How To Protect Your Computer And Data From Viruses, Crashes And Other Problems

Meet Anne. (not her real name). Anne runs a busy accounting office from her home.  She called in a sheer panic one April, because her hard drive died. Unfortunately for Anne, this happened just as tax filing season was near an end, and she was working literally around-the-clock to finish returns for her many clients. Luckily for Anne, she had taken our advice and had a USB hard drive with a recent image (clone), of her computer on it. We went to Anne’s home office with a replacement hard drive, and copied the image from her USB hard drive to the replacement hard drive. That took about 1.25 hours. When finished, Anne’s computer had all her files, all her applications, all settings, email, printers, wireless, bookmarks-everything just as before. She didn’t lose a thing!

Having that image saved Anne several hundred dollars in labor, along with many hours of downtime, and untold hours of re-work. To say Anne was happy and relieved would be a gross understatement. She was nearly in tears!

The Problem
Lots of things can happen to damage or break your computer. Whether it be a PC or a Mac, viruses, faulty updates, operating system upgrades (windows 10 upgrade issues anyone?…), electrical issues, even user error, to name just a few. When a serious issue occurs, the remedy is often a reinstallation of your Mac or PC operating system. This process requires several hours, on average, for a technical professional, and of course costs quite a bit of money. In the meantime, you don’t have access to your computer.

Another common issue is data corruption or loss. Your computer could be functional, but lose some or all of your files due to hard drive failure (even new hard drives fail sometimes!). If your computer was to die-right now-do you have a copy of all your important files, music, pictures? The vast majority of you would answer “no” to that question. While you can always replace or repair your computer, many files can’t be replaced-pictures, for example.

The Solution
There is an easy, inexpensive solution to this problem. Use imaging software to backup (clone) not only your files, but also your computer operating system, settings, and applications. Imaging software costs around $50, and a hard drive to backup your computer to costs anywhere from $99-$175 retail (often less).

So how does this solution work? Easy, just purchase Acronis True Image for PC or Mac, and a USB hard drive. Install Acronis and create a backup schedule, and Acronis boot disk. Acronis will copy your entire hard drive to the USB hard drive on schedule. If anything happens to your computer or data, you can simply restore the Acronis image in 30-90 minutes. The restored image will be an exact replica of your computer when you backed it up. You won’t need to setup or reinstall any software, or your files.

We use Acronis in our shop frequently. It has proven very valuable when a client has forgotten that they had some important file saved in an unusual location, and their hard drive had to be wiped clean.

Things to note
1. You can buy Acronis True Image from, online retailers such as Amazon, or at your local electronics store. USB hard drives are available from online retailers and your local electronics store.
2. Buy a large USB hard drive. The more room you have on the drive, the more copies of your backup you can keep on it. This is helpful because you may not realize a problem has occurred for some time, and your recent backups might carry over the problem. Buy a 1-4 Terabyte hard drive for plenty of extra room.
3. Setting up Acronis is easy, but you must use care to select the correct backup options and schedule. You may want to hire an expert for this.
4. Your computer must be left on, or the backup will not work. Many computers are set to go to power-save (Sleep or Hibernate mode) after a period of inactivity. You may need to adjust or turn off the power-save settings during the backup schedule window.
5. I highly recommend that you create a bootable Acronis DVD. In the event that your computer won’t start, you can use this DVD to restore your computer to the last backup.
6. I always recommend that you have cloud backup in addition to a USB hard drive, to protect you from fire, water damage, theft, etc.

If you need help with your backup solution, please contact us at (925) 283-5666 or

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