5 MUST HAVE Tools To Ensure You Don’t Lose Everything

The other day I was working away as usual when my computer suddenly completely shut off. Having a battery backup, I was a bit stumped by how this would happen… So I went to turn the computer back on and resume working when it would not power back on. “Uh oh… not again” I thought to myself.

Just 2 years ago I would have been freaking out in a panic. Surprisingly, I was fairly calm this time around. In fact, about 2 years ago, this same thing happened to me and I lost so much work, personal files, and emails… it hurts to talk about. >_< It's because of that event 2 years ago that I utilize 5 main tools that ensure I never lose any more work, personal files, or basically... anything digital... ever again.

1. Dropbox


This is the BEST application ever. You “only” get 2gb of free storage space (well 2.25gb if you sign up using my referral link) but not only is it free, it’s an EPIC way to sync important work files among all your computers instantly. You can pay for more storage if you need it.

Better yet, you can access your files online, so it’s a bit like a back up for important files. Or, as if that wasn’t enough, you can get the iPhone / iPad app (for free) and access your files there. Very, very slick.

What’s also great about Dropbox is that you can invite employees, friends, etc and share a folder with them. I have a folder that I share with my employees for work and can control exactly who see’s what content. No more emailing file after file with my todo lists. 😀

You can read my complete review on dropbox.

2. Carbonite

Ok… not THAT type of carbonite.

Carbonite is a bit like dropbox but more for making a complete off-site backup of all your important files.

The way it works is you pay something like $50 bucks a year and you can back up an “unlimited” amount of data backup for that.

After you install a small, non intrusive application on your computer, it slowly encrypts and then uploads your files to Carbonite’s servers. I have nearly my entire C:/ drive backed up so if my hard drive ever fails, I can just reload my files directly from their servers and be on my way. Gigidy.

What I love about it is that it’s constantly working whether you are making new files or modifying current ones.

As if it wasn’t good enough, carbonite has a iPhone / iPad app just like dropbox so you can access your files from your mobile devices as well.

Another MUST HAVE tool for sure.

3. Evernote + Fujitsu scanner

Evernote is a really awesome service. Like dropbox and carbonite, it is an online storage system but only for documents. Mainly I use evernote for keeping track of receipts. I scan them in (or take a photo), upload them right to evernote, and I have a permanent digital copy of my receipts.

So why use evernote instead of say, uploading the scanned PDFs to carbonite or dropbox?

The main reason is that I can go in and tag the documents so I can search for them later. Or… even better, evernote automatically converts scanned documents into searchable text with surprising accuracy. For paper documents, receipts, etc, evernote is king. Dated, scanned, tagged, document goodness. I know all the organization freaks are drooling right now.

What’s cool is that the Fujitsu scanner I have has a one button scan to evernote option so literally it’s as easy as pressing a single button to scan a bunch of documents directly into evernote’s servers. Win!

Thanks to @DDN for the tips on this one!

4. LastPass Firefox plugin

You know what I hate? When you start fresh on a computer… a lot of the passwords for those random sites you go to like once a year are gone!

If you’re like me and use a ton of different passwords, then you know how annoying it can be to try and reset the password or spend 5-10 minutes guessing which password it was (and sometimes getting locked out of the site completely for a bit…)

That’s one of the reasons I LOVE lastpass. Basically, lastpass stores all your passwords for internet websites remotely. That way you can access your passwords anywhere you go… even when you are on a freshly reformatted computer.

Now, obviously you don’t want to put your passwords to financial sites (banks, credit cards, etc) on this service. Even if all the passwords are double encrypted, I just would never trust that sort of information anywhere except my head.

Nevertheless, for most websites, this is a service that I just could NOT live without anymore.

It’s also great for employees. Instead of having to give them every different password and keep some master “old sk00L” excel list, you give them a single password to access all the sites you need them to access.

5. External Hard drives

Common… they’re like $50 for a bazillion (real number) GB. I use this for storing all the personal files I have. I don’t update it regularly because I don’t add files to it very frequently but if you don’t have at least 3 external hard drives, you have not truly lived the internet geek lifestyle. 😉

So those are the main 5 tools to ensure I always keep my sanity my work safe. What do you use?

This is a guest post by Jonathan Volk who frequently blogs about making money online. He also has a free affiliate marketing guide that is extremely complete and has a ton of great information. You can read my review of his affiliate marketing guide here. Go check out his blog and subscribe!


82 thoughts on “5 MUST HAVE Tools To Ensure You Don’t Lose Everything”

  1. Sohail says:

    Evernote is one of the best tool and i have it on my iPhone. I need to check other tools. Thanks for post Jonathan 🙂

    1. Jonathan,

      I like this post as it gives very useful and practical info. I recently talked about drop box with a friend who uses it and likes it very much.

      1. Robin Gupta says:

        Before few years these kind of tool were dream but thanks to technology and innovative mind that we are enjoying this now.

        1. Abhik says:

          It sucks, even today, to upload a 2 gig file with broadband.
          Not all people can afford high speed broadband

          1. If you are into Internet business … mind it internet business than you should and you must have great speed.

            We are having 3 connections at the moment.

