Category Archives: Data Recovery

How to Use the Backup and Recovery Tools of Windows 10

When it comes to backup and recovery, Windows 10 definitely has everything you need. It’s a cool mix of all the familiar Windows tools that you have probably used in their past operating systems and some new ones that make the overall experience even better.

File History

File History is a backup and recovery tool you have probably seen (and enjoyed immensely) in Windows 8. Where Windows 7 only featured backup features through the Control Panel, File History in Windows 8 and Windows 10 takes it a few levels higher by making it available in Settings as well.

Backup and Restore

Backup and Restore is something that Windows 7 users might remember. The tool can be found inside Window 10’s Control Panel. Or to make things easier, just search for “backup” and it’s the first thing that shows up.

Reset This PC

In case you find the need to go back to your default operating system’s state, the “Reset this PC” option is the best way to do recovery. Simply go to Settings, choose Update & Security, click on Recovery, and find Reset this PC. Click the Get Started button to set things in motion.

System Image Backups

For old Windows users, one thing that they missed using is the System Image Backup, as this was a hidden feature on Windows 8. Well, it’s back out in the open for Windows 10 users. Just go to your Control Panel, click on Backup and Restore (Windows 7) under System and Security, then click on “Create a system image” at the left side of the panel.

There are a number of other backup and recovery tools you can use on Windows 10 the more you explore the system. You can use OneDrive, Advanced Startup Options, or Recovery Drive Creator aside from the options outlined above.

What are the Top Threats to Email Security?

top threats to email securityDespite the many spam and malware filters that were created as ways to ward off top threats to email security, you can still find quite a lot of Trojans and other malware going around the web by way of file attachments and URLs. According to security reports, websites are taking the place of emails as the place where malware thrive but the antivirus company Kaspersky still states that malicious files were detected in emails they scanned on a regular basis. When you want to ensure that your email and your computer system stays safe and malware-free, it pays to know the enemy. Below are the top malware threats that you can get via email.

BredoZp – Bredo is a type of SPAM generated by bots in order to recruit even more bots. For instance, you get mail where BredoZp will pose as a money order notice from a money transfer company. This notice will come with an executable .zip file that has Bredo-A. Once you open the file, it is implanted into a temporary folder in the PC in the form of an auto-run file with a random name. Bredo-S will pose as a DHL or UPS delivery problem notice with a .zip file containing malware programs like Bredo-E, EncPk, FakAV etc.

FakeAV – Reports state that this is the second most prevalent malware that travels by email. In the past year, there has been an influx of FakeAv variants and these make use of scareware that work to exploit the fears of end-users. For example, you get a FakeAV-EI SPAM mail in your folder and it carries a Trojan horse in the form of a 30-day McAfee VirusScan free trial.  This is a common ruse and users who fall for this are then given a warning that their computers are infected and are then urged to buy a clean-up software which is really just another way to infiltrate your computer. If you must know, it is always important to be wary of security programs that come to you through unsolicited mail. Legit security program providers will never do that.

JS Redirector – This is malware that is popular not just on email but also on the web. This is a JavaScript Trojan horse that makes use of generated URLs to direct Internet users to suspect and malicious websites that carry porn or malware, and phish for private information. Some of the ways JS Redirector is spread includes the use of drive-by downloads and it is therefore not surprising that this malware uses HTML-formatted messages to spread via email. Even if you stay clear of suspicious .zip files that are sent to you via mail, it is very possible that you will fall for an HTML message that takes you to a website you never intended to visit in the first place. However, you can inhibit JS Redirector simply by disabling JavaScript execution on your chosen mail client.

Have you ever fallen victim to these email malwares? What happened and what did you do to solve it?

How to Get Back Data You’ve Lost When Your Computer Crashes

ID-100109797 (1)Many people call us asking how to  get their data back after their computer crashes. We have the heartbreaking job of telling many of them there is no way to retrieve it. When computers crash, the data inside of them can’t always be retrieved. Major components of a computer break sometimes, and then that’s it, all of the data is gone.

