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Protect yourself from computer failure during finals

(ARA) – Finals are just around the corner for college students, and this is a crucial time for them to have all electronics working in tip top shape. The blue screen of death on your laptop can mean all the difference between passing and an incomplete.

When Zoe Friend, a student at Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute, discovered her computer had crashed, she lost a term paper that was due in just a few days. Two months of work had vanished. She told her professor at Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute what had happened, but his response was: “This is the new version of ‘the dog ate my homework.’ It’s your responsibility to back up your work.” Like most students, Friend had never thought about backing up data, so she had to live with a bad grade.

Students should understand that taking steps to secure the information on their computer ought to be as automatic as buckling a seatbelt when they enter a car. They can further protect their files by choosing a strong password for access to their computers. Passwords should contain a combination of letters, numbers and symbols and should not reflect any personal information – such as versions of the student’s name, address or birth date. Passwords should be changed on a regular schedule to ensure that someone looking over a shoulder in the student union did not swipe a password as it was being entered.

Additionally, students should never download or share files unless they have installed antivirus software that scans each file to ensure it is safe. Sharing music and videos is a primary way that viruses are introduced to computers on campus.

Backing up can help you move forward

Friend’s experience convinced her father, David, to start Carbonite, now one of the leading online backup services in the world. Online backup may initially appeal to students who are especially interested in making sure that their music library and photos are safe, but it will also ensure that their research and class assignments are protected.

Even in the worst situation – if a computer is stolen or viruses devour research projects — online backup can save the day. Files are encrypted on the computer and transmitted via Secure Socket Layer (SSL) to a secure off-site data center where they remain encrypted and are safely stored. If something happens to their computer, students can easily retrieve all the files they need and even load them directly onto a new computer. Students can also access their backed up files from virtually any Internet-connected device as well as via smartphone apps.

The backup happens automatically, anytime a file is created or edited, without any action from the user required. The backed up files can be accessed from any computer with an Internet connection and from most smartphones, including Android, iPhone and BlackBerry devices.

College students enter one of the most hazardous PC environments possible: a dorm room, where students are notoriously rough on their PCs, and many of these computers don’t last a full four years.

College students enter one of the most hazardous PC environments possible: a dorm room, where students are notoriously rough on their PCs, and many of these computers don’t last a full four years.

A lot of money is laid down for these computers, and that’s in addition to the warranties for the hardware. For $59 a year, it’s easy to automatically back up computer work and get peace of mind. Start a free back up trial at www.carbonite.com to help ensure your work for finals is finished and turned in on time so you can get a grade for every class.