pretty inexpensive.

Laurie Grathen

Cait London said...

Thanks, Laurie. I did get that external hard drive that sincs with my PC. Very swift. Meanwhile, I'm working on the DVD drive problem.

Computers. Don't cha love 'em? :)