Phil’s Tech Tips: Back up!

Join me in welcoming Phil Stone, the author of a new feature, “Phil’s Tech Tips”, short technology-related columns.  Phil makes house calls, and helps with many of our IT issues. I’ve already learned so much from him, such as how to burn a CD, and the dangers of yanking a flash drive from a computer, rather than using the remove-safely command. He’s a wealth of information, here to help us with our technology troubles.

Backing up your data is arguably one of the most important tasks any computer owner can do, especially when working with older desktop and laptop computers. Widely overlooked by many, backups can save you significant amounts of time, money, and hassle. Anyone who has been there knows losing all your files can be devastating for both financial reasons and the sentimental value that your data may have to you.

Online cloud storage is a great way to store your files and easy enough that basic computer users should have no trouble setting up either automatic or manual back ups through easy-to-use interfaces.

Most of these services will come at a small, long-term cost, but are well worth it come crunch time. For those interested in this option, check out Livedrive, CRASHPLAN, or Google Drive, depending on your needs and the number of users and computers you have.

Many people also choose to back up their data with an external hard drive that can be physically moved at your will. The initial cost will be more expensive than cloud storage, but it’s only a one time fee as opposed to the subscription services that cloud-based companies will more than likely charge you.

External drives can be especially useful for those with small amounts of storage on their computer as they will come with a significant portion of space that can be accessed as you please. From personal experience, I’ve always found the best deals and the most information/reviews on external drives on

I’d highly recommend looking into which option works for you as recovery of data (if possible at all) is an expensive, reactive measure that can be easily taken care of before problems arise!

Phil Stone is a local computer repair technician who specializes in virus removal and maintenance. He is the owner and operator of Phil Stone Computer Repair and Virus Removal, which has been in business since 2011. Phil has been a resident of Redding all 22 years of his life. He enjoys relaxing at Whiskeytown lake, playing video games, and hanging out with friends. He can be reached at 530-524-2461, through his email at, or via his website,

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7 Responses

  1. Avatar `AJacoby says:

    Does downloading stuff on a flash drive count?

    I learned this lesson the hard way, and being barely tech savvy enough to turn on my computer, it took considerable (expensive) outside help to salvage what was salvageable.

    So, listen to what Phil says, folks. I know whereof he speaks!!

    • Avatar Phil Stone says:

      While a thumb flash drive will work for backing up small quantities of data (as they tend to make them with smaller amounts of storage), they do tend to be less reliable than the external drives I mentioned in my article. In addition to having significantly larger amounts of available space on them, external drives are built to last a lot longer and also have much more reliable software in them to prevent against random memory errors and formatting issues.

      That being said, if you have less than five gigabytes of information to back up, I would recommend using a program like WinRarto zip up your files and then upload them to Google Drive. The account is free and storage up to five gigabytes is as well!

      Thank you for taking the time to read my article and I hope this helps! If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact me through my listed information at the bottom of the article!

      • Avatar `AJacoby says:

        I have absolutely no idea how many bites I have . . . at this point in my life, I would imagine I've taken millions of bite . . . . oh, you're spelling that BYTES. Yeah, well, I don't know that either. How expensive are external drives? I'm a Mac person so does that dictate that I have an Apple product or will any external drive do?

        • Avatar Phil Stone says:

          If you go to the start menu and click on Computer, it will tell you how much space you are using on your hard drive(s). External drives range in price from $50 to hundreds and hundreds but a low to mid-range drive should be more than enough for the average computer user. And unless it specifically mentions not working on a particular brand of computer, you shouldn't run into any problems using these drives on both Macs and PC.

  2. Avatar Canda says:

    Great information, Phil. I'm so happy to know you're here to help with computer issues. Do you work on Mac's as well as PC's?

  3. Canda, I happen to know he does…;>)