032: Other Backup options: Dropbox

Hey there YouTube! Another Christmas has come and gone and here we sit in the in-between. That lovely holiday time between Christmas and New Year. Time to enjoy the holidays for most people and plan the New Year’s party and resolutions we make for the year ahead.

But, 2019 isn’t quite here yet, so I thought I’d continue on with the backup theme of the last couple of weeks and introduce you to Dropbox as well.

Why introduce Dropbox when I’ve said I prefer Google Drive? Well, because a lot of people do use Dropbox and it’s quite common for people to share files using Dropbox, so it’s worth knowing how it works.

Failing that, if someone asks, at least you know this episode is here and you
can brush up your skills when you do need them.

Other reasons to like Dropbox include space. Lots of space. They have much larger storage options than Google, starting with 1Tb or a 1000Gb for around AU$150 per year.

Another is excellent multi-way sync. You can connect multiple
computers to a Dropbox account and a file added on one computer will begin to download on your other computers as soon as it’s finished uploading.

To get started with Dropbox, you need to sign up on their home page at Dropbox.com you can even sign in using your Google Account, which is handy because it’s one less password you need to remember. All you have to do is sign into the pop-up with your Google account and allow the Dropbox integration with Google. Then you put in your name and agree to the Dropbox Terms of Service.

The next screen gives you a tour of Dropbox but what we want is the download button behind it, which takes you to the download page where you can download the stub. Once you click this, the mini installer downloads. When you run it, it goes through and downloads the full installer and installs itself into windows. At the end of the install, click “open my Dropbox” and the Dropbox for Windows tool will start.

One of the differences between Dropbox and Google Drive is that Dropbox simply sets up its own folder and anything you put into that folder is synced to Dropbox. It does not backup your existing Documents, Pictures etc like Google Drive does.

At the next screen we selected Dropbox Basic and were rewarded with the message that our computer was now linked to Dropbox. Like Google Drive, the system tray icon gives us access to the Notifications and the Preferences Window.

The Preferences Window has several panels: dealing with your account, the
ability to import any photos from USB drives and memory cards you insert,
bandwidth limitations, proxies, notification settings and the sync options.

I particularly like the selective sync option as it gives you the ability to have a folder sync to your Dropbox and then turn it off on your computer to remove the files from that computer but still have it available in Dropbox and on any other computers that are synced. This is particularly handy if you have a device like a laptop with limited amount of storage space. The files are always available, if you need them, you just have to add them back in to that device’s selective sync and It will download and then untick them when you’re finished to make them disappear from your local storage.

The other great feature is sharing: you can right-click on any file or folder in your Dropbox and select from a variety of dropbox options, including the “share” and “copy Dropbox link”. Clicking “share” will give you a box where you can add someone to share this document with you. If they don’t have a Dropbox account, or don’t have one with this email address, they’ll be asked to create an account with this email before accessing the file.

The second option in the Dropbox section of the drop-down is “copy Dropbox link” which will give you a link that you can simply email to anyone to access and download that file.

I think that’s about enough for now. At The Tech Doctor Network our goal is to help you negotiate the technology maze. Come back every weekend for new videos or subscribe and ring the bell to be notified. I’m here to help. Thank you so much for watching. Have a safe and Happy New Year! Bye!

031: Backing up with Google Drive

Hey there YouTube! Before we start, I’d like to wish everyone out there a
Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays if you prefer that.

Last week, we spoke about backing up in general and I recommend Google Drive, so I thought I’d take the time for a quick dive into how to make it work on your computer.

To start with, you’ll need a Google Account. If you don’t have one, we have a Google Accounts article that will explain it step by step.

Login to your Google account at google.com and press on the nine dots (also known as the Rubik’s Cube) up in the top right corner. This displays a collection of the google apps. In this case, we want Drive.

It will show the contents of your Google Drive: possibly showing any Google Docs you might have in your drive. This account is empty as it’s my demonstration account. You can manually upload folders and files but
that’s not very useful, we want automation. Up in the settings cog is a
menu item called “Get back up and Sync for Windows”. (This is
called Drive File Stream if you’ve got a G Suite Account).

Click on the download button for Backup and Sync, agree and download and the Installer will be downloaded. If you’re using a Mac, there’s a version for OSX and the steps will be very similar. Click on the installer down in the corner and the file will finish the download and install.

