Jacob Richman's Training Resources

Backup Tutorial - Rev: 11/2017

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Why should you backup?

- A computer virus wipes out all your files

- Physical computer damage (ie: hard disk failure)

- Facebook or Google account hacked or closed

- You lost your cell phone with your address book and photos

- You deleted a file by accident

- Corrupted email file (ie: large Outlook  .pst file)

- Network disk crash (yes, you need to backup your server)

- You lose access to "the cloud"

These are just a few examples for why you should start doing regular backups. Today, the low cost of backup media and the convenience of USB external disks and disk-on-keys, make doing backups inexpensive and simple. 5-10 minutes and you have peace of mind.

Some general notes about doing regular backups:

1. The cost of disk-on-keys and large external hard disks have gone down dramatically over the past year. A 32 gigabyte disk-on-key costs around 50 shekels (buy a metal one like "Kingston" instead of the plastic ones that I break all too often, speed: USB 3). An external USB hard disk with a terabyte (1,000 gigabytes) of storage space costs around 300 shekels. The warranty should be for at least for 2 years.

2. I strongly recommend backing up all your documents, photos, movies, and other files, to an external USB disk or disk-on-key at least once a week. Buy two keys / disks so you can rotate using them. If something bad happens during a backup, at least you have the other backup to fall back on.

3. Before buying an external USB disk or disk-on-key first check to see how much disk space is used on your disk. Open File Explorer. You can use the keyboard shortcut, Windows key + E or tap the folder icon in the taskbar. Tap or click "This PC" from the left pane. A list will appear of your disk drives and the amount of used and free space on each. If you want more details, right click the drive letter and choose "properties" from the menu.

4. Before you start your backup, make a list of what you need and want to backup. Using Windows file explorer, review what is stored on your hard disk(s). Many people store their files in default directories like my documents, pictures, videos, downloads, etc...
However, there may be directories you created for special photos, contracts, homework, movies, special software you bought, old hard to find device drivers, articles you saved, etc...
You will be surprised to discover how many important items you have that you never backed up and you risk losing them if something happens to your computer, tablet, cell phone or other digital devices.

5. Always use the "Safely Remove Hardware" icon before unplugging a USB device. On Windows, click the "Safely Remove Hardware" icon in the system tray (usually a USB shaped icon near the computer date/time on the task bar on the bottom of your screen) and choose your USB drive from the list. (DO NOT disconnect the wrong drive letter). Once the system notifies you of its safe removal you can pull out the key/drive.
IMPORTANT: It you just pull out a key without "safely removing it" you risk corrupting data on the key/disk. (Windows may be writing caching / transfering data to the device and it may not have finished writing to the device when you suddenly pulled it out). You may not be aware of the data corruption until you have trouble in the future reading a file from the key/drive. It does not happen often, but why take the risk. Get in the habbit of using the safe remove program before pulling out a USB drive.

6. If you decide to use an online backup service, make sure that it does not start backing up your large video / movie files which take a lot of bandwidth and will clog your Internet connection.

7. Make sure you backup your business network to an external disk and keep it secure in another physical location (home or a different building).

8. Do not rely on "the cloud". You can back up to "the cloud" but I would strongly recommend also having a copy of all your data on a home or portable disk. This includes all your photos and movies on social networks.

Below are some basics steps for backuping your valuable documents, photos, movies, music, social media, email, address books, and other digital information.

1. How to Backup your Facebook Account

What would happen if your Facebook account was suddenly closed or was hacked? All your photos, videos and postings would be lost. Did you know that you can backup all your Facebook information to your own computer?

To download your Facebook information:
Go to your Facebook settings page at:


On the middle of the page click on:
"download a copy of your Facebook data"
Then click on: "Start My Archive"
You will be emailed when the zip file is ready.
My Facebook backup zip file was close to a gigabyte.
I would recommend downloading the zip file to your computer disk or computer USB key and not to your phone.

2. How to Backup your Google Drive files

You have all your data on Google drive and you rely on Google to keep it safe and secure. You do not have to worry about losing your data due to a local disk crash because it is "in the cloud". However, bad things happen even in the cloud. For example: A friend shared a file with you and then deleted it from their Google drive. You no longer have access to the file. Another example: One day you try to access your Google drive and you can not. Maybe you did something wrong or maybe someone broke into your account. Google has a tool where you can export and download your data from the Google products you use, like your email, calendar, photos, youtube videos and more. It can create an archive which you can download to your computer for your records or to use the data in another service. Google takeout creates a .zip file of all your Gmail messages in the MBOX data format, which you can then manually re-import to your Gmail account if any data is lost. To choose and download your Google data go to:


You will be notified by email once the archive is ready for download. Do not attempt to download the large amounts of data to your phone. Download to your computer and then copy it also to a disk-on-key for safekeeping.

3. How to backup your Linkedin connections?

You have hundreds of important business connections on Linkedin that you accumulated over the years. Lose your Linkedin account and it will be very hard to remember all the connections including email addresses. Linkedin provides a function to export your connections to a CSV file (comma separated values file) for viewing in Excel or a VCF (Virtual Contact File) that you can import into your email program. To backup all your Linkedin connections go to:


Choose the file format you would like and click on "Export"
Some non-ASCII characters may not be supported in the .csv or vCard format. This means that Hebrew names will not be displayed correctly. However, their email address will be readable and you can review and update the Hebrew names manually.