What we usually tell customers that call us about retrieving data is they could have prevented this situation from occurring. We enjoy telling them about all of the benefits of online backup, and now we would like to give you the same gift.

When you have online backup, all of the data on your computer automatically uploads to an online server. So every time you make changes, the software on your computer will know, and it will go ahead and make those changes on the server.

If you computer crashes one day, you may get scared for a minute, but you’ll quickly remember all of your data is securely sitting on a server. Data recovery is quick, easy, and painless.

All you have to do is repair your computer or buy a new one. When you have the computer in your possession, simply install the software on your computer coming with the online backup membership. With a few clicks in the software, all of the data on the server will be copied to your new computer. In the process, you can also set up your computer to automatically back up just like the other one did.

If you don’t have the software, you can still retrieve all of the data. You can simply log into the server through the website URL. Once you log into your personal server site, you’ll see all of your data, and all you have to do is download anything you need. You can even download the software again, so you can sync the new computer with the server.

And that’s it! With online backup and data recovery, you can save yourself the grief of every having to deal with losing data because of a computer crash again.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Why You Should Backup a NAS Now

Since we are experts in backing up data, we receive many calls from people who are panicked. Some are anxious because their computer just crashed, and others call us because their NAS (Network Attached Storage) device crashed. The situations are both similar though – their data is gone and they want to know how to get it back.

Sometimes, when a NAS crashes, it can be recovered. It has mirrored drives (RAID), which hold data much like a backup system would work. The only problem is that it’s not always possible to recover a crashed NAS. The mirrored drives are supposed to be used as a backup. It’s not as dependable as a normal back up system.

This is why we recommend that everyone back up their NAS as soon as they start using one. If you have a NAS, and you haven’t backed it up, do it now.

A NAS has a lot of storage space, and that means that if it crashes, you could end up losing an enormous amount of data. That is if you don’t back it up. If you do, you’ll have no problem at all. You’ll have everything on your NAS easily accessible, even though your NAS isn’t.

How Does a NAS crash?

A NAS is just like a computer. It can have hardware failures, data can corrupt, and viruses can attack. It’s vulnerable, and just like computers, it’s bound to crash at some point.

Don’t risk all of your data with a NAS that isn’t backed up. Contact us know to find out how you can back up all of your data quickly and easily, so you never have to deal with the anxiety that many people call us with searching for a way to get it all back.

Is It Really Cheaper to Use a Computer Repair Shop?

ID-10060463Computers don’t last very long. Most will only give you three years of life, if you treat it well.

When a computer breaks, most people rush to the computer repair shop in panic mode. They want to save their computer. If the computer can’t be saved, they want to at least put it on life support, so the data can be retrieved.

Repair shops prey on the anxiety ridden people that come in. They know that people want their data and will pay any price to get it back.

Some repair shops will charge a $25 diagnostics test. This doesn’t include any repair at all. They will merely check to see if it can be repaired and if the data is retrievable.

If the computer can be repaired or the data retrieved, the technician will normally charge $100-$250 for parts plus labor, or $50-$100 for transferring data.

Did you know that a mid-quality computer costs just $350 now? Tablets have taken the computer market by storm, so the computer companies need to compete with lower prices.

Think about this:

You could take your computer to the repair shop when it breaks to pay it to be fixed, which will cost you probably $300 or more, and last you a few more months. Or, you could buy a new computer, which could last you a few years more for the same amount.

What about your data?

How easy would it be if you had all of your data backed up before your computer crashed? All you would have to do is throw your old computer into the recycling bin, and head to the store for a new one. When you get home, you could install your backup software on your new computer, and in the matter of an hour or two, have all your data back.

This sure does beat spending a ton of money and waiting a week for a repair shop to getting around to transferring everything off your lifeless computer.

As you consider what you’ll do if your computer crashes, think about the real savings you could have when you have everything you need no matter what happens to your hard drive. The peace of mind you’ll have will be priceless.

Image courtesy of Digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

TAPNET Announces NAS Storage Devices Coming Soon

How many of you out there have many computers on the same network? If you raised your hand in response (or even if you didn’t but do), you could use network-attached storage, or NAS.

