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Tidy up your tech: Spring-cleaning tips for safeguarding your data

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Tidy up your tech: Spring-cleaning tips for safeguarding your data

It happens without warning. Suddenly, access to your personal data gets interrupted by a simple hardware failure, nasty virus, cyberattack, software glitch, accidental deletion or human mistake. It’s clearer than ever that our personal data is vulnerable.

As an advocate for privacy and security, and the editor behind the popular CyberGuy Report, which you can subscribe to for free at CyberGuy.com/newsletter, I have always emphasized the importance of personal responsibility when it comes to data security. My top recommendation for protecting your precious memories, critical documents and the mountains of personal data we accumulate is straightforward: utilize a personal drive for backups.

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Woman on laptop (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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Choosing the right backup tools

Spring is traditionally a time for cleaning, and this should extend to digital hygiene as well. Each year, I undertake a thorough cleaning of my personal data, making sure to back up documents, family photos and other irreplaceable items. There’s nothing quite like the peace of mind that comes from having a physical backup, which places control firmly in your hands, irrespective of whether you use a Mac, PC or even a Chromebook.

Tidy up your tech: Spring-cleaning tips for safeguarding your data

Man on a laptop (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

MORE: BEST LAPTOPS FOR 2024

Recommended backup solutions

One of my favorite tools for this task is the WD Portable Drive, which offers 2 terabytes of storage. It easily connects to your device via SuperSpeed USB 3.0, ensuring quick and efficient data transfer and is fully compatible with Chromebook. A reliable drive like this is a must-have; I use another similar WD model for my MacBook and PC.

Tidy up your tech: Spring-cleaning tips for safeguarding your data

WD portable drive (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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Back up, unplug, store your portable drive in a secure place

In addition to regular ongoing backups either on the cloud or another drive, I use this WD drive that plugs into your Mac, PC or Chromebook as an extra copy of my important data that can be disconnected and kept in a safe place away from hackers and other threats.

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Tidy up your tech: Spring-cleaning tips for safeguarding your data

Man typing on laptop (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

MORE: 10 TIPS TO SPEED UP YOUR PC’S PERFORMANCE

What to back up: A digital checklist

When deciding what to back up from your computer, it’s crucial to prioritize documents, files and memories that are important and irreplaceable. Here’s a comprehensive list to consider.

1) Personal documents: Include items like birth certificates, passports, social security cards, marriage certificates, wills and other legal documents that could be difficult or time-consuming to replace.

2) Financial records: This category should cover bank statements, tax returns, investment records and other financial documents that are essential for personal record-keeping and legal compliance.

3) Photos and videos: Family photos, vacation videos, special events like weddings or graduations and other personal memories that cannot be recreated.

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4) Work and educational documents: If you use your computer for work or school, ensure you back up important projects, research papers, presentations and related correspondence.

5) Emails: Some emails might contain important information, agreements or attachments that you may need to refer back to. Consider backing up important emails or archiving them.

6) Contacts: A backup of your digital address book can save you a lot of trouble in case you lose access to your devices.

7) Music and media collections: For those who collect music, movies and books digitally, backing up these files ensures you don’t lose your collection.

8) Software and app data: Back up settings and data for apps that you use frequently, especially if they help manage your schedule, finances or health.

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9) Website bookmarks: If you rely on bookmarks to navigate the internet efficiently, backing them up can save time if you need to restore or switch to a new device.

10) Game saves and profiles: If you’re a gamer, backing up your game saves and profiles can prevent loss of progress in case of system failure.

11) Creative works: Include writings, artwork, design files, coding projects or any other personal or professional creative work.

The reality of digital threats, whether from ransomware attacks, viruses or even technical glitches in the cloud, is not a matter of “if” but “when.” By maintaining a physical backup of your most crucial data, you ensure that in the event of a digital catastrophe, what matters most remains safe in your hands.

Tidy up your tech: Spring-cleaning tips for safeguarding your data

Woman on phone and laptop (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

Kurt’s key takeaways

Remember, safeguarding your digital life with a reliable physical backup isn’t just a precaution, it’s a necessity. This spring, take the time to protect yourself from potential future data disasters. Unplug your backup drive and store it in a safe place. It’s a simple step that could save you a lot of heartaches.

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What’s your “data disaster” story and what lessons did you learn about digital backups from it? Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact.

For more of my tech tips & security alerts, subscribe to my free CyberGuy Report Newsletter by heading to Cyberguy.com/Newsletter.

Ask Kurt a question or let us know what stories you’d like us to cover.

Answers to the most asked CyberGuy questions:

Copyright 2024 CyberGuy.com. All rights reserved.

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Elon Musk’s xAI raises $6 billion to fund its race against ChatGPT and all the rest

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Elon Musk’s xAI raises $6 billion to fund its race against ChatGPT and all the rest

Elon Musk founded xAI last summer, and today it announced raising $6 billion in funding, saying it will help bring the startup’s “first products to market, build advanced infrastructure, and accelerate the research and development of future technologies.”