4. How to backup your Twitter account?

To backup all your Twitter posts go to:


Toward the bottom click on:
"Request your archive"
You will be emailed when your archive is ready to download.

5. How to copy large files over 4 gigabytes to your disk-on-key

You have gigabytes of files on your computer (including backups of your social media accounts) and now you would like to copy the files to your disk-on-key but you get an error that a file is too big. When you buy a disk-on-key, many times the default directory structure of the key is FAT32 which does not handle files over 4 gigabytes. FAT32 was introduced way back with Windows 95. The FAT32 format also is very slow when copying files even if the key and USB port support USB 3. For large files and faster data transfers, you need to reformat your key to exFat or NTFS. NTFS is ideal for internal and external disk drives, while exFAT is generally ideal for flash drives.

Recently, I needed to copy several very large files to a friend's new external 2 terabye harddisk. It was taking forever. I discovered that the default file structure of the disk was Fat32. (In Windows explorer, with your mouse, right click on the drive letter of your disk or disk-on-key and choose "properties". You will see the size and free space on the key and the directory structure which will be either Fat32, exFat or NTFS) I reformatted the disk as NTFS and the files transfer was ten times faster.

How to format the external disk / disk-on-key:
Insert your disk-on-key into the USB drive.
Double click on "My Computer" or "This PC" on your desktop.
Right-click the disk-on-key drive letter.
Choose "format", then exFat or NTFS.
The quick format takes less than 10 seconds.
Please note that the format command deletes any files that you may have on the disk-on-key or hard disk.

** WARNING: Do Not format the wrong drive letter. **

Some old operating systems and some media devices may not support the ExFat format.

6. How to backup your browser bookmarks

Bookmarking is a great feature of your web browser. When you find a website that you like, simply pressing control + "d" and you can bookmark it directly or place it into a bookmark folder you created. Shift + Control + "o" (the letter o not zero) lets you review and use any of the bookmarks. If something happens to your computer or if you decide to go work on another computer, it would be nice to take your bookmarks with you. All browsers let you export your bookmarks.

In the Chrome browser bring up the bookmark manager with shift + control + "o" You will see a list of your bookmarks. Right above your list of bookmarks is the word "organize" with a drop down arrow / menu. Click on it and choose: export bookmarks to HTML file. The program will prompt you to save the file. Remember the name and what directory you are saving the file. Usually the file name will be bookmarks_todaysdate.html When it is finished you can copy the file to a disk-on-key and take it to another computer. On the other computer bring up the bookmark manager and under "organize" choose: import bookmarks from html file. If you are using a friend's computer and you do not want to import your bookmarks but just access them one time, you can open the file in the browser with control + "o". The bookmark file is a regular html file and your browser will display a vertical list of all your bookmarks and bookmark folders.

7. How to backup your email files.

If you are usings Gmail, use the Google takeout service I explained above. If you are using a local email program like Outlook or Pegasus email, I would recommend that you backup the data to a disk-on-key at least once a week. Insert your disk-on-key and go to the Windows file explorer (Windows Logo Key + "e" will bring it up, many people have an icon for the file explorer on their task bar.)

Outlook keeps all its information in one big .pst file.
You need to find the file and copy it to your disk-on-key.
You may find the file under:
Windows --> users --> username --> appdata --> local --> Microsoft --> Outlook
Users --> username --> Documents --> Outlook Files
If you can not find them, do a files search on your computer for *.pst

Pegasus mail keeps all its files under the pmail directory which was created when you installed the program. The actual data is in the the "mail" subdirectory but the program is pretty compact so I would copy the whole pmail directory to a disk-on-key. Note that if you decide you use you Pegasus mail backup on another computer you must edit 3 files that have the setup information / drive information for pmail to run corrently. (state.pmj, pmail.cfg, pmail.ini)

If you are using Yahoo or Hotmail mail, I would strongly consider downloading your emails to a local email program like Outlook or Pegasus. FYI: Gmail has a built-in function that you can import your mail and address books from other email systems like Yahoo. Due to the lax of security at Yahoo, many people are considering moving to Gmail or a local email client.

8. Backing up your phone contacts

I own a Samsung S3 Android phone. This example is based on that phone. If you own a different phone, check your manual on how to backup its data including the contact list. If you do not have the manual, you can usually find them online on the company's website. Search in Google for the phone name / model and the word "manual" or "user guide".

Open the contact list on your phone.
Press the menu button from your contact list.
Depending on the Android phone it will be under three dots on the top right or the menu options on the bottom left of your phone.
From the list that appears hit the import/export tab. This will bring up a list of available export and importing options. Export your contacts. When you connect your phone to your computer or a disk-on-key copy the contacts.vcf file. This file contains all your contacts. You can import this file into another phone or even your gmail account.

Feedback on this backup tutorial is welcome.

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