Hopefully we all know that it’s a good idea to periodically back up your files- documents, music, photos and other important stuff you would want to save in case of loss or failure. These days, external hard drives are pretty cheap and will hold all of your "stuff" and more. For those of us that don’t need to back up everything a large flash drive or even a memory stick (like SD sticks used in digital cameras) will do the job.
What I’d like to share is another handy idea that I’ve had to utilize several times in the last month. My computers have been experiencing "issues" lately and, as a result, I’ve had to reinstall my operating system, bury it and/or trade my computer in. Needless to say, I was fortunate I had my data backed up, but what I began to create was a single file, which I kept safely online at Google Docs.
I call this my back up file and I keep track of all the software I have to install on my new machine. For me, this stuff really adds up. Without this file, I’d end up installing the software as I needed it, but I like to have it booted up and ready to go. I also list my serial numbers/authorization codes under each software title so they’re good to go also.
Lastly, I create a small section of the little tweaks and changes I make to my system, such as disabling certain things at startup, changing power settings, installing custom fonts (such as Fonts 4 Teachers), deleting certain things the computer likes to sell me and so on. I also include any screenshots of things as I like them, such as all the items in my Quicklaunch (I use Windows). Don’t forget to include the little add-ons, such as the LAME encoder for Audacity and the Firefox plug-ins.
Creating this list is as easy as it sounds, just scroll through your programs and make a note of the things you currently have on your system. I’ve found this document to be very useful way too many times recently!