I’m Giving Carbonite a Try

11-10-2013 6-44-56 PM

If you have followed my blog, you know I have a large collection of pictures and videos that I manage using the Organizer of Photoshop Elements. And I use its Backup/Restore commands to back up my media and the Catalog itself. This has worked well for me over the years. I’ve even described my process in previous posts. Here is the link to one of those posts.


You can find other related posts by searching my blog using the “Search My Blog” text box located further down the page in the right hand column.

I also use an old program called Karen’s Replicator for periodically backing up my other important folders and files. It also has worked well for me.

A couple of weeks ago, the C Drive on my “business” computer (in contrast to my “photos/videos computer) went belly up. This computer contained the data I use in Outlook and Quicken. Because of the crash and my frequency of using the Replicator program, I lost about three days of not-too important data. For some reason when I restored the Outlook data, some data was missing. I think it was more my improperly using the Outlook restore steps rather than the quality of my Replicator backup.

But the whole episode got me thinking about my backup process and whatever vulnerability I have in this area. I decided to give Carbonite a try. I won’t really describe it here, but you can click on the link to find out more about it. Suffis it to say that it basically provides unlimited backup storage on the cloud for $60 a year for a single computer and its internal drives. For additional features and multiple computers, higher price options are available.

I started my initial backup of my photos computer yesterday, which will be about 450 Gb. If I did my math right, considering what has been backed up so far, it will probably take most of a month to complete. But after that, it will only take a few minutes a day to keep the backup current.

While it is doing the initial backup, I have not noticed any measurable slowing down of my computer. I continue my normal backup practices using Elements and Replicator, so I am not too concerned with the length of time the initial backup takes.

Reviews and a few friends that have been using Carbonite have been positive.  I do know that the company has been around for a significant length of time. I’ll keep you posted regarding how the initial backup is progressing.

Comment and let me know what your experience has been using Carbonite or a similar cloud-based product.

I Fried My Motherboard–Epilog

I titled this short post epilog, because I started this series with a prolog. Basically, I completed the recovery process from having my “important business” computer crash and burn. As a quick review, not only did I need to buy a new computer to replace it, but I took the opportunity to have the new PC be devoted to my photo/video editing activities at the same time. I converted my now older, which was for my photo/video work to handle less demanding tasks.

I did not lose any data, but it has just taken time to move everything around and install the programs I need on the new computer. I still have some housekeeping to do and some additional programs to install. This will continue for a while, but basically I am up and running normally, splitting my activities between the two computers as I had been doing prior to the crash.

Now it’s on to bigger and better things.

I Fried My PC’s Motherboard–Part 4

I believe I have moved/converted all of the Catalogs I need to for now.

For those of you who may be wondering why I have multiple Catalogs, don’t worry. For the vast majority of PSE users, one Catalog is quite sufficient. My situation and need for multiple Catalogs is unique and may very well not be the best way for me to handle my large collection of photos, videos, and audio files.

I have five prime Catalogs split between my two desktop computers, as well as a couple more on my laptop.

Here are the five relevant Catalogs that I’ve had to Restore and/or move as part of my recovery task. All of these now reside on my new PC I call PC3700. For clarity (mine) I will use  their actually names. Most of you have one Catalog and it is named My Catalog, which is great.

PSE 10 Beta Cat – This is my prime photo Catalog with about 34K photos/Videos

H264 Video PSE 10 – This is my prime video Catalog for HD video from my Canon 7D

Video Catalog 111 – Generally older videos from my camcorder and VHS tapes

Video Tutorials 1 – My video tutorials and those I’ve downloaded.

New Music Cat 2012 – My MP3 music collection

Keeping all of these straight as I’m converting, and moving their large number of files and folders from one PC to another or from a back-up external drive is proving to be quite a challenge.

On last bit of news to report. So far it has been no problem to install my Office 2010 Home Student edition on my new PC. I did call Microsoft Customer Service, but I don’t think they did much at their end. No nasty messages regarding too many installs, and I appear to be caught up on the latest security patches. Hopefully that will continue.

This whole process is taking time, because I need to do other things also. Right now my biggest problem is with Outlook email, which is only partially related to my computer crash.

Until next time, take care

Thanks for reading, and don’t hesitate to leave a comment.

I Fried My PC’s Motherboard–Part 2

One of the things I was somewhat worried about as I recover from my PC crash was re-installing my various Adobe products on my new PC, which I have named PC3700. For Photoshop Elements, Photoshop, and Premiere Elements, you are only allowed two installs.

I have multiple versions of these programs loaded on my three PCs to better support my classes and clients. Versions of all three programs were on my crashed PC, and I was at my limit for installs.

Adobe has a Activate/Deactivate process that works smoothly from the Help menu of each program. When you buy a new computer, you simply deactivate it on your old one, and then activate automatically on your new computer during the installation.

But obviously, I could not deactivate the programs from my old PC. You could call Adobe, but I chose to use their live Chat feature on the internet. Since I had all my serial numbers and had registered each program with them, there was no problem explaining what had happened and what I wanted to do. How they do it is essentially give you an extra install, so you can exceed the count for the moment at last.