So far, xAI has launched Grok, a supposedly edgier version of OpenAI’s ChatGPT available via X, formerly known as Twitter, where the chatbot is currently only available to X Premium subscribers.

Funding in this round came from several sources, according to xAI, including Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, and Saudi Arabian Prince Al Waleed bin Talal. Last year, a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission showed that xAI was looking to raise up to $1 billion in equity investments, and a few months ago, The Financial Times reported it was seeking up to…. $6 billion. Musk denied that report at the time.

Continuing on in the AI race for chips, talent, and technology won’t be cheap — big tech firms have dumped billions into AI startups like Anthropic in addition to the resources Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Meta are pouring into AI projects of their own.

Outside of xAI and OpenAI, Musk said he would “prefer to build products outside of Tesla” when it comes to AI and robotics unless he gets more control. Tesla shareholders will start voting this week on whether to restore Musk’s $56 billion pay package ahead of its annual meeting on June 13th.

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Windows will soon let you grab text from your Android photos

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Windows will soon let you grab text from your Android photos

Phone Link (called Link to Windows on the phone side) lets you sync calls, messages, notifications, and images — and cast your entire phone — from your Android phone to your Windows computer. It also works in a more limited fashion with iOS devices, which only sync notifications, messages, and calls over Bluetooth.

Phone Link will now let you select and copy text from images synced from your Android phone.
Screenshot: Nathan Edwards / The Verge

The Windows Snipping Tool got text extraction last year around the same time Phone Link got image share notifications, so it’s been possible for a bit to extract text from phone photos with the Snipping Tool. This update just saves you a step and lets you do it in-app. The feature is live in Phone Link 1.24051.91.0 and I gave it a quick test in Insider Preview Build 22635.3646 (Beta Channel).

In my testing, the OCR was decent, though it made more errors than either Samsung or Apple’s text extractors with the same photo of a book page. For longer passages you’re probably better off enabling cross-device copy and paste, extracting the text on your phone, and sending it to your PC that way.

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How to save full-page screenshots as images on your iPhone

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How to save full-page screenshots as images on your iPhone

Ever stumbled upon a web page so informative you wished you could keep the entire thing, not just what’s visible on your screen? Well, you’re in luck. Today, we’re diving into the nifty trick of capturing a full-page screenshot that’s way bigger than your iPhone screen’s real estate. 

When you took a screenshot in iOS 16 and earlier, you would normally get an option to save it as a PDF. As of iOS 17, you will see a Save to Photos option. This will let you save the full page of your screenshot as an image instead if you’d like. This only takes a couple of steps. Here’s how to save a full-page screenshot as an Image in iOS 17. Now, if you own an Android, you can perform the same steps. To learn how, click here. 

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A woman on her iPhone (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

MORE: HOW TO CHANGE CAMERA ZOOM LEVELS ON YOUR IPHONE

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How to screen capture a full-page image on iPhone

  • Open a website in a browser like Safari or Chrome that you want to capture as a full-page screenshot
  • Press the Power and Volume Up buttons simultaneously to take a screenshot. You will see a preview of the screenshot in the bottom left corner of the screen.
  • Tap on the preview to open the screenshot editor. You will see two options at the top: Screen and Full Page
  • Tap on Full Page to see the entire page of the screenshot or click Screen just to see the visible part of the screen
How to save full-page screenshots as images on your iPhone

Steps to screen capture a full-page image on iPhone (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

MORE: HOW TO FIND ANY RECIPE WITH JUST A PHOTO ON IPHONE

  • You can use the slider on the right to scroll through the full-page screenshot. You can also crop, annotate or share the screenshot.
How to save full-page screenshots as images on your iPhone

Steps to screen capture a full-page image on iPhone (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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  • To save the full page or the screen as an image, tap Done in the upper left corner.
  • Then click Save to Photos
  • Now, open the photos app
  • You can view it in the Screenshots album in the Photos app or in the All Photos album if iCloud Photos is turned on in Settings > Photos.
How to save full-page screenshots as images on your iPhone

Steps to screen capture a full-page image on iPhone (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

MORE: TRY OUT THESE 10 SIRI HIDDEN HACKS ON YOUR IPHONE TODAY

Kurt’s key takeaways

Taking a full-page screenshot is more than just a cool trick; it’s a productivity booster. Whether you’re saving articles for later reading, capturing online receipts or preserving a digital moment, this feature is a game-changer. So next time you’re faced with a page that’s too good to trim, remember these steps and capture it all.

What unique uses do you think full-page screenshots could help you with in your daily tasks or special projects? Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact.

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For more of my tech tips and security alerts, subscribe to my free CyberGuy Report Newsletter by heading to Cyberguy.com/Newsletter.

Ask Kurt a question or let us know what stories you’d like us to cover.

Follow Kurt on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

Answers to the most asked CyberGuy questions:

Copyright 2024 CyberGuy.com. All rights reserved.

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