Posted by : Deepak Vasudevan Saturday, October 13, 2012

I was looking at a discussion forum where some one had asked about recovery of data before the hard disk is upgraded. I just thought I would share a related thought on best practices in local (private) computing practices. This can also be applied to our cloud drives like Google, Skydrive and Dropbox.

Once upon a time people used to partition hard drives into C:/ D:/ E:/ and F:/. Optionally because 32 bit computers may not be able to comfortably address larger volumes. Nowadays when you buy a computer from Bestbuy or other stores, it just comes pre-loaded with a default operating system (and I admit it would also be a defunct* operating system) along with a single drive.

*Missing security software, reduced functionality desktop office software.
I would suggest instead of scattering our data all across the computer it is better to follow unix practice in defining our custom root folder (say by username) and narrow down through the same. This way, the separation between system and our application data is distinct. This also helps achieve flexible and seamless backup besides the best data recovery in case of disasters.

An example from my local computer would be:


Besides this the following software must be installed before the computer used for anything including connecting online, playing CD/DVD or any communication of the hardware to the external world.
  1. Install your preferred Anti-Security software in case of Windows. For Ubuntu and Linux users fortify it by appropriately disabling the daemons.
  2. Scotty from WinPatrol (http://www.winpatrol.com/) is the most recommended tool to ensure no application installs or hijacks your computer settings without your knowledge.
  3. Configure your computer's DNS to route through OpenDNS. This ensure safe surfing from malware websites. You may like to refer my previous post on parental control configuration. Following is a a sample block page on my computer for a bad website suggested in Google Search results. I would also suggest a periodic review of your OpenDNS account to ensure safe surfing from your home-office network.

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