SanDisk has unveiled a Universal Serial Bus flash drive that automatically copies files to an online backup service, when plugged into any PC with an Internet connection.

The new Cruzer Titanium Plus flash drive is priced at $59.99 with 4GB of memory. It will be available in March, said the company. The online backup capability is priced at $29.99 per year. The first six months of the service are offered without charge, said a SanDisk spokesman.

The new flash-memory product replaces SanDisk’s older Cruzer Titanium line, according to SanDisk officials.

The files will be copied to BeInSync’s online backup service under an arrangement with SanDisk. The backup service will store up to 4GB for each product, effectively mirroring the capacity of the USB drive, said Motti Vaknin, CEO of the service provider. BeInSync employs’s hosted Simple Storage Service (S3) infrastructure to store all collected online data, Vaknin said.

The backup service currently supports PCs running Microsoft Windows 2000 (Service Pack 4), Windows XP and Windows Vista. SanDisk has no plans to provide online backup support to Macintosh- and Linux-based systems, the SanDisk spokesman said.

The BeInSync service will automatically store copies of documents, photos, digital music and videos. During the backup process, a small icon will appear in the system tray showing the progress of the effort, the spokesman noted.

Any new or changed files copied to the USB flash drive while a PC is offline will be backed up during the next connection. Any files deleted from the flash memory product will be kept online for approximately 30 days – as long as the amount of files backed up from the device and deleted files do not exceed available capacity online.

The spokesman said that SanDisk has no immediate plans to extend the online backup service to its other USB flash-drive products.


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Survey your backup needs, and think about what you have that is ‘live’ data, your ongoing, working library of files, versus what is archival data, files that don’t require changes or additions. Live data might include your collection of digital music and your business documents, while archival data might include your digital photos from the past five years. Think about whether you want all of your data to reside in a single place, or whether you want to spread your backups across multiple devices. Also consider your habits: Do you need prompting to back up, or do you want to invoke a backup at will?

Having evaluated your files and needs, you can better decide on a backup strategy, and on which combination of technologies makes sense for you. You’ll likely settle on a strategy that encompasses various devices and services, selected from among USB flash drives, external hard drives, network-attached storage, and online backup.

Many hardware devices now include a backup utility as a matter of course; but whether you’ll find that backup utility (be it a separate application or one that’s integrated with the drive) useful will depend in part on the backup approach you’ve chosen. Do you want to back up all of your files? Or are you aiming to do larger, more-current sets while leaving the file archive to reside on a NAS or on a dedicated 1TB hard drive attached to your system?

Various software programs, including traditional backup programs such as NovaStor NovaBackup Professional, EMC Retrospect Backup, and NTI Backup 5 Advanced, will find specific file types on your hard drive and back up those file types per your instructions. But it helps to devise an organised structure for the files on your hard drive; that way, you know exactly where to begin when you establish a backup routine in the aforementioned software, or if you ever do a quick-and-dirty manual backup (in which you simply drag and drop files from one drive to another within Windows Explorer).

Rebit Disk Drive Backup is even simpler to use. Just plug in the drive, give the built-in software permission to back up, and off it goes, continually protecting you in the background. By the end of January, the drive’s software will get an update that supports managing backups for up to six PCs to a single drive (a good setup for people backing up smaller sets of data, but not for users who have multiple PCs packed with multimedia collections). The company also now offers its easy-to-use software on CD, for use with any external hard drive.

Memeo’s Autobackup software and NTI’s Shadow are competing stand-alone applications that you can buy for real-time file backup; they can require more intervention on your part, however, than either Clickfree (which is not real-time backup) or Rebit (which is real-time, much like the Apple Time Capsule for Mac OS computers).

USB flash drives are ubiquitous, but nowadays 4GB is a baseline
capacity, not the high end. And larger capacities, 16GB or 32GB and
greater, are becoming more commonplace.

The benefits to
using a flash drive can be multifold. You can store your files, perhaps
both your critical documents and your multimedia files, on a drive the
size of your index finger and you can keep your data close to you, in
your pocket or on a keychain. Many drives offer software encryption and
password protection; still more include a file-synchronization utility.
The SanDisk Cruzer Titanium Plus goes one step further by letting you sync the drive with Web-based storage.

SanDisk is going all out, however, with its newest offering,
the SanDisk UltraBackup USB Flash Drive. The drive is expected in
April, in capacities of 8GB to 64GB. It has a retractable USB connector
that slides inside, so you needn’t worry about caps (or cables, as you
would with an external hard drive). The integrated software requires no
installation; instead, it just asks you for the file types you want to
back up, and it initiates a backup when you plug the drive in; a button
on the unit lets you launch a backup, too.


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How to Ghost a Computer

August 12, 2009

“Ghosting” a computer means creating a clone of its contents so that they may be transferred to a different hard drive. It’s not strictly the same as copying, but rather a means of accessing files and software without having to go through all of the trouble of reinstalling them. You typically ghost a computer as part of an upgrade to a larger hard drive.

Set up 2 hard drives, the one you intend to ghost and the new one onto which the cloned files will be placed.

Check to ensure that the destination hard drive can accommodate all of the software you wish to ghost and that the two hard drives are compatible

Select the proper software to use when you ghost your computer. Some, such as Symantec Ghost and Acronis True Image, are commercially available, while others like Carbon Copy Cloner and DriveImage may be downloaded for free (see Resources below)

Install the ghosting software onto the hard drive you intend to ghost. Specifics will vary depending on the software you are using. Check to ensure that it is running properly before you ghost the computer.

Boot up the ghosting software and select the drive with the partition or files you wish to ghost. The exact steps will depend on the particular type of software, but it will usually ask you to select a certain series of files or a certain partition from a list. Click on the ones you wish to ghost.

Select a destination hard drive. Again, specifics will vary, but you will want to select the new hard drive where you want the files to end up, not the old drive which currently contains the files.

Choose the size of the partition or files, whether you wish to compress it or them and what name you wish to use. These details help the computer determine the parameters for your ghosting, and again, will depend on the software you are using.

Confirm that you have selected all of the files you wish to ghost, and then click “Proceed.” Depending on the software, it may give you a slightly different prompter, such as “Start Partition Dump?” or “Begin Cloning?” In each case, you should click yes.

Wait for the software to ghost your files. It should provide a final prompter when the operation is completed.


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April 24, 2009

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Abexo Free Registry Cleaner is the freeware edition of Abexo Registry Cleaner. This software aims at making your computer run faster by cleaning Windows system registry. One-click registry backup, cleanup and defrag (shareware version only). Version 1.1 includes bug fixes and improvements.

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Back up your Registry

October 23, 2008

Back up selected parts of your Registry quickly and easily with this handy tool…

When you back up your Registry with Regedit you have one of two options: either you back up the entire lot, or you back up a selected branch or key. If you want to back up a selection of values and keys then in Regedit you have to export them individually, which is a bit of a pain, but not quite as bad as editing the Registry from scratch to include your custom keys after a re-installation.

Thankfully, Registry Key Backup (available from makes it possible to select different parts of the Registry and export them in a single file. So if you want to back up your Outlook Express settings, for example, which reside in both the HKEY_CURRENT_USER and the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE hive keys, you can do.

Run the program, choose Item, Add and click on the plus button. Select each key or branch you wish to store before clicking Add again, then click Close when you’ve finished. Enter a caption, browse to a suitable location, choose a file name and click OK.


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