Wednesday, 12 August 2015 14:31

Good Acronis advice to follow before Windows 10 upgrade

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If you’re tempted to upgrade your computer or computers to Windows 10 with the free upgrade, there’s some great advice worth heeding before you hit that upgrade button.

Upgrading to the latest version of an operating system is always a big task, usually going relatively smoothly but nevertheless always fraught with the danger that everything could quickly go SNAFUBAR, which I’m slightly modifying to ’Situation Nasty And Fritzed Up Beyond All Recognition.’

When things go wrong with an OS upgrade, you either have a set of solid and reliable backups that you can relatively quickly restore to, or you can be left with the task of either installing your older operating system afresh from which you can re-upgrade from, or installing the new OS if you have the files to do so - something most Windows 10 upgraders won’t have handy.

Now, it’s important to remember and realise that Acronis sells backup software, and as the company states, it “protects the data of over 5 million consumers and 500,000 businesses in over 145 countries,' - the company isn't just being a good backup samaritan. 

So it's naturally in the company’s interest to be advising the entire planet of the importance of backups - but seeing as everyone is an incredibly knowledgeable expert on the importance of backups after suffering a major crash, I’m very happy to help Acronis spread its message.

Perhaps this will help a few people become experts on backup BEFORE a major crash, which is the very best and most useful time to be a backup expert, although hey - better late than never.

In any case, Acronis’ message is to remind us all to make proper backups - and obviously the company hopes individuals, businesses and anyone using computers today will evaluate its various backup solutions.

To be fair to other companies and to the operating systems themselves out there, Acronis isn’t the only provider of Windows and Mac backup software and services - there are various backup software vendors out there, some paid, some free. Windows even has file and image backup software built into it, while Mac OS X has Time Machine.

That said, Acronis has been around since 2003 in the business of backup and it has grown tremendously since that time, so it’s a solid choice to serve your backup needs, but as always, do your own due diligence and homework, and make the backup choices that are right for you, whatever you decide them to be.

Now, as Acronis notes, by the time 24 hours had passed since Windows 10’s introduction on July 29, over 14 million devices had already been upgraded to Windows 10.

Since that time, millions more upgrades have occurred, but hundreds of millions of PCs, 2-in-1s, all-in-ones, notebooks, laptops, ultrabooks and tablets await their free Windows 10 upgrade.

Given all that I’ve said above, it is no surprise to see Acronis A/NZ GM, Lincoln Goldsmith state: “For the millions of people out there who have yet to update their PCs with Windows 10, it is important to keep in mind that data can sometimes be lost if something goes wrong when a machine is being updated with a new operating system.”

It is also no surprise that I will now list the list seven tips Acronis offers ‘to reduce the chances of data being lost when updating devices to Windows 10’.

1. Plan the upgrade
For those who have multiple PCs, don’t rush into installing Windows 10 on all of those machines right away. Choose one computer and upgrade to Windows 10. This will help users learn what to do and what not to do, and make the upgrade process easier for other PCs.

2. Make sure the PC can handle the upgrade
A recently-purchased PC that runs an older version of Windows can probably be upgraded to Windows 10 and remain in use. However, if the PC is over three years old, it is best to consider replacing it with a newer machine that can more easily run Windows 10.

3. Back up the old PC
Before upgrading to Windows 10, it is important to back up all the information and applications on the original PC. Upgrading without first backing up all the files on an older system can lead to data loss.

Acronis A/NZ MD Lincoln Goldsmith pops back in at this point to note that “Windows 10 is not a simple Windows update, but rather a clean rollout of a new system and the install process will wipe out many folders containing important files or data.”

4. Use disk-imaging technology for backup, not just file copy
Windows, even XP, is a complex operating system and some data lives outside of easily identifiable files, such passwords and preferences. For this reason, use a backup solution with disk imaging technology that simultaneously backs up your entire system while also backing up individual files.

5. Back up everything
Over time, documents may have been filed into desktop folders, temporary files, or even a recycle bin. Even these forgotten folders must be backed up. Additionally, remember to back up hidden partitions.

Goldsmith added at this point: “These partitions, found on Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, and IBM machines, let you restore your computer back to its original state. You must back up this extremely important partition too.”

6. Follow the 3-2-1 backup rule
The 3-2-1 backup rule is a valuable rule of thumb that helps to dramatically lower the risk of data loss. Create three copies of data, store those copies in at least two types of storage media, and store one of these copies offsite.

7. Save older backups after you upgrade
Once a device is switched over to Windows 10, make sure to keep older backups of data. They may be needed again later if the device is updated to a newer Windows version further down the track.

Lincoln Goldsmith concludes by stating: “Before you make the move to Windows 10, don't risk everything by not being backed up. If you follow the seven simple tips above, you can make your Windows 10 upgrade experience smoother, and keep your vital data.”

All I can add to that is backing up keeps your data vital, too!

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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