Silly question, but not to me.

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Silly question, but not to me.

Postby Ice.Maiden » 26 Jul 2013, 17:46

I want to paint the wall in front of me in a different colour, which means moving furniture.

My question is - will I lose anything on the computer if everything's switched off and unplugged? :shock:
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Re: Silly question, but not to me.

Postby Yogi » 26 Jul 2013, 23:48

Save any documents that you might be working on.
Close each program that you have running; browsers, e-mail, and the like.
Then shut down the computer gracefully, i.e., use the START button in the lower left corner of your desktop to shut down the system. (I know that sounds crazy, but that's Microsoft for you)
After that, it is safe to unplug your computer and do whatever you need to do with the wires. You should not lose anything that you have already saved.
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Re: Silly question, but not to me.

Postby Kellemora » 27 Jul 2013, 08:20

Maybe I should move to where you are Icey?
Where I live, our electric goes out so often, we call our supplier Strobo-Power.
You should be backing up your data also. Hard Drives fail all too often these days.
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Re: Silly question, but not to me.

Postby Ice.Maiden » 27 Jul 2013, 17:19

Thank you.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure how to "save" stuff. Do you mean on a memory stick thing? : (

Sorry to ask these feeble questions. Sons are on holiday with their grandparents, OH not here, no techie help available atm apart from on here - so stuck for knowing what to do.
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Re: Silly question, but not to me.

Postby Yogi » 27 Jul 2013, 19:21

Saving to a memory stick is a good backup practice, but that's not what I meant.

Simply closing a program will have you save any work that might be in progress. If, for example, you were typing out a recipe on a word processor, then when you shut down the word processor it will ask you if you want to save your half-written recipe, or not. Save it, of course. It all goes to your hard drive under normal circumstances.

Then again, if you do not have any documents to save, no worries. Just stop the programs you have running and shut down the computer. Nothing will be lost.
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Re: Silly question, but not to me.

Postby Ice.Maiden » 27 Jul 2013, 20:31

Tyvm.
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Re: Silly question, but not to me.

Postby Kellemora » 28 Jul 2013, 10:39

Hi Icey

A memory stick is not a reliable thing to use as a backup.
It is great for moving data from place to place, or carrying data with you.
But they can only be written to so many times.
I forget the terminology, but my SSD can only be written to 10,000 times per something.
So I use it only to hold read only programs, and things with few changes.

Nevertheless, you shouldn't trust your on-board hard drive. It is an electro/mechanical device with hundreds of ways to fail.
So, you should backup your data to another electro/mechanical device with hundreds of ways to fail, hi hi.....

As an aside, I didn't realize this until we moved a bookcase. The frau's external drive, she has not accessed since we got the NAS, was hiding behind the bookcase. I would have said happily spinning its platters. However, it has a built-in idle mode. It was cool when I touched it, so assumed it had fried long ago. It was listed in her windows explorer, I clicked on it, and it came up and I could access everything on it. Then I got to thinking, where did I put its companion. I always buy things like that in two's for redundant backup. Which was my cue of where to look. I found its mate. In the bottom computer area slot in my desk. It was still powered up, but not connected to a computer. If you ever saw my office, you would know why, hi hi.

The reason they were idle, not being used anymore, is these were the HD's that came with a backup program that only saved the links back to the original hard drive. So when it failed, we had no backups. The frau lost tons of valuable data, mostly photos she had taken over the years. After that loss, I had her doing manual backups to it. Then we got the NAS and we forgot about the externals. I have since finding them, backed up her data, then mirrored it to the drive in the office. I don't trust the NAS any further than I can throw it.

TTUL
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Re: Silly question, but not to me.

Postby Ice.Maiden » 28 Jul 2013, 10:59

Thank you Gary. I know nothing about external hard drives, blah blah. Memory sticks - got loads of them which're never used, so I just thought .......

Then again, I could always fore-go the painting!! : )
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Re: Silly question, but not to me.