What Is NAS?

NAS is a networking dream. It allows computers on the same network to back up and share files on a network. Some NAS go above and beyond the call of duty by hosting many devices such as printers, media streamers, and surveillance systems. Some NAS devices come only with a drive, while others have multiple ones. The more drives you have, the more data protection and capabilities you will have on the NAS. Which one you decide on will depend on which type of NAS storage device you need.

The point of us telling you about NAS is that we are bringing that ability to you. TAPNET will soon offer NAS servers for its customers.

As you can imagine, we are excited about this advancement in our company. We are always striving to provide our customers the best web-based services and products, and now we’re able to add to our family of them.

To stay informed of when our NAS servers will be available, check this blog. We’ll make an announcement when that time comes. In the meantime, browse around the site to learn about all of our others quality services and products, which can help you while you’re at home or work.

How To Recover Outlook 2007 PST File

The most important thing you can do before you ever run into any problems is to ensure you have a proper backup of the Outlook PST file. However, we have never run into any problem that couldn’t be managed with a PST file, the worst thing that has happened to us is our Windows installation became corrupted and needed to do a restore.

Aside from the need to restore from hardware failure or failed OS, the rest is typically recoverable with everything that is already located within Windows.

The first step to secure an Outlook Mail Profile is to export a component of Windows Registry. In the event of a disaster recovery, it will be necessary to import the component into the registry. As seen from the illustration below (click to enlarge), the location of the Windows Mail profile is located in the following location: HKCUSoftwareMicrosoftWindows NTCurrent VersionWindows Messaging SubsystemProfiles{user id} where the [user id] is the name of the Mail Profile. To access the mail profile, open Control Panel and the click to open the Mail Applet, then click on Show Profiles. The user id will match the name given to the profile. This mail profile will contain all the details to recover mail settings within Outlook.

Windows Registry Outlook 2007 Profile Location

It is important to export this component of the registry periodically or when any major changes or adjustments are made within Outlook. Ensure that the Reg file from this export is placed into a safe location that can be easily retrieved and is being currently backed up.

The most common problem we see in Outlook is when a Send/Receive process freezes. When this happens often times the only way to recover Outlook is to exit Outlook and then terminate the Outlook process in Task Manager. While in some cases this actually will recover the Send/Receive process, when it does not, then further troubleshooting is required. Here are the common recovery steps to try.

1. Check that the Deleted Items and Sent Items folder does not contain thousands of messages. In one instance clearing the Deleted Items folder had helped to resolve the above issue with Send/Receive. Not certain if Outlook has performance issues or can potentially corrupt configuration files or even the PST when the number of messages reaches a certain quantity. In this instance we had seen over 5000 deleted items and another 2000+ messages in sent items. By removing most, it improved the performance of Outlook significantly.

2. Once the Deleted Items and Sent Items folder is cleaned, the next step is to perform a Compact on the PST file. This can be done from 2 places, we always prefer to have Outlook closed during the compact. From Control Panel, open the Mail applet, click on Show Profiles. With the profile selected, click on Properties and then Data Files. Locate and click on the PST file, then click on Settings. As seen in the image below (modified image for illustration purposes)

Windows Mail Profile Outlook Account Settings

With the PST file selecting and clicking on Settings a popup will open that will provide an option to Compact. If the PST file is larger (eg: over 250MB), it will take a few minutes, give it some time to process.

3. In some cases and after each of these steps, testing can be done to see if the problem has resolved. If steps 1 and 2 did not resolve then the next process can be to delete a file that is auto-recreated if they don’t exist when Outlook opens. The Send/Receive Group can be corrupted which may be causing the issue with Send/Receive. To locate this file, open Windows File Explorer and go to this path (for Windows) C:Users{userid}AppDataRoamingMicrosoftOutlook in Windows XP/Vista the path may be c:Documents and Settings{user}AppData…. If the AppData folder is not visible, the Show Hidden Files option may not be set. Click on Organize > Folder and search Options which will open the Folder Options popup. Click on the View Tab and locate the option as illustrated below.

