Backup

How to Back Up All Your Photos with Amazon’s Prime Photos

Millions of people are Amazon Prime subscribers, but many of them don’t realize that in addition to free shipping and Prime Instant Video, they also get unlimited photo storage for all their computers and mobile devices.

We’ve been encouraging people to get more out of their Amazon account by taking advantage of all the extra features—and unlimited photo storage is definitely a feature that Prime subscribers should take advantage of. Even if you already have a total PC backup system in place, or you’re taking advantage of another type of backup service for your photos like iCloud, we’d still encourage you to take advantage of Prime Photo storage—after all, you’ve already paid for it, and you can never have your irreplaceable photos backed up in too many places.

Thanks to a combination of manual upload through the Prime Photos site, the Amazon Drive + Photos app for Windows and Mac computers, and mobile apps for iOS and Android, it’s absolutely trivial to get your photos into Prime Photo and keep them up to date. Let’s take a look at each method, starting with the no-software-needed manual way.

Manual Upload: Drag, Drop, and Done

Manual upload is a great place to start, because to get there, you have to log into our Amazon Prime Photos control panel and become familiar with the service. To do so, simply visit amazon.com/photos and log in with your Amazon credentials.

If this is your first time every using the service, you’ll see a blank slate like the one seen below.

You can select the “Upload Photos” button to use your operating system’s file explore to select photos or, more conveniently, simply drag and drop photos right onto the browser pane.

Either way, you’ll see an upload meter in the lower left corner. Once it wraps up, you’re free to browse your photos.

In addition to the noting the upload is complete, also note the “People” tag in the sidebar, as well as the “Things” tags above it. Amazon’s Photo service has improved significantly since their clunky offerings in years past, now with sophisticated face recognition and the ability to recognize object patterns in photos. Thanks to the automatically generated tags, you can easily search for combinations of tags—like checking the tag for your kid in the “People” category and “Lawn” to show just photos of him outside in the yard or on the soccer field.

Be prepared to be shocked at how uncannily accurate the recognition algorithms are. In a series of photos we uploaded of some neighborhood dogs at play, the algorithm tagged all dog photos as “Dog”, including photos of puppies as “Puppy”.

The Desktop App: Because Nobody’s Drag ‘n Dropping 40,000 Photos

If you have a lot of photos to upload and you’re not interested in the hassle of manually uploading them, the desktop app is the path to happiness for you. The app also allows you convert the names of the folders into album names, which is especially handy.

Visit the Prime Photos splash page and download the appropriate version for your operating system. Run the app to install it and then log into your Amazon account.

After signing in, you’ll be prompted to confirm which folder you wish to use as the syncing folder. By default the app creates a brand new folder in your user directory called “Amazon Drive” as seen below. We recommend you leave this as the default for now. This will give you an opportunity to play around with the file syncing by adding a few folders to the directory before you unleash the syncing process and all your photos at once. (It’s far better to find out with a sample directory or two, for example, that your naming structure isn’t going to be…

ITW 2017: Webair Offers Some Advice on Ransomware Protection

Computer crash

Chicago ITW 2017: Sagi Brody, Webair’s CTO is hoping that the recent wannacry ransomware attack brings to light the importance of disaster recovery. After all, disaster recovery is in Webair’s domain. The company has created a Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) offering aimed at helping businesses instantly recover from most any IT related problem. “The difference in our offering is that we allow our customers to recover individual applications, instead of forcing them into an all or nothing approach” said Brody. For today’s enterprises, that is a critical difference, especially since disasters come in all shapes and sizes.

Take for example last week’s wannacry attack, which rapidly spread and held companies for ransom, at least as far as access to their data was concerned. As a windows centric attack, not all infected sites had all applications impacted. “With an all or nothing approach, those impacted would have…

How to Manually Back Up Your Steam Game Files

Steam has a built-in system for making a backup of its game files, so you don’t have to re-download a full game every time you uninstall it and want to play again later. But like a lot of Steam’s features, it hasn’t been updated in quite a while, and frankly it often manages to break the game restoration process anyway. On top of that, it’s slow, it’s clunky, and you can do better on your own.

