This blog post is about how I’ve been managing my computer files and passwords.
I’m currently a laptop user, having abandoned a fixed working location a while back. However regardless of whether a desktop or mobile worker, I still had the problem of managing my computer files and passwords, as well as trying to stay secure.
Warning: The information in this blog post is not a recommendation, but just about my own tech activities.
2021 update: This is a very old outdated tech blog post I published here in August 2012. A lot has changed for me since then and I’m leaving this blog post here as a glimpse into my tech past.
Using my laptop means I need to take precautions of how I handle my data, but likewise I realised I should have been taking the same precautions even from a fixed location.
The problem I was left with was this:
- I had too many files to do a ‘full’ malware, trojan and virus scan each week.
- If my laptop hard drive died, I was in serious trouble.
- I had passwords in my head, on the laptop and even in a book!
- I was using files in a mixture of locations, i.e. on the desktop, in dropbox, various folders on the hard drive.
There never seems to be enough time, but I had to make time, so I started going through my laptop hard drive. I deleted files I no-longer needed, and if long-term requirements, backed them up. I then made time to backup my email, and all currently used files, including those within Dropbox.
Thousands of files built up over years were dealt with, and that experience itself felt rather cleansing.
Next I got serious about my passwords and installed KeePass to manage my passwords. I don’t know about you, but I use too many unique and complex passwords these days, so it was time I managed it all from within an encrypted location. I now felt like the key master from the Matrix, but hopefully not with the same conclusion.
The next step was to reclaim a 2.5” SATA hard drive from a dead laptop, that I had put in a cheap caddy, only for it now to be full of family photos. Once the family photos had been backed up, I installed the amazing Cobian backup software and setup some backup tasks, some automated, some to be run when required.
I didn’t go further, such as using TrueCrypt virtual drives, or even for my whole hard drive. I didn’t use my noisy NAS box, that sounds like a jumbo jet taking off, set up and storing all my files, à la raid style.
So yes there is much more I could have done, at the very least I can access old versions of my email, handle my passwords more securely, and now even perform full virus scans, without always praying the real-time scanner has me covered.
Now I just need to sort out that box of paperwork…. oh dear here I go again.