Windows 7 Folder Options Show Hidden Files

In the folder AppDataRoamingMicrosoftOutlook delete the SRS file. Although we have in fact deleted all the files in this folder before and the all get recreated by Outlook. It is the SRS file that may be damaged and causes the Send/Receive process to fail.

4. We always recommend placing and keeping the PST files in folders other than the default installation. However, this requires copying the PST file from the Users folder and then adding it in the Account Settings (illustrated above). The reason the path in the above illustration is c:dataemail1outook is for this very reason. Using a dedicated Data folder simplifies backups process by minimizing the number of folders for the backup to scan. Sometimes backups run and finish sooner if all data files are in 1 place instead of having the backup scan so many folders and backing up files that are not ever modified from the original installation of software.

The next step is to run a scan and repair on the PST file. Microsoft Office comes with just the utility and is located in this folder for Office 2007 (“C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft OfficeOffice12SCANPST.EXE”). Run this program and provide the path to the PST file. While we have a simple path to our PST file because we place it in a Data folder, default installation paths would be in (C:Users{userid}AppDataLocalMicrosoftOutlook). The scan and repair will prompt to optionally create a backup in the same folder called [outlook-pst].bak where in most cases the PST file is called Outlook.pst, unless it is renamed. We always rename our PST files to ensure we are not using a generic name or version or accidentally move/over-write/delete it. The scan and repair process can take a few minutes, this would be a great time to grab a glass of your favorite beverage. We have seen this take over 5-10 minutes on larger PST files (over 500MB).

5. The last and final step is to recreate the Mail profile. From the Control Panel, open the Mail applet and click on Show Profiles. To create a new Mail profile, click on the Profile to be re-created and then click on the Copy button. Give the Copy a name easily identifiable as the newer version. We don’t recommend removing the old mail profile on this step, but as a clean up step post testing. There have been instances where creating a new Mail Profile that fixed the Send/Receive temporarily and then it broke again. While this helped the problem may have persisted but was doomed to reappear. At the bottom of this Show Profiles popup, ensure the newly created profile is set as the default and click Apply. Test Outlook again.

By now, we have cleaned the deleted items and sent items folder, compacted the PST file, re-created the Send/Receive group, ran a scan/repair on the PST file and created a new Mail Profile with all the same settings by using the Copy feature in Show Profiles popup. We also ensured that we have a Mail Profile backup using windows Registry to export Outlook account settings. We also discussed moving the PST file into a Data folder, although we didn’t cover the individual steps, this is a recommendation to ensure the PST file is included in the backup.

Lastly, while the above steps can solve the most common problem in Outlook with the Send/Receive issue, we have at times had to perform all these steps above without re-opening Outlook until all steps were completed to ensure we weren’t re-corrupting something by testing in between. After step 1 is complete, it can be a good idea to perform steps 2-5 without opening Outlook. While some feel this is scary in case something fatal happens, rest assured with the right backup in place one can always restore the Outlook 2007 PST files from a backup. After performing these steps many times we have reached a very good confidence level when using these troubleshooting techniques. There is nothing to worry about when maneuvering through Outlook files if you know where everything is and there is a backup of the most important information, that is the Outlook PST file and the Mail Profile registry settings. We do provide technical support to assist in these situations using a remote control service. Our fee to perform these steps is $25. Visit TAPNET Tech Support page click through to order our Quick Fix item.

As we have crossed this path before without all the recovery and troubleshooting steps, the absolute worst case scenario we have had is re-configuring all the Outlook settings until we started to backup the Windows Registry components, but we have NEVER lost email because of the trusted TAPNET Online Backup.

How To Properly Backup and Maintain Thunderbird Email

Thunderbird Email client has a very user friendly interface. It is very light and is supported by Mozilla. There are a few important steps to ensure that email is backed up properly in the event of a disaster. To recover a Thunderbird Email Profile with all emails, account settings and contacts intact there are a few important steps.

The worst case scenario for recovering email is losing all email messages and contacts. The next best case scenario above this is losing emails since the last backup. We have detailed the steps below to ensure all email messages can be recovered. Without the need to redo account settings and to ensure all your contacts are back in place.

