Lay up your treasures in “the cloud”

As many of you prepare to leave campus for the summer, this is as good a time as ever to consider backing up your files. Geographic diversity – keeping files in multiple physical places –  is a very good idea for your most important files as protection against hard drive failures and natural disasters.  One way to do this is to copy files to a USB drive and take it home (or, for your home files – keep a copy in a locked drawer at work).  Our network drives (H, O, etc) are backed up to tape.  But another way is to back up to “the cloud,” as many people refer to internet-based storage services like Google Docs and Windows Skydrive.  Here’s how:

Make a zipped archive of your documents

Windows XP, Windows 7, and MacOS X allow you to easily combine multiple files and folders into a single zipped archive file.  This single file can then be uploaded to Google Docs (if it is not too large) for disaster-resistant archiving.

Here’s how: Open the folder that contains your files.  On Windows XP, your My Documents folder is located under My Computer and navigate to C:\Documents and Settings\[YourUserName]\My Documents.  On the Mac and under Windows 7, the folder is on your hard drive under Users\[YourUserName]\Documents.

Select the documents (say, all of the items in your My Documents folder) by opening the folder and pressing Control-A or choosing Edit…Select All.   If you only wish to archive some of the files, instead of choosing Select All, hold down the Control key (Mac users:  Command key) on your keyboard and click the individual files you wish to archive. While they are selected, right-click (Mac users: control-click) on one of the selected files and choose Send to…. and select Compressed (zipped) folder. On the Mac, choose Compress (x) items…

This will create an archive file with the extension “.zip” and should have a folder icon with a zipper on it. The name of the file will correspond to the first file you selected; you may wish to rename it now by right-clicking  on the file and choosing Rename (Mac users: click on the name to highlight the filename and type a new name).

Now, check the size of this file by right-clicking on the file and choosing Properties (Mac users: control-click and choose Get Info).  Each Google Apps user has a quota of 1 GB (approximately 1000 MB) of storage allocated.  To upload to Google Docs:

1. Open your Augie Google Apps e-mail.
2. Click on Documents at the top of the screen
3. On the left side, Choose Upload then Files…
4. Locate and select the .zip file you created.
5. Click Start Upload.

Your archive now resides in “the cloud” – about as  safe as they can be from risks like hardware failures, fires, tornadoes, etc…

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