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AKGBackup - The backup program

            

 

Some must have programs for your Windows System

 

For safe computing experience, there are certain types of programs which must be there on any system. I will mention here some of the programs I have been using for keeping my system safe and healthy. There are many excellent programs other than those I mention here. But, since I have not used them, I would refrain from commenting about them.

Anti-virus software

This is a most vital first layer of defense for any computer to avoid unpleasant crashes and corruption of its system and files. With dozens, or maybe hundreds, of computer viruses launched every day, a computer without a good anti-virus software is actively courting disaster. Sooner, rather than later, it will get infected resulting in grief to its owner.

If you can afford to spend some dough, go for NOD32 from www.eset.com. However, it is not necessary to spend money in order to have a good anti-virus software. There are excellent free programs like AVG and AVAST. Whatever program you choose, make sure that they are updated over the internet daily.

Firewall

A firewall prevents hackers from connecting to your computer and it also prevents trojans and other malware from "phoning home" to their creators. I have found the free version of ZoneAlarm to be an excellent software and have been using it for years. If you can spend money, go for the pro version which has many more features.

Anti-spyware

Spyware is another type of malware which cannot be detected properly by anti-virus programs for the simple reason that a spyware works differently than a computer virus.  I recommend free AVG anti-spyware which was known as "ewido" in its earlier avatar. Microsoft also has released a very good and free anti-spyware program named "Windows Defender". Webroot Spysweeper is considered by many to be the best program in its category. It is a shareware though.

Cleaners (Useless files and Registry)

Over a period of time, Windows collects many useless files such as temporary files and back up files. Then there are many files cached in internet explorer. These files are not at all necessary for smooth running of a system and clutter up the hard disk. Same happens with Windows registry. Too many useless entries get accumulated in the registry and slow down the system. Many excellent programs are available for free for cleaning up your system. I regularly use two programs: EasyCleaner from http://personal.inet.fi/business/toniarts/ecleane.htm  and CCleaner. Both these programs clean unnecessary files as well as the registry. They are free too. I run them one after the another and enjoy the satisfaction of having a clean system.

Backup Software

Loss of important computer files for want of a proper backup, be it mail or documents or photographs,  makes one feel real sad and stupid. Ask me, I have experienced it :-) and I plan never to experience it again if I can help.

There are two types of back up. Normally, the term "back up" is related to making copies of data files such as word documents, spreadsheets, pictures, music, videos, email files, installation files for programs and so on. These files are created as a result of user's actions (typing, downloading etc). These files should be backed up regularly using a back up program on external hard disk or over a network if you are on one. The idea is to insulate the backed up files and folders from the system. This way, if the system gets infected by some virus or if there is some device or system failure, your data files would be safe.

There are numerous programs for backing up data files; freeware as well as shareware. It is difficult to decide which are the best programs available. I use my own program AKGBackup. It has never failed me and perhaps is one of the fastest back up programs available.

The files which are created during installation of operating system are called system files. Files and folders are also created during installation of programs. These files are necessary to run operating system and the installed programs. When the operating system and programs are running, the files necessary to make them run remain open and in use. Such files cannot be backed up using normal back up programs, as access to any open or "in use" files is denied to the back up program by the operating system. If one tries to backup system and program files, in the hope of being able to restore the whole system and programs in the event of some problem, he would be disappointed as many crucial files will be missing from the back up (those which were in use at the time of backing up).

However, there is a way of backing up whole system including operating system and installed programs using different kind of software. Such software is called image creation program. The image creating programs copy the entire system partition bit by bit to another location in the form of a file and the whole system partition can be restored whenever required. The advantage of such back up is that you can restore your system to its original state.

Once you have installed all the programs you need on your system, you can create a system image and store it somewhere safe. I create several images of my system. The first image is created after complete installation of Windows, drivers and activation. The second image is created after I am through installing all the programs. I keep both of these images on a partition on the other hard disk in my system. After some days of computing, I create third image and name it "CurrentImage". Then as I go on installing and tweaking more programs, I keep over-writing this third (current image).

One more important thing: clean your system and registry using cleaner programs and then defrag the system partition before creating an image.

Acronis True Image is one of the best programs for system back up. It is a shareware, but the price can gladly be paid for having peace of mind.

 

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