Tuesday, 17 September 2013

The saga of a personal cloud. A steep learning curve.

It all started with a cloud.   No, I am not sitting  'up there' on a cloud. What I mean is the new type of cloud where you can store all your files somewhere in cyberspace. Actually,  all I wanted was some extra storage for my expanding files. USB memory sticks are fine but they soon fill up, even with the larger ones.
An external drive was what I needed. One Sunday some months ago we sallied forth to look what was on offer. In one major store I was directed to a display with a lot of Cd's hanging from a hook. It turned out that all they had to offer was a 'cloud'. And a cloud tied to the organisation no less. NOT what I was after.
After some thought and Internet searches, we sallied forth again one fine day to another store in town. Yes, they had an external drive and this one had its own personal cloud. I was really taken with this idea. I could access my files from anywhere. Handy for the Net book if I was out and about. With a Back Up folder, a Personal Folder - both only accessible by yours truly - and a Public Folder for sharing this seemed to fit the bill.. Into the bag it went.
Installation was easy and another programme backed up my files automatically. Then I found when on holiday that my Net book needed the ports to be opened as I couldn't get into the files.
Back home, I followed all the instructions and gave myself a pat on the back. Recently, I have had a new Net book which, joy of joys, sorted out the ports itself. 
We did find it annoying that the desktop computer always had some activity. We found that the backing up software operated constantly unless the schedule was altered. Then a few weeks ago some of the drive icons went off radar so drag and drop this was was out of the question. An error code also appeared.
At this point I should mention that I am still running on XP which was the reason for the need for an external hard drive. Support is being withdrawn after next April. I need to back up the C Drive so that I can wipe and upgrade. I should also mention that I have a fine selection of memory sticks for different categories of files. I needed to back up the software programmes which I had downloaded over time and other files.
Well, I had some support from the manufacturer's support services who gave advice and guidance and some links for updates.  I updated the drivers as advised. Oops! Some were quite old. After repeatedly uninstalling and re-installing and only the Public Folder icon showing in Explorer, I eventually started to back up manually with drag and drop but I found this unsatisfactory for a major back-up as not all files appeared. 
After another uninstall and re-install I found that the back up was going into the Public folder!!
I found how to map the network drive to restore the lost drive icons. Now this is getting very technical. Time is better spent on writing.
Out it all came. I wiped the drives of all data and currently am deciding whether to have another go or to cut my losses and by something much simpler. A basic external drive. 
Do I need to be up on a cloud anyway? I think not. Just a fad, the latest toy!

After a huge computer maintenance today and cleaning the registry etc., I might try one more time. Just to back up the C Drive. The thing is, I could go to the computer shop to get OS upgraded and they would back up the hard drive but there is so much on that I don't want to leave the study.

Well, it is all part of the dolly mixture of life's learning process. Hey ho!

Rosalie x

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