At the end, click close and the Backup and Sync Setup Wizard will start. We first have to sign in with our Google email address and password and then we get to choose the folders for the Google Backup and Sync to backup.

By default, the folders are Desktop, Documents and Pictures. I tend to choose the ” High Quality” option to fit more photos in and also tick the
Google Photos button at the bottom to allow better access to the photos.
You also have the opportunity to select the folder where the files in your Google Drive will save on your computer and then we can start.

Google Backup and Sync then begins setting itself up and finds your files. The Backup and Sync icon appears in the system tray pictured as a cloud with an up arrow in it, which changes to revolving arrows when it’s syncing. You can click on it to see progress and also links to the Google Drive folder on the computer, Google Drive on the web and Google Photos on the web.

The last icon is a hamburger icon which includes the Preferences menu and some other options. In preferences, we can change our settings including adding extra folders to backup. It also handily gives you an indication of the size of the folder. You can see here I’ve added a folder with over 30Gb to test out the uploads.

If you do run out of space you can click on the link to upgrade which is all handled by Google 1, allowing you to upgrade to 100Gb of space for AU$25 per year or upgrading to 200Gb for AU$44 per year.

Well, that about covers it for Google Drive. At The Tech Doctor Network, our
goal is to help you negotiate the technology maze. Come back every weekend for new videos.

Subscribe and ring the bell to be notified. I’m here to help.
Thank you so much for watching. Merry Christmas!

030: Do YOU have a backup?

It’s the question I hate asking because I know all too frequently the answer is a horrified Nooooooo.

Do you have a backup?

Stuff happens, hard drives die, Computers get stolen, dropped, caught in floods, fires and various other disasters, both natural and man-made.
There’s also cyber attacks that can lock you out of your data or destroy it.
Or maybe you simply deleted something by accident. There are probably 1001 different causes that all mean you don’t have access to those
files anymore.

But what if there was another copy, a backup tucked away somewhere, far enough away to be out of harm’s way but close enough to be retrieved in a timely fashion if needed?

It sounds so simple; just make a backup. But how? There’s almost as many ways to backup as there are to lose the data in the first place. I’m going to introduce you to several. I’d like you to think about the pros and cons of each.

But please do me a favour and pick one and do it, even if you only do it once a quarter. At least you’ll have something if everything goes bad.

I’ll start by discussing a few terms.

External Storage: If you have an external hard disk plugged into your computer and store your files on it it’s not a backup! If it’s the only copy of that file, there is no backup. Just because it’s external to the computer and on what is often called a “backup drive” doesn’t make it a backup. If the external drive is a copy of all the files on the computer, that’s a backup, of sorts.

On-site and Off-site.

An On-site backup is on the same premises as the computer. That external hard disk plugged into the computer as a backup is great and convenient but also dangerous. If there’s a theft, fire or some other disaster, the backup is likely to be gone as well as the computer.

An off-site backup is somewhere else, preferably several kilometers away.
There’s no point in your neighbour having your backup if their house is  destroyed at the same time as yours.

Back in the dim dark past, my elder sister used to back up her files to CD and give a copy to her younger sister for safekeeping. I think they did it the
other way around as well. They were always a few suburbs away, or further, so it was safe.

Another friend of mine kept a backup CD in her Post-Office Box. Just a permanent envelope at the bottom of the box out of the way but ready to be
collected if needed.

Any sort of backup you do to the Internet or the cloud is by definition off-site.

Automated and User Driven.

A user driven backup requires you to remember to do something: put the DVDs in and out, unplug the hard disk and take it to a safe location, whatever it is. Some people are well suited to these tasks and can just remember or set alarms to do them. Other people are better suited to automated systems to do everything for you in the background. You know what sort of person you are!

Okay then, options. Firstly I’ll cover the user driven backups.

These include: memory sticks, external hard drives and DVDs. These are generally fairly inexpensive but require you to do the work of remembering and then doing what needs to be done. Some of these can be partially automated. I use a three hard disk system for work that backs up to an external hard disk on a 4 hourly basis. This is all fully automated. The manual part comes where I have to swap that external hard disk out on a weekly basis. The drive from the computer into the local safe and then the one from the safe into my car to go home.