            BSNL is our main and after that Tikona and Reliance.

            So that our business can run smoothly.

      2. d3so says:

        This is an awesome list of backup tools. I’m going to try dropbox.

        1. Robin Gupta says:

          @ Abhik

          This kind of service made specially for those people who have broadband.

          These come under advance technology and for advance user and I am sure if they know about this kind of service than they must have broadband service as well.

          1. Quite agree with you.

            these applications means high speed.

  2. Kristi says:

    Carbonite has its glitches. I left a document open one night (after saving it several times throughout the day), and for some reason, it put the backup of that file from the day before in place of the latest copy. Lost a day’s worth of work. 🙁

    1. Hi Kristi,

      It’s always nice to read of a real experience with a product.
      Thanks for sharing yours. I’ll be cautious if I ever decide to use Carbonite.

    2. Exoclyps says:

      That could mean a huge setback. Something they should fix since it could produce a huge damage.

      1. Robin Gupta says:

        @ Kristi

        That is really interesting and they can loose the faith of people as well.

        Lets see what Jonathan Volk’s opinion is about it.

  3. dotCOMreport says:

    I go the good old External Hard drive route; tested and proven if you ask me. Still, I might check out a few of the ones you mentioned. Thanks for sharing.

    1. John Chow says:

      I always have multiple copies of my stuff, both on external drives and in the clouds. If your stuff is on only one source, you’re taking a big risk. A hard drive will die. It’s just a matter or when.

      1. Sorry, John but I will never recommend anyone to backup their personal or important stuffs online due to security reasons.

        1. Abhik says:

          I somewhat agree..
          Having an external HDD and using it as a backup storage is always helpful.

          I have two external HDD, one for backup only and the other is for multimedia storage.

          1. It would be nice to have 100% security but there is no such thing.

            I think that what John is doing is the best way to come close.

          2. Robin Gupta says:

            I would like to use this service when I am on move and save them and can use from anywhere.

            They can help in great way to manage your task more easily and can improve your performance.

          3. If you have a fire or flood and you lose your computer and HDD… then what?

          4. You can also lost your life … than what ??

        2. d3so says:

          That’s what I think. It doesn’t matter how secure because the owners of the company can easily access it themselves.

          1. Robin Gupta says:

            Than do not share your sensitive information with these kind of websites.

            Only add your files which you need … but tell me you are using gmail and you are getting many passwords at there as well … so are you secure for that ?

      2. Exoclyps says:

        Don’t put it like that! Means I’ll have to backup everything.

        But yeah, suppose I should just put everything on DVD’s to be on the safe side.

        1. I think you should not use DVD to backup your IMPORTANT data because once your DVD got scratches you will loose your data.

          1. Robin Gupta says:

            Just make two or three options.

            External HDD is the best option.

    2. d3so says:

      That’s the only tool I use as well from all the others listed above. I should try online solutions as well.

  4. David Dunn says:

    Finally got round to downloading DropBox for my Mac. Think I definitely need it to store my Uni files as I’d be pretty stuck if I lost them!

    Already use Evernote on a daily basis 🙂

    1. We are using dropbox to send report to our clients and this one is really time saving as you do not need to upload and attach kinda stuff.

      Would love to give a try to Evernote.

  5. PPC Ian says:

    Awesome! Guest post from JV. These are some really solid tips. I’m a disaster recovery type of guy. Planning ahead can save you serious headache in the future!

    1. Hey Ian we all know that you plan very well that’s why you are successful.

  6. Peter Paul says:

    This tools are definitely great. but for me having an external hard disk or better yet burn your files in dvd are effective.

    LastPass is new to me. I have been searching a way how to save all those passwords. thanks for the share John!

    1. Robin Gupta says:

      Imagine you are going somewhere and you forget to carry your HDD …. for such kind of moments these tools are really really useful …

      Specially dropbox.

  7. Harshad says:

    It’s funny when I read something like this… funny bcos of my story… I have always had my backup drives crashed… my PC or laptop HD has never crashed… hope it stays that way… lol 😀

    1. First time for everything! haha jk. Srsly though, I thought the same way and had to pay for it!

      1. Exoclyps says:

        I have things backed up on my external harddrive. But got the feeling that the external one is more likely to die than the internal one.

        But that’s perhaps because the external one have had quite the life so to say 😉

        1. Harshad says:

          I think the reason why my external drives crash is because of the way I have used them. Plugging them inside different computers, carrying them along etc. might be the reasons.

          1. Aaah … you are rush handler Harshad.

  8. Fernando says:

    Wow, the lastpass firefox plugin is really good! thanks for the share.

    1. d3so says:

      I should use it as well because I too forget passwords since I use many for different sites.

      1. yes these kind of plugins really save your time. If you login too many websites in morning.

  9. John says:

    I have 5 external hard drives..so therefore I am an internet geek..:D

    1. So, what you store in those hds ?? I think you have some very important stuffs.

      1. Robin Gupta says:

        5 external HD … what is the reason of having so many ?

        1. Boy managing 5 hard disk itself a burden.

  10. Cheryl says:

    I have a passport, I don’t know if that qualifies as an external hard drive.