Thunderbird does not have any method to automatically recover 1 email message without using an import feature. You cannot just copy messages into folders and expect they will appear in the folders inside the email client. They must be imported, but this can be tricky as the only resident import options in Thunderbird are to bring messages across from Outlook and Outlook Express.

Email messages in Thunderbird are all stored in files, one for each folder. Within that file that identifies each folder and sub-folder are all the messages contained together. To restore a message, you must restore that entire folder, but it must be placed in a separate restore location initially and then imported using the Xpi extension below.

The following configuration of Thunderbird will ensure that you will always have the most recent copy of email messages from within Thunderbird and the ability to restore the entire account settings and email anytime.

By using just the Mozbackup software to backup Thunderbird, you will not have an up to date copy of your latest email messages. The backup will only be as good as the last time your Mozbackup backup was completed. We recommend using Mozbackup monthly or bi-monthly to backup the Thunderbird profile with Account Settings only option. This will export your email account settings and contacts database. It will be placed in 1 file in the location specified. We recommend placing this file monthly into a folder that is being backed up automatically. TAPNET online backup will keep up to 30 revisions of this file.

If you were to use Mozbackup to backup all options including email, this file would eventually become so large it would be difficult to ensure a timely backup and restore. For larger mailboxes the Mozbackup process will create 1 very large file in the backup location and does not allow the ability to restore 1 message. It is all or none.

However, this recommended approach will guarantee that you will be able to restore as little as 1 message or the entire mailbox.

Initial download + setup for Thunderbird, Mozbackup + ImportExportExtension

1. Thunderbird Download (www.mozilla.org/thunderbird)
Download, install and setup like you would normally do with any email client.
All initial settings is mostly for desired configuration.

2. Download Mozbackup (www.mozbackup.org/)
Download and install Mozbackup.

3. Download and Install ImportExportExtension (http://nic-nac-project.de/~kaosmos/mboximport-en.html)
Open Thunderbird
Click on Tools + Addons
In the Get Addons, to the LEFT of the Search field at the top right of the screen there is an Options icon, click on it
Select Install From File
Locate the ImportExportExtension file downloaded nic-nac-project.de

To backup Thunderbird there’s a recommended 2 step approach:

1. Backup the Email using TAPNET Online Backup (www.tapnet.biz)
To have the most recent version of emails, ensure that the folder where the Thunderbird email is located is checked in the Manage Backup Settings tab of the online backup software client.
To locate the Email Store folder:
1. Open Thunderbird
2. Click on Tools and then Account Settings
3. In the left click on Server Settings
4. Near the bottom is the Message Storage area
5. Note down the full path to the email profile
6. Follow this path on the online backup software, in Manage Backups, Settings tab

2. Backup the profile using Mozbackup. By selecting Backup a Profile, then Thunderbird and Account Settings only will ensure you have a working shell of Thunderbird in a disaster recovery situation.

3. Periodically run mozbackup to have a current version of account settings and address book.
Sometimes the annoying part of restoring an email client is retrieving all the settings and contacts.

To perform a full restore of Thunderbird account + email:

1. Restore the profile using mozbackup
2. Restore the email using TAPNET Restore Client.
Place all the email restored into a temporary location on your hard drive.
3. Go into Thunderbird and right Click on the restored account and click New Folder.
4. Give the new folder a unique name and click on it to select it.
All email will be restored into this folder and will then need to be dragged to its root location.
The reason for this step is because the import export tool will restore all messages and subfolders together and this process will ensure they are not scattered about.

5. Go to Tools, ImportExport and select Import Mbox file
6. Select the last option importing a folder and all its subfolders
7. All email will now be imported into the folder created above.
8. Drag the email and folders back to their original location.

We hope these detailed instructions will assist in ensuring that Thunderbird Email Profiles are safely backed up in the event of a disaster. TAPNET has performed several of these setups and configurations as well as restorations. If you ever have any questions do not hesitate to contact TAPNET for support. Online Backup Customers receive free support to ensure a proper backup is setup and running.