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HOW TO USE: Beginner / File Backup

HOW TO USE: Many Ways to Back Up Your Files -- and Many Ways to Lose Them!

Read this and obey! The frustration you avoid not having to reenter lost files will pay for your subscription many times over!

By Hal Goldstein

By now you have experienced how the HP 95LX Palmtop makes your life easier and more productive. Wherever you go you have a searchable phone book, an appointment book with to-do list, key notes from meetings, important spreadsheets and equations. Miraculously, all that information is stored in your pocket or purse and accessed with a few key strokes.

Then one day you discover that your phone book is gone, your notes are missing, your spreadsheet data has disappeared, or you lost all of your appointments. Your Palmtop PC marvel has turned to a nightmare.

I would wager that each of the thousands of people reading these words have lost information on their palmtop or desktop computer -- maybe a few words, maybe entire databases of information. Ask any computer expert and he'll tell you that the experience of losing data does not go away as you learn more about computers.

The real expert has developed a systematic procedure whereby he backs up his data frequently. The worst case is that he loses an hour or two of work. If you don't back up the information you generate on your 95LX, it's only a matter of time before you lose something through your error, or the computer's error.

How Can I Lose My Work? Let Me Count the Ways ...

The purpose of this section IS to scare you! If you do not understand some of the concepts, reread previous Getting Started columns, check your manual, ask a friend, or purchase a basic book on computers.

Here are some of the ways you can lose information on your HP 95LX through your own folly.

  1. 1. You do not save or update your MEMO, APPT, PHONE, 1-2-3, or HP CALC file when you exit the application normally, or when your system locks up and you must reboot (by pressing (CTRL)-(ALT) (DEL)).
  2. 2. You lose all battery power (for example, by leaving your HP 95LX idle for a long time or by ignoring the bad or missing backup battery message).
  3. 3. You save a file using the name of a file that already exists. The initial file is overwritten and lost.
  4. 4. When trying to save new work, you run out of disk space and have nothing you can delete from FILER.
  5. 5. You delete a file by mistake.
  6. 6. You drop your HP 95LX.
  7. 7. You lose your HP 95LX.
  8. 8. You forget what you named a file and in what directory you put it.
  9. 9. You let your RAM card battery run out.
  10. 10. You inadvertently remove your RAM card battery.
  11. 11. You lose or remove the "device driver" files that allow you to access your ACE Double Card, Stacked RAM card, or SUNDISK Flash Card.
  12. 12. You let someone mess around with your HP 95LX.

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Here are some more ways that the Palmtop itself, or software running on it, can cause you to lose information. (However, you may have some part to play in it. The HP 95LX is a robust, well-tested machine of superior quality. Avoid the self-defeating habit of "blaming the machine" and not analyzing your role in a mishap.)
  1. 13. Bugs in the built-in programs or built-in DOS.
  2. 14. Bugs in the HP 95LX firmware or hardware.
  3. 15. Running DOS programs or TSR's not designed with the HP 95LX in mind.
  4. 16. Exiting programs incorrectly.
  5. 17. Exposing your HP 95LX or RAM card to a very strong electromagnetic field.
  6. 18. Exposing your data to a virus.

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Backup Solutions

Even though Palmtops are handy at storing and manipulating data, given the many ways you can lose valuable information, why would any sane person want to depend on one? THE ANSWER: It only makes sense if you regularly (hourly, daily, or weekly) back up all important information.

What follows are general backup strategies. For more details, check past or future issues of The HP Palmtop Paper or manuals. Because backup is so crucial, you will find reference if not full-fledged articles on backup in almost every The HP Palmtop Paper issue.

RAM Card Backup Strategies

The optional RAM card provides an easy means to backup your most critical C drive work. However, remember that the RAM card itself needs to be backed up.

  1. 1. Use FILER to copy crucial files such as main PHONE and APPT books, key spreadsheets to the A: RAM drive. (Remember the built-in applications normally store files in the C:\_DAT directory or in the case of 1-2-3 the C:\ directory.)
  2. 2. Purchase a RAM Card drive (see Databook or Adtron ads this issue, check Third Party Products sections in back issues).

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These drives normally connect to an IBM compatible PC and look like a normal disk drive to a PC. To back up files first make sure all important files are copied the RAM card from the HP 95LX. Put the RAM card in the RAM card drive and copy the RAM card files to the PC's hard disk or floppy disk using simple DOS Copy commands from the PC.

PC Backup Strategies

  1. 3. Purchase The HP Connectivity Pack (part # HP F1001A). Use the Pack's cabling. Then follow instructions to backup files from the HP 95LX and PC using the FILER program on both the PC and the 95LX.
  2. 4. Run The HP Connectivity Pack DOS Connect program on both the 95LX (DCS95) and the PC (DC95) to make the 95LX disks directly accessible from the PC. Use the DOS COPY or XCOPY commands to backup up HP 95LX files to the PC.
  3. 5. MAC users can purchase the DataViz or Sparcom, Mac to HP 95LX connectivity programs (see ad this issue).
  4. 6. Windows users can use IntelliLink or Sparcom Connectivity pro grams.
  5. 7. Purchase the HP 82222A Serial Interface Cable for a PC or HP 82223A Cable for the MAC. Use communications software on the desktop and built-in COMM on the HP 95LX. Use XMODEM or KERMIT protocol.
  6. 8. With the HP2222A Serial Interface Cable on both the PC and HP 95LX run ZIP.COM, a communications program supplied on The HP Palmtop Paper's free 1992 Subscribers Disk. If you only have an HP 95LX

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Because of the dangers cited previously, even if you do not own another computer or a RAM card you should develop backup strategies that employ a combination of the items listed below.
  1. 9. Create duplicate copies of your most important files such as your PHONE and APPT books. Copy the files to a different directory (for example, use FILER to copy your main PHONE .PBK file from the C:\_DAT directory to the C:\ directory).
  2. 10. Purchase an HP 82222A Serial Interface Cable and a high density floppy disk. Make arrangements with a friend with a PC to borrow it for 10 minutes per week. Use one of the methods described above to back up files to the floppy.
  3. 11. Purchase the HP 82224A Serial Cable Adapter Kit, along with the HP 82222A Serial Interface Cable. Borrow a printer from a friend to create a "hard copy" of each of your most important files. You can print from your friend's PC. If the printer has a serial port, you can print directly from the 95LX to the printer using the cabling described above.

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Similarly, borrow a friend's modem connected using the above cabling. Use built-in COMM to send key files via a phone line to a PC with a modem and communications software running.
  1. 12. Purchase an external 3 " floppy drive designed to work with the HP 95LX such as the Sparcom Drive95. Backup 95LX files to a disk in Drive95 using FILER.

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Conclusion

Make one of these strategies work for you. If you are a complete novice (we all were at one time), make backup a priority. Grab a computer-literate friend, study back issues of The HP Palmtop Paper, read the manual ... do whatever it takes to develop a practical, consistent backup strategy.

And to those of you with computer experience, don't let a few months without data loss problems lull you into complacency. Backup your data now and develop a procedure for regular backups.

iPhone Life magazine


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