Have I ever forgotten? Yes. Is it perfect? No. Is it good enough? Yes, I believe so.

The other consideration of these manual backups is the backup medium itself. Hard drives and memory sticks do die over time, especially if treated roughly. DVDs are single-use and wasteful although you can use the rewritable version but they’re susceptible to damage and loss and age as well.

Automated backups include systems like Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, OneDrive and dedicated backup systems like Carbonite.

Many of these systems operate on a freemium model where you get a smallish amount of space for free and then pay for more if you need it.
Currently, as at the end of 2018 Dropbox gives you 2Gb of data for free,
iCloud and OneDrive give you 5Gb and Google Drive gives you 15Gb shared
with your Gmail and Google Docs.

As you may remember from Maggie’s question a couple of weeks ago, Google will also store all of your photos for free possibly at slightly reduced quality, but not anything you’re likely to notice. Google is currently my favourite for this reason.

There are also dedicated backup systems that will backup not just your documents but also your Programs, Settings and everything else on your computer. I’ve used Carbonite in the past and been quite happy with it. The biggest drawback of any online system being the time it takes for the initial backup and the amount of data from your internet provider that may be consumed.

It’s also worth noting that if you’re attempting to restore from a system like Carbonite, it will take some time to redownload everything and eat into your downloads. It depends a lot on your internet speed and any data transfer limitations that may be in place.

Hopefully that’s given you something to think about.

Post in the comments below to let me know what backup type you use. Maybe there’s something I’ve forgotten.

At The Tech Doctor Network, our goal is to help you negotiate the technology maze. Come back every weekend for new videos or subscribe and ring the bell to be notified.

I’m here to help. Thank you so much for watching and have a great day!

029: More about Trust: Snopes.com (Bonus Midweek Episode)

On the weekend we looked at WOT, the Web of Trust and in this bonus midweek episode we’re going to look further into trust and the things we trust that others write and say.

Too often we take what others say at face value. What if there a way to check the truth behind the story? Help is out there. Help in the form of snopes.com, the oldest fact checking and hoax busting website on the

The site began with the intention of investigating urban legends hoaxes and folklore. Founder David Mikkelson started the site in 1984 (so it’s turning 25 next year) and was later joined by his wife and eventually a team to sift through the misinformation of the internet and show the results in as transparent and well researched manner as possible.

The site is simple, you can either browse through various categories or search using the main search bar at the top of the page. This is great for testing the veracity of items you see posted in places like Facebook.

For example; did Smirnoff Vodka take a dig at President Trump with an advert that said “Made in America, but we’d be happy to talk about our ties to Russia under oath”  Yes they did.

Another example of things frequently believed as facts: Does stepping on a rusty nail cause tetanus? No! Tetanus is caused by Clostridium tetani, a bacterium that is fairly ubiquitous in soil. Logically it’s possible that a
rusty nail has been in contact with soil but the connection is much more tenuous than most people think. Type Rust Tetanus into Snopes for all
the information.

If you have too much time on your hands there’s even a randomizer to point you to a random article for your reading pleasure.

I hope you find something really useful in that. Please let us know in the comments what stories you’ve been able to debunk with Snopes.

At The Tech Doctor Network our goal is to help you negotiate the technology maze. Come back every weekend for new videos, or subscribe and ring the bell to be notified when new ones are created.

I’m here to help. Thank you so much for watching and have a great day!

028: Who do you Trust? Web of Trust (WOT)

I was asked a few weeks ago by Di if I trusted a particular website she wanted to download some software from. It’s not an easy question to answer. I spent a fair bit of time googling the product and the site owner and came to the judgement that the site and what they are offering seem legitimate.

But it’s a lot of work and something I’m asked to do relatively frequently. As part of that investigation, I stumbled upon a product that will do it for me. It’s not perfect, but it’s a great guide. Today I want to introduce you to WOT The Web of Trust extension for Google Chrome and other browsers. We discussed extensions a few weeks ago so I won’t go over that again, I’ll just link it up above and delve into the specifics of this extension.

WOT is a free extension that checks the reputation of each site against WOT’s database of trust gleaned from millions of users across the internet. Any time you do a search WOT scans all the links on the page and puts a small WOT donut beside each link: Green for safe, Yellow for suspicious and Red for unsafe. If the page is unrated it gets a grey donut. It’s worth noting that a great donut is not necessarily a warning, more a sign that the site may get few visitors.

