This week, I’m providing tips for end-of-year technology maintenance. Sure, you should do it once a month if you’re active on your computer, but AT LEAST do it yearly. Like today.
Tech Tips for Writers is an (almost) weekly post on overcoming Tech Dread. I’ll cover issues that friends, both real-time and virtual, have shared. Feel free to post a comment about a question you have. I’ll cover it in a future Tip.
Q: I hate reformatting my computer. I lose all the extras I’ve added (like Jing) I forget which software I have on their (sure, I remember MS Office, but what about Google Earth? Celestia?) And then there are all the personalizations I’ve put on that get lost with the reformat. Is there any way to make that process easier?
A: Glad you asked. Yes–create an image of your hard drive. This is a picture of what your hard drive looks like, including all the programs and extras, that is saved in a secure back-up area. When you reformat, all you have to do is copy the image back to the computer. Mine is on a terabyte external drive. Even if my two internal drives explode, I’m good.
Here’s what you do:
- Click the start button.
- Go to Control Panel
- Select ‘Backup and Restore’
- On the left sidebar, you’ll see an option for ‘create a system image’. Select that.
- Follow directions (it’ll ask which drive to use for the image–stuff like that)
From there, you’ll select a drive with sufficient space and start. Be forewarned: If you have a lot of data, it takes a while. You can work on your computer while it’s backing up; it’ll just be slower. You can learn about the different software types on Blacklight Software’s article.
A note: This is the same location you’ll go to restore from back-up if you have a problem.
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, a freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a monthly contributor to Today’s Author. In her free time, she is editor of a K-8 technology curriculum and technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. Currently, she’s editing a thriller that should be out to publishers next summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.