Postby Yogi » 28 Jul 2013, 14:31

I know you are the kind of woman who still hand writes scripted letters to your friends and relatives, then mails them via the general post. I don't think you would be inclined to replace all that tradition with digital technology, and thus I can't see you having much need to back up your computer files to anything. You simply don't use that media. I think all you have to do is shut off your computer properly and you are done. Don't pull the power cord until the computer has shut down completely - that would be the only precaution you need to take.

Gary has the right idea, if you generate as much digital information as he does. You can never have too much redundancy and back-up plans. But if you have nothing to back up, what's the point? :grin:
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Re: Silly question, but not to me.

Postby Ice.Maiden » 28 Jul 2013, 18:01

:lol: LOL - I'm a "sad case" aren't I?

To be honest, I wouldn't send hand-written letters if it wasn't for the fact that I receive some like it, and it seems ill-mannered not to take the time to reply in the same way, wearisome as I find it! I sometimes type out a reply, but despite all of today's technology, there's nothing quite like receiving a hand-written something through the post, and so I reciprocate, and, to weird expressions I get from the children, I make THEM send personal replies as well, especially on "thank you" cards. It's just an old-fashioned courtesy which I like to see.

No, I don't really have much to back up on this computer. I don't have anything of great importance on it, or do internet banking, etc., so if I DID lose everything, I could put it all back, but it'd take time. I was just worried that if I unplugged everything, it'd mean the lot'd pop off and then I'd have the long-winded task to do. :oops:

HOW patient are you with me??? :roll:

Thank you! :P
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Re: Silly question, but not to me.

Postby Kellemora » 29 Jul 2013, 13:26

Hi Icey
Yogi is right, as always!
If you use web-mail, in lieu of e-mail, and don't download it into your computer. Unless the service you use fails, it will all be there, regardless of what computer you connect to them from.
I was thinking along the line of digital photographs you may have on your computer, and documents you may have written.
Any DATA you generate, you should save, if it is valuable to you. Especially photo's.
Since you have access to so many SD cards, you could use them for temporary backups.
If you can burn a CD, they work great for storing your pictures on.

Since I run businesses, I must keep all of my data safe, at least until the info expires.
For me, this means all correspondence with vendors and customers. Contracts and Agreements, etc.
Plus all of my legal and tax data.
And of course, every little scrap of data I've done concerning any project, many of which eventually made it to market.
As a writer, I have each draft, revision, edit and proof of everything I've ever done. Since the floods.
So yes, backups are an absolute must for me. My life depends on them!

TTUL
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Re: Silly question, but not to me.

Postby Ice.Maiden » 29 Jul 2013, 14:22

SD cards? Burn a CD?? I feel faint. :shock:

I DO have some photos, but not many. If they disappeared, it wouldn't matter because I have copies anyway. Business stuff's alright as well. I have copies of everything and important stuff's not done from this computer. The only thing which I've saved to desktop which I wouldn't want to lose, is something which Glenn sent me, but I have copies of that as well.

I wasn't worried about losing anything of huge importance. All that's safely stored away. It was just the thought of everything going, and having to get it all back up again. :whistle:
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Re: Silly question, but not to me.

Postby Yogi » 29 Jul 2013, 23:59

I can't stand it ... I have to get technical now. LOL And I apologize in advance to Icey.

Your programs and all the inner workings of your computer software are saved more or less automatically to your hard drive which is a non-volatile memory. That means once it is saved there, it's not going to disappear unless you make a deliberate effort to erase it. The non-volatile memory on your hard drive is made up of magnets (to simplify it). So, unless you go and change it on purpose, it will stay there forever (plus or minus a few years). Removing the power from the computer doesn't change the magnetic fields on the hard disk, so everything there is safe. Once you "save" it, it's there until the disk breaks. And that's where backups come into play.

:mrgreen:
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Re: Silly question, but not to me.

Postby Ice.Maiden » 30 Jul 2013, 06:57

Phew! That wasn't too bad, thank you. At least I get the gist! :P
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Re: Silly question, but not to me.