You can also click on the donut to see a detailed WOT page for the site. If you try and go to a site with a poor reputation, a pop-up will appear, warning you that the site is potentially malicious. Really handy.

One other nice feature is that if you’re reading your email in Chrome WOT will highlight the unsafe links in email without cluttering the page with all the safe links. This can be another handy tool for spotting scams in emails.

The other great thing is that you can rate and review any site yourself. In recording this episode I found that a link in my emails to sendgrid.net was marked as red (unsafe). Sendgrid is an email delivery service used by both legitimate and disreputable companies alike. I was able to go in and rate the site as yellow, suspicious which I believe more accurately represents the site and I also left a detailed review explaining why. This then adds to the collective wisdom of the site as a whole.

It’s worth noting that there has been a privacy issue noted with WOT back in late 2016, they were found by a German media outlet to be storing the search data in a way that could be identified. The extension was removed and reworked and re-released in early 2017 with boosted anonymization techniques to protect users. I’m not one to get massively hung up on privacy issues but if you’re really concerned then you’ve been warned.

I personally think this is an excellent extension, especially for users nervous about the websites they’re going to.

A special thanks to Di for her question, I hope this helps you feel safe.

At The Tech Doctor Network our goal is to help you feel comfortable with your computers.

Come back every weekend for new videos and subscribe and ring the bell to be notified.

Leave any questions or comments below. Thank you so much for watching.

Have a great week!

027: Maggie’s Q: How do I back up the photos on my iPhone?

In this week’s episode, we have a viewer question.
Maggie asks: How do I back up the photos on my iPhone?
If you would like your question answered email ask@techdoctor.com.au or leave a comment below.
Thanks for asking Maggie! Like many IT questions there are several possible answers, so I’ll give you a couple and let you choose the one that works for you.
If you have a computer, you can simply plug your iPhone into a free USB
port on the computer using the same cable you use to charge it. In Windows 10, a window will pop up showing the internal storage of your phone. Inside
that is a DCIM folder and inside that will be one or more folders. My iPhone
has 4: 100 Apple has old photos and movies in it, 101 Apple has newer photos and movies in it 100Cloud has older photos and movies saved in iCloud in it and 101Cloud has newer photos and movies saved to iCloud in it.
All you need to do is copy these folders to the Pictures folder on your computer and you have a backup. This will take some time. If you’re intending to delete the files from your phone, then this becomes the only copy of your pictures, so you really need to have a backup, but we’ll cover that in a later episode.
Option 2 is Apple’s own iCloud. Apple gives you 5Gb data storage for free but I know because you’re asking that you likely have way more than 5Gb of
photos. If you’re happy to part with some of your hard-earned money you can simply pay Apple AU$1.49 per month to upgrade that to 50Gb and let Apple backup all your photos. The problem is that you have to pay that AU$1.50 every month that’s $120 over the next ten years. Maybe it’s worth
it, maybe it’s not. It’s entirely up to you.
There’s also a 200Gb plan for AU$4.49 per month and a 2 terabyte plan for AU$14.99 per month, but you are only likely to need them if you take a lot of  video and never delete anything or you’re backing up a computer as well.
Option 3 is a Google option. Google has an App for the iPhone called Photos that allow you to back up your iPhone photos to Google.
All you need to do is download the app, log in to your Google account (see the Google account episode) and it will begin to backup your photos and videos. You can either choose to backup full versions of your photos that will count against the 15Gb of storage you usually get with a Google account or you can select high quality mode and Google will back them all up for you for free.
These photos are compressed to 16 megapixels each but the iPhone doesn’t
take photos that big so there is no loss. The other great feature of Google photos is that you can log into photos.google.com on any computer and see your photos there, organise them, play with them and even share them with your friends.
There are a few ideas for you Maggie. 🙂
If it helps, I personally do both number 1 and number 3 and mostly I do number 1 because I’m copying the recording of this video from my iPhone off to edit it.
I hope that was really helpful for you.
At The Tech Doctor Network our goal is to help you feel comfortable with your computer. Come back every weekend for new videos or subscribe and ring the bell below to be notified directly.
Leave any questions or comments below. I’m here to help. Thank you so much for watching and have a great day!