User finds Win­dows backup pro­gram off by de­fault af­ter files dis­ap­pear

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - BUSINESS & FARM - BOB AND JOY SCHWABACH

Joy tried to clear up Bob’s startup screen by drag­ging half the stuff into Win­dows’ Doc­u­ments folder. It turned out to be a van­ish­ing act.

Gone was his story about At­lantis and a cou­ple of de­tec­tive ac­tion pieces. And do­ing a global search to find them found noth­ing. Joy was a wee bit up­set. She was only try­ing to help Bob back up his files. She even used the “copy,” com­mand in­stead of “move,” which should have pre­vented such losses, but it didn’t. The uni­verse is a strange place.

She used Win­dows 10’s backup tool called File His­tory. Af­ter all, it’s there. But it has to be turned on. You’d think it would be on by de­fault when you started up Win­dows, but no. We were as­sured that any changes we made to a doc­u­ment would still be there, even if the doc­u­ment was de­stroyed or lost.

Should you want to take this trip your­self, here’s the ticket: To use the built-in backup, type “File His­tory” into the search box in Win­dows 10. Then choose “More Op­tions.” Now choose how of­ten the backup should oc­cur. (We chose ev­ery 10 min­utes.) Next we looked at the list of stuff to be au­to­mat­i­cally backed up. The only folder on the list we cared about was “Doc­u­ments.” So we unchecked “Mu­sic,” “Links” and oth­ers to skip. The backup takes place zip quick and only cov­ers the stuff we care about. If you don’t uncheck stuff to skip the backup takes a long time.

To re­cover a doc­u­ment, re­peat the File His­tory steps and scroll to the bot­tom of the screen where it says “re­store files from a cur­rent backup.” Click the file you want and click the big green ar­row. It restores the item to its orig­i­nal lo­ca­tion. We tested this by delet­ing a file we didn’t care about and then re­cov­er­ing it. That’s where many backup pro­grams go wrong, so it’s im­por­tant to make a test of the re­cov­ery fea­ture — make up some non­sense file to use as a test. If all goes well, then … all is well.


A reader writes that he never could get used to bi­fo­cals so he turned to com­puter glasses for read­ing his com­puter screen. These are a step down from his reg­u­lar pre­scrip­tion. That’s what Joy uses too.

A doc­tor might not think to pre­scribe com­puter glasses un­less you ask for them. Joy’s tri-fo­cal lenses sup­pos­edly had a sweet spot in the mid­dle for com­puter work, but they were way off. She has to tilt her head back to get the right an­gle, and read­ing was tough too. Some­one (was it Bob?) stepped on her ded­i­cated pair of com­puter glasses so we or­dered a new one on­line and they’re in­cred­i­ble. She prefers them for read­ing too.

The reader says his com­puter glasses were rec­om­mended by an eye sur­geon. “Re­ally amaz­ing,” he writes. “They’re

made to fo­cus in the two-foot range.”


■ “Ev­ery Net­flix Orig­i­nal, Ranked.” Search on that term to read a de­scrip­tion of all 38 of Net­flix’s orig­i­nal se­ries. We did this and it re­minded us why we dumped al­most all of them.

■ “The Win­ners of the Great­est Pho­to­shop Bat­tles Ever.” Search on that phrase to find doc­tored pho­tos, such as a man ice skat­ing with a sloth, and a bear stop­ping by to de­liver re­li­gious pam­phlets. He was well dressed.


■ One of the great hor­ror writers of all time, Edgar Al­lan Poe, has his own app. It’s

called iPoe, and it’s $2 for the iPad, iPhone or An­droid de­vice. It adds creepy mu­sic, an­i­ma­tions and haunt­ing pic­tures. Not real scary.

■ Toca Lab: Plants from Toca Boca is a $3 app for An­droid, Kin­dle and iPad/iPhone. The maker says chil­dren love it; bored the be­jeezus out of us. You start with a car­toon plant and ex­per­i­ment your way to 35 dif­fer­ent plant classes.


Cre­at­ing a Mi­crosoft Word doc­u­ment on your phone might feel like an ex­er­cise in self-in­flicted pain, since the screen is so tiny. Typ­ing is tough, but dic­ta­tion is eas­ier, us­ing the free Word app for An­droid and iPhone/iPad/iPod.

On an iPhone or An­droid phone, sign in to your Mi­crosoft ac­count. If you don’t have one, go to and cre­ate one; it’s free. Then start a new doc­u­ment. When you click in­side it, a key­board comes up with a tiny mi­cro­phone. Tap it to dic­tate. Click the top of the doc­u­ment to re­veal the “Save” com­mand. Your doc­u­ment is au­to­mat­i­cally saved to the cloud. You can find it again at


The abil­ity to zip a file to save stor­age space goes back to the ear­li­est days of Win­dows. In fact, the WinZip pro­gram is now out in ver­sion 21 for $30. But why pay $30 when you could use the free pro­gram


Well, the an­swer to that de­pends on how much free cash you have and how many fea­tures you want. WinZip 21 has a lot of ex­tra fea­tures. For ex­am­ple, you can en­crypt a file, so it takes a pass­word to open it. If it’s an im­age, you can add a wa­ter­mark, so no one can copy it with­out re­veal­ing his thiev­ery. You can click to zip and email the file, send it in a text mes­sage, or save it to your pri­vate space on the web.


The three best cities for com­puter gamers are Seat­tle; Or­lando, Fla.; and Austin, Texas, ac­cord­ing to a Wal­letHub. com report. But some cities score higher on other vari­ables.

■ Las Vegas has the most video-game stores per per­son, Mem­phis the fewest.

■ Pitts­burgh has the high­est av­er­age down­load speed, around 15 megabits per sec­ond, three times faster than Honolulu, the slow­est.

■Gilbert, Ariz., has the high­est share of house­holds with a broad­band con­nec­tion, 94 per­cent, al­most twice as high as Detroit.

■ Durham, N.C., has the cheap­est monthly In­ter­net cost, $40, two and a half times cheaper than An­chor­age, Alaska, where the cost is more than $100 a month.

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