Monday, July 8, 2013

My final words on backup and synchronization...really! any organized fashion. If I comment further in the future, it will not be because I am trying out many services simultaneously to assess pluses and minuses. It's too stressful and I'm at a point where I've found something that works for me.

So here they are, those final words:

  • Every system has strengths and weaknesses that change from moment to moment. Just recently, Copy managed to break the system that worked for synchronizing folders outside of the folder. Will it get fixed? I won't be following it. If you're curious you'll have to check their website, this link in particular.
  • Many of these systems are new, with even more systems coming online as they sort themselve out to determine who will survive, who will fail, and who might dominate. It is almost impossible for a single individual to keep up unless that person is either compulsive about it (I'm compulsive, but not that compulsive) or being paid to do it. (I am not.)
  • Dropbox works just fine. If it will meet one's needs, use it. The only downside for me is that everything to be synchronized must reside in the Dropbox folder it creates. This means that I can't separate my work files from my personal files. Also, anything being synchronized is backed up online. Since charges beyond the initial 2 free GB are determined by the total number of bytes, Dropbox can be expensive for large music or photo libraries.
  • Having gone through its startup stage, LetMeIn's Cubby continues to have its fans for two reasons:
    • It allows a user to synchronize any folder, not just the My Cubby folder.
    • The paid version allows unlimited syncing between any number of computers without having to store the files online.
    I like it myself, but there are things that drive potential users away.
    • One is that it does not use delta sync for individual files. If a large file is modified, Cubby uploads the whole file again rather than just the parts that have changed. (Actually, I like this having been burned by Dropbox's delta sync when it failed to recognize that a file had been changed. However, I might not feel the same way if I were dealing with file sizes in the GBs.)
    • Another--the one that got me to abandon Cubby--is that that Cubby appears to be constantly grabbing 3 to 10% of a CPU's processing power. There has never been a good explanation of what it is doing.
  • I'm currently using Bit Torrent Labs' Sync to sync whatever folders I choose on whichever computers I choose. I have some folders synchronized between my work computers only, others synchronized between my personal computers only. and others synchronized across all of my computers.
  • BTSync does not provide online backup. If I accidentally erase a file or folder from one computer, it is erased from all of my computers. I set up an external hard drive attached to my home desktop computer, which is backed up automatically on a regular schedule. This drive is not linked to BTSync, so I'll always have a backup that is current to the last time it was run.
  • I am becoming more and more paranoid about the ultimate disaster that might take away all of the drives at once. For example (knock on wood), there might be some kind of a natural disaster. I'm considering some form of online backup, if only of the most important files that I'd never be able to recreate. Even though I have never used it, Carbonite seems to be a viable option, although if Cubby would get its act together... I'd much prefer having a single service than many services running simultaneously.

So, here I stand. I'm always open to other options, but now it's time for other projects, such as Windows 8.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Windows 8 (mis)adventures: (Re)starting grinds to a halt!

When you get a Windows 8.0 computer, you will undoubtedly be asked to install updates...and your system may grind to a halt whenever it is (re)started. It *will* (re)start, but it may take 20 minutes or more. No, it's not your computer. It's Windows 8. The problem has been around for quite a while. It's a crime that Microsoft hasn't fixed it by now, but presumably it will go away with Windows 8.1 this August.

The problem is with one of the updates. The KB2770917 update will appear to stall at about 13%. Wait 20 minutes (or more? Go to dinner.) and it will eventually appear as though everything is updated, only the update has failed. The computer will now be sluggish to (re)start to the point where you'll be tempted to return it as defective.

Here's a work-around from the Microsoft Answers website that worked for me.

  • Press windows key + R at the same time to open Run command.
  • Type in "msconfig.exe" (without quotation marks) and press enter
  • Go to the Services tab on the top.
  • Check the box on the bottom that says hide all Microsoft services (This will allow you to disable all non-Microsoft services easily.)
  • Click Disable all (This will disable all third-party services but allow all Microsoft services to run.)
  • Restart the computer
  • Install update
  • After installation, follow the same instructions but click enable all instead of disable all and restart again and everything should be good.

Good luck!