Manually copying the files out of Steam’s game folder, then copying them back when you’re ready to play again, is much faster and more reliable. Steam’s caching system means that doing it yourself has no disadvantage versus the program’s integrated tool. If you’d like to back up your game files separately, especially to an external drive for archiving a large, 100GB+ collection or saving space on your primary system backup, here’s how to do it the easy way.

Step One: Find the Game Files

Find your standard Steam game installation folder. By default in Windows, this is located in:

C:/Program Files (x86)/Steam/steamapps/common

In macOS, open the Finder and choose Go > Go to Folder from the menu bar, entering this path:

~Library/Application Support/Steam/SteamApps/common

And in Linux-based operating systems, it’s in the following your local user directory:

~/.local/share/Steam/steamapps/common

This folder is divided into sub-folders, one for each game installed under Steam’s master game list. Most of them share the same name as their respective game, but some use alternate titles or abbreviations—for example, Age of Empires II HD Edition is shortened to “Age2HD.”

Remember, if you’ve set a custom game folder in Steam, your games will be installed elsewhere.

Step Two: Back Up the Games

To back up the games in the Steam common folder, just copy and paste them into another folder.

That’s it. Really, it’s that simple. Ideally, you want…

How to Encrypt Your Mac’s Time Machine Backup

You encrypt your Mac’s system drive like you should: if your computer is stolen, your data is safe from prying eyes. But on your desk, right next to your Mac, is a carbon copy of everything on your hard drive: your Time Machine backup. Wouldn’t anyone who grabbed that drive have access to all the same information?

Yes they would, which is why it’s important to encrypt your Time Machine drive. There are two ways to do this, and both are relatively straightforward. You can retroactively encrypt your existing Time Machine backup, which allows you to keep your old backups. The downside: this retroactive encryption can take a long time, which is why you might want to simply create an encrypted partition using Disk Utility and back up to that. Let’s go over both options.

The Slow, But Non-Destructive Option: Encrypt Your Current Backups

If you have Time Machine set up on your Mac already, you can encrypt your drive retroactively. The process is going to take a while—for a one terabyte mechanical drive, the process could take more than 24 straight hours—but you can start and stop the process as many times as you like.

Head to System Preferences > Time Machine, then click “Select Disk.”

Select your current backup drive, then click “Remove Disk.”

Yes, we have to remove the drive before we can start encrypting, but don’t worry: your backups will remain on the drive. Click the “Select Backup Disk” button.

Click your old Time Machine drive in the list of options, then check the “Encrypt backups” option.

Five Things You Should Do Before Selling Your Android Phone

Selling your old phone should be a simple, straightforward process. And really, for the most part, it is—if you know all the proper steps. If you don’t, fret not—we’ve got you covered.

You may already know that you’ll need to factory reset the phone, but that’s actually the last thing you should do before selling. There are a handful of things that you’ll need to do first, most of which can’t be done after the fact, so it’s important to get them done before the reset. Let’s dig in.

Step One: Back Up, Back Up, Back Up

First, you’re going to want to back up all of your important data. That means pictures and videos, documents and downloads, even call logs and texts if that stuff is important to you. Fortunately, there are fairly easy ways to do all of this.

If you’re looking to back up all of your photos and videos, you should most definitely be using Google Photos, which automatically backs up everything to your Google account. You can then access all of this stuff on the web. It’s worth noting that it doesn’t back everything up in its original resolution unless you pay for a premium plan—it uses a sort of “smart” compression algorithm to keep the backed up files looking as good as possible (and it does an excellent job). The only exception to this rule is the Google Pixel, which gets unlimited backups at original resolution for free.

We already have an excellent primer on getting up and running with Google Photos, so I recommend checking that out. The only other thing worth mentioning here is that very large videos may have a hard time uploading to photos, so you may want to pull those manually using a USB cable.

