Tablet Life & Arts

Ask Mr. Modem: Put flash drives into a rotation

I use a flash drive to back up all my data, and I leave it plugged in all the time. Does leaving it plugged in wear it out quicker, or should I be plugging it in only when I need to copy something to it?

Leaving a flash drive plugged in will have no adverse effect on the drive. Wear and tear occurs during the read/write process, not from a flash drive sitting idly in a USB port.

I use a rotational flash-drive backup system, which results in one or more backup flash drives NOT residing in a computer at all times. (Insert “Huh?” here.) In other words, I have two flash drives for each computer and each time I back up data, I remove one drive and insert the other. So at any time, my flash drives are either current or one backup behind. I also keep my most important data backed up within a free Gmail ( account I maintain for that specific purpose. To do this, I simply mail (as an attachment) any important files I want to keep safely off-site.

Why do I keep getting a message that my Windows 7 is not genuine? It came installed on my computer that I bought in December 2012?

Windows 7 includes a Windows Genuine Advantage checker that verifies that your copy of Windows is legally licensed. However, sometimes an error may occur that causes Windows to forget it is registered. (How helpful is that?) Fortunately, there is an easy fix for this so you can stay ahead of the software police.

The first step is to look on the back or bottom of your computer for the Windows Authenticity Label. This label will display your Windows Product Key or serial number. Write it down.

Next, click the Start button and in the Search box type Activate Windows. In the window that appears you will be able to enter your Product Key and proceed with activation. You may need to click the Change Product Key button and type the Product Key again.

Once activated, you will receive a message confirming activation and you will no longer be pestered by an impertinent message that dares to suggest your copy of Windows is not genuine. (Of all the nerve!)