Postby Kellemora » 30 Jul 2013, 12:26

You can even recover from a corrupt MBR!
It's those pointers that have me worried, hi hi.....
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Re: Silly question, but not to me.

Postby Ice.Maiden » 30 Jul 2013, 12:35

Excuse me ... :oops: ... what's an MBR?

Pointers??? :???:

Oh I'm SO glad I don't understand! :dance:
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Re: Silly question, but not to me.

Postby Yogi » 31 Jul 2013, 06:49

MBR's are not so hard to recover; dealing with the BCD could be a problem.
The only "pointers" I know of are the Pointer Sisters, ca 1970.
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Re: Silly question, but not to me.

Postby Ice.Maiden » 31 Jul 2013, 08:40

[ img ]


The only "pointers" I know of are the Pointer Sisters, ca 1970.


:lol:
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Re: Silly question, but not to me.

Postby Kellemora » 31 Jul 2013, 12:37

Pointers, at one time called a FAT Table. A file that points to each piece of your document, directing the heads to retrieve them from the hard drive. I don't know the technical name they use for this now. FAT was File Allocation Table.

The simplest way I know to explain how your files are stored is with the following. It is not entirely accurate, but gives you the general drift of how it works.

Windows NTFS file system works like a string of beads. Each time you edit a document, the changes get stuck on the end of the string. If you have 5 documents you loaded back to back, they would appear on the HD in locations A,B,C,D,&E.
If you select document B to edit, when you save the changes, the original document would still be at B and the changes will appear in location D. You add something else and it is stored at F. You open C and edit it, when you save, it gets stored at G. You edit B again, and to open B it has to get the main document from B and the last change from location D. You do a little editing and save your work, the changes are now in location H. The next time you open B, it has to open B, D and H.
A MAP keeps track of all these little spaces being used to store the same documents.
This string of beads method is why on Windows computers you have to DEFRAG, to put all of your document back in the same place again.

Linux uses several file systems, the most common is the EXT file system. It is like pigeonholes, similar to a sorting box at the post office. A document is stored in a pigeon hole, and when edited, the changes go right back into the same pigeonhole. Only if your document becomes so large, that it will not fit into it's pigeonhole, is a second pigeonhole used, or a third. Files you access most often, or saved at eye level, and files you rarely use end up along the top row of the sorting cabinet. This makes retrieval of a document much faster, and since the files are not scattered in little pieces, like on Windows, you do not have to Defrag Linux drives.

To appease Yogi, hi hi
A hard disk is divided up into tracks, sectors and clusters. A sector contains a fixed number of bytes.
Each of these locations has an address, the map of your hard drive is contained in the file allocation tables.
When you search through the map, usually displayed as a tree, it shows the name of your file, but not where all the pieces are. When you click on the file name, a POINTER in the FAT table, will POINT TO the sector that file is stored. If it is Fragmented, the POINTER will point to the next sector, some or the rest of your file is located.

Or more precisely: A file is broken down and distributed across many small sectors. To retrieve your file, the correct sectors must be called up and read to rebuild the file from its many little parts.
The FAT table stores the information about which clusters are needed for each file, and in what order.
When you request a file, the POINTER moves to the first address in the file allocation table, retrieves that data, then the POINTER moves down the list of address for each data location, until it has retrieved all the bytes to rebuild the file and send it to the computer.
Then the whatchamacallit moves the thingamajiggy around collecting all these pieces of data from the Platters as instructed by the MAP and its POINTER to the address it is currently working on.
It does this tirelessly until it overheats, or the heads crash, or the little motor pumps its guts out and dies.
This is when you go retrieve the data from your backup system.

TTUL
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Re: Silly question, but not to me.

Postby Ice.Maiden » 31 Jul 2013, 15:27

I've gone completely vacant reading that. Jokes aside, I think my question's been answered, tyvm, so I'll leave you gentlemen to discuss the finer points of technology. : )
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