The same goes for documents and downloads—if you have important files saved to your phone, you can plug your phone up to the computer and pull the files over USB to store them on your computer. Alternatively, you can also upload these files to Google Drive, Dropbox, or any other cloud storage platform you use. This way, you have access to all these files regardless of what platform you’re on.

Lastly, let’s talk about call logs and text messages. Some users want to keep this stuff for future reference, which is fine. There are actually a number of options…

How to Use All of Windows 10’s Backup and Recovery Tools

Windows 10 includes several different types of backup and recovery tools. And we’re going to take a look at all of them.

Sometimes, bad things happen to good computers. Fortunately, Windows includes a number of tools you can use to make sure your files are properly backed up and to recover your computer should you need to. On the backup side of things, File History is the primary backup tool in Windows 8 and 10. It offers not just full backups, but also a way to restore previous versions of files. Microsoft also includes the old Windows 7 Backup and Restore in both Windows 8 and 10 and it works the same way it always has, allowing you to perform selective or even full image-based backups. And while it’s not really a true backup solution, the inclusion of OneDrive does let you build a little redundancy into your file storage.

On the Recovery side of things, Windows offers a full recovery environment you can use for troubleshooting and recovery, as well as the ability to fully reset your PC to it’s default settings. Here’s how it all fits together.

Back Up and Protect Your Windows 10 PC the Easy Way

Windows 10 includes a number of backup and recovery tools for free, but the reality is that they aren’t anywhere near as good as commercial solutions. Carbonite automatically backs up all of your files, photos, and documents and stores them encrypted in the cloud.

Not only do you get cheap unlimited cloud backup, but you can also use Carbonite to backup your PC to a local hard drive. And you get versioning, deleted file protection, mobile apps so you can access your files from any device, and a whole lot more.

And for a limited time, How-To Geek readers get 2 free bonus months.

Built-In Backup Tools in Windows

You’ve heard the advice a million times, but it’s still surprising how many people don’t take the time to make sure their files are adequately backed up. We’ve covered all kinds of ways to make sure that your computer is backed up and we’ve even talked about what files you should be backing up. The good news is Windows itself provides some pretty solid tools to get the job done. Just remember, it’s not only about backing up to an external hard drive. You also should be creating offsite backups—or at the very least, storing a copy of your backups in a different location.

File History

File History was first introduced in Windows 8 and continues to be the primary built-in backup solution in Windows 10. File History doesn’t create a full backup of your entire PC. Rather, it focuses on making sure that your personal files are backed up. You set up File History to back up all your files to an external drive and then you really can just let it do its job. It not only regularly backs up files, it also retains previous versions of files that you can easily restore.

By default, File History backs up important folders in your user folder—stuff like Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, Videos, and parts of the AppData folder. You can exclude folders you don’t want backed up and add folders from elsewhere on your PC that you do want backed up.

When you need to recover files, you can browse through the whole collection of backed up files and folders.

Or you can restore previous versions of files from right within File Explorer.

File History gives you a pretty reliable way to make sure your personal files are regularly backed up. Make sure you check out our full guide to using File History for instructions on setting it up and using it.

Backup and Restore (Windows 7)

Microsoft also kept the old Backup and Restore feature from Windows 7 around. It was available in Windows 8, removed in Windows 8.1, and is back in Windows 10. The Backup and Restore (Windows 7) tool allows you to restore any of your old Windows 7 backups onto your Windows 10 computer—likely why the tool is still around—but you can also use it to back up your Windows 10 PC in the exact same way you’d back up a Windows 7 PC.

Unlike the newer File History backup solution, you can use Backup and Restore to more easily create a backup of practically everything on your hard drive. However, it also does not feature File History’s ability to maintain older versions of your files.

You can find the tool by hitting Start, typing “backup,” and then selecting “Backup and Restore (Windows 7).”

Setting up the backup is pretty straightforward. You’ll choose an external drive (or network location), pick the folders you want to backup, and set a schedule. After that, everything’s automatic. Do be sure to check…