    1. You should give a try first before asking here in this community because any one can help only if you have any failure in fixing the plans.

      1. Asking is not an offense my dear.

        All are not tech geek.

  11. Awesome sites.. definitely some unique ones in there that i have never heard of..

    thanks again jon!

    1. Dropbox is simply awesome for us.

      Save huge time. Simply drah and drop to public folder and send the link to the clients to download the completion report

  12. Jonathan Volk You are the best because I never ever thought about this topic.

    1. Robin Gupta says:

      These are basically help him to make his task more easy and help him to control it effectively.

      1. He is quite busy guy and this kind of plugins are simply perfect for him.

  13. I use Dropbox, Evernote, Mozy and external hard drives. That works great for me.

    1. Robin Gupta says:

      Yes Dropbox is certainly changing the face of using internet.

      This is very simply designed but very very effective.

      1. Ask us how important is for us.

  14. Abhik says:

    Great Tips Jonathan,
    I never used online backup utilities due to slow broadband speed. Bit, going to give dropbox a try as I heard a lot about them.

    1. Robin Gupta says:

      Hey Abhik

      What is your broadband plan ?

      1. Abhik says:

        It’s BB Home Combo ULF 1350

        1. Robin Gupta says:

          512 KB …

          Any back up broadband connection ?

  15. Great tools. I use most of them daily.

  16. Sparrow says:

    I use WordPress and a couple of plugins to e-mail my backups to a dedicated Gmail account. This allows me over 7 GB of space. Every once in a while I delete old files.

    1. d3so says:

      Yeah, I get daily database backups of my blogs to a specific email address.

    2. Abhik says:

      What about your personal files? Like documents?

  17. Great tools ! thank you for writing about them cause i guess everyone need at least one , thank you for sharing this 🙂

  18. fas says:

    The external hard drive is good when you dont have a internet connection all the time.

    1. d3so says:

      I like using external drives as well because it takes longer if you download data over the Internet.

      1. Robin Gupta says:

        I prefer to use external HDD every night before shutting down my computer.

        There is one folder where I save all my daily files and simply back up that folder into HDD.

        One with date and one with same name folder.

  19. I’m going to have to give these a try. I’ve heard about Carbonite. I’m still using an old school password list so I’m getting that plugin… thanks John!

    1. d3so says:

      My password database is all in my head lol. Not a good idea. But I don’t feel safe storing my passwords in a database.

  20. I use two of five application name here. Dropbox (very usefull for workgroup, and the lastpass for firefox. For Backup I use Mozy and lately Idrive also a online backup, but this last one, allow wordpress backup (files and db) by a plugin.

    1. Abhik says:

      iDrive is one of my favorite backup utility.
      I have an account there to backup all my blogs automatically.

  21. Server Admin says:

    We have a backup server on on our home network that backups up most important files & such. Thanks for the LastPass info – checking that out.

    Imagine, the server (computer) that hosts all your profitable websites, landing pages, etc crashes or dies. Make sure you back all of that stuff up as well regularly (your own backups, not just those provided by your shared host.)

  22. I use Google Docs for my basic stuff and external drive.

    Too confusing having too many services.

    1. d3so says:

      I haven’t use google docs but I use google apps to manage my email for my sites.

  23. Vee Sweeney says:

    One simple solution that was not mentioned was how Windows partitions drives now days. (Vista and above). Of course this is Windows based only, not Apple. If the drive is 500GB, Windows puts 250GB on C and 250GB on “D”. Now at least with my computer (Samsung laptop), all I have to do is drag the files I want to back up to D. In the event of a crash (and I have had a couple!), Samsung recovery wipes C clean, but D is kept and then all one has to do is drag the files back over to C. Not fail proof, but convenient. I also use Mozy unlimited, but I do find that when it tells me it has done a complete scan, it does not always scan all the files even when I have them selected.

    1. Harshad says:

      That’s a good idea but what if the entire HD crashes? I used to do that while using windows a few years ago. Make two partitions C: & D:…load windows on C: and keep all important data on D:. So whenever my windows was corrupt, all I had to do was format C: and all my data is still safe in D:.

  24. satrap says:

    After reading this post, I took Jonathan’s advice and gave LastPass a shot. I used to save password on piece a paper and lately I have been using Firefox (built in) browser’s password reminder and saver tool. But, there were some limitations and I didn’t feel safe. But, lastpass seems like one I could use without the worries. Thanks Jonathan.

  25. Just installed LastPass after reading this post and seems it was a best decision taken today by me to make my blogging life more easy and on the go.

    1. Robin Gupta says:

      So many recommendations for last pass … seems to me that I should also give it a try as well.

  26. Dan Lew says:

    I am currently using Western Digital as backup, I did a review about it on my blog recently!

  27. James Rose says:

    I run an IT support company out of Boston, MA and one thing we specialize in is disaster recovery for businesses. All the tips I read here are things I would tell my clients to do to prevent losing hard work. Crashes happen to everyone but these tips help.

  28. ikki says:

    dropbox is the tool i like the most, i can make free backups online easily

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