The process is you temporarily deactivate, in my case the working copy on another PC, install the program on your new PC, and then reactivate the second PC to get back to the max number of two. They do this in such a way, that you cannot game it and get three valid installs.

All you do during the Chat is verify the serial numbers of the program and they set the special activation flags at their end. They do not know what the PC serial number or whatever unique code is being used.

By the way, registering your software and activating it are two separate activities. You need to do both. Also, it is extremely important to hang on to the installation CDs and the serial numbers of your programs.

It went pretty smooth, except we were almost down, and then they apparently had a technical problem and I was automatically shifted to a new agent. But we had to start the entire process all over. I was chatting with them for well over an hour to do this. Remember I had six serial numbers for three separate programs I needed to get validated. I suspect it would have taken about thirty minutes or so, if there had not been the problem.

I am going to have to do something similar with Microsoft for Office2010. I’m putting that off a bit.

I have not installed any of the affect programs yet on the new PC. I am still working to get my “business” PC set up to do those type of tasks, things like writing this blog post.

Today, I should begin to install my photo editing programs on my new PC. I’m anxious to see how it performs.

Stay tuned.

I Fried My PC’s Motherboard – Part 1

Actually this is my second post in this series, but I titled the first one as a prolog. When I found out my PC was toast, I decided to buy a new one. As I explained earlier, the broken PC was the one I used for normal non-photographic work. I generally have my newest and most powerful PC focused on the higher demand of photo and video editing.

So I bought a PC that is going to replace my current image/video processing PC.I bought it at the local store that diagnosed my burned PC.

Here are the basic specs of what I bought.It is by far the most powerful PC I have bought, which is not too surprising. However, it is the biggest jump in power I have made.

Basic CPU = i7-2600K/X4/3.4 Ghz

Memory = 16Gb (DDR3 PC 1333)

Solid State Drive = 128 Gb

Hard Drive = 1 Tb BLK


Blu-Ray DVD Burner

Windows 7 Pro 64-bit

Graphics Card = Nvidia 450GTS 2 Gb Memory

Rear USB Ports (There are 2 more USB 2.0 ports on the front panel)

8 USB 2.0

2 USB 3.0

My Hardware Installed from my fried PC

1394 interface Card

Old Drive K – Pretty Empty (1 Tb)

Old C Drive – Pretty Full (500 Gb)

The big differences are in the i7 chip, twice as much internal memory than my current image processing PC, the solid state drive, Blu-ray burner, and of course the graphics card. My current graphics card only has 512 Mb of memory.

I can’t wait to install Photoshop CS6, PSE 10, and PRE 10 to see how quickly and smoothly I can edit both images and video. But, first I have to get my older image processing PC configured to do the serious work of paying bills – I have a new one now. Smile

My next post will report on my basic plan and initial progress. One issue I need to address will be how to prove to Adobe and Microsoft that one of my valid installs is no more. There is I way to handle this, I’m sure. I just don’t know how to do it yet.

I Fried My PC – Now What? — Prolog

Yes, that appears to be what I did, because I had been negligent in taking the vacuum to the air vents. Although it was some time coming, it happened suddenly yesterday. Is that anyway to treat a father? I have two PCs that I pretty much use for separate functions. One is used for serious stuff like paying bills (Quicken), email, scheduling, and maintaining contacts (all with Outlook), and basic information management (One Note and Access). I also do all of my course development (Word and PowerPoint) and web-based activity on this PC (MS Live Writer). My other PC is primarily used for my digital photography and video projects and contains all of my media files. The two PCs share the same monitor, mouse and keyboard via KVM switch.

I have operated this way for years. When I buy a new PC, I generally move my digital/video work to it, and in turn use the former photo/video work PC to replace my oldest PC for doing the serious, yet less demanding work. It’s this practice that has giving me lots of practice over the years in moving my photos/video collection and my Photoshop Elements Catalog from time to time. As I have written before, I use the PSE Backup and the Restore commands to do this.

It was my “business” PC that failed yesterday. I believe it happened during a massive Microsoft Windows updating session. I am surprised it was done on a Sunday, but there were 17 Important updates done yesterday, and I have these updates done pretty much automatically. I had been on my other PC, and when I switched to the fried one, all it as doing was cycling on and off. Repeated tries at getting it to boot failed. All it would do is flash the power light to orange (green is the good color), flash the DVD light, and then turn off for a few seconds before starting the cycle over. A quick Google search basically resulted in the problem being the motherboard or the power supply.

This morning I took it to a local independent PC store (established in 1983) to have it diagnosed. They did not even power it up. As soon as they popped the case, you could see multiple capacitors on the motherboard had bulging end-caps that had ripped open. My motherboard was toast.

Before I left I ended up buying a very powerful PC, the type that serious gamers us, I suspect. I get it tomorrow. Which leads me to the title of this post. My plan, is to chronicle what I do to get back to my normal working environment over several parts in a similar manner as I did last year describing my workflow when I came back from a picture-packed trip to Scandinavia. By the way, again I did not lose much data, because I had backed up my key and not so key files early Saturday morning. More about that and my new PC in the next installment.