Find that blasted file

You know it was there at one time (the file, we mean); it just doesn’t seem to be there now. Fear not. Chances are, this program can dig it out. It worked for us.

It’s Search and Recover 3 from Iolo. It has a simple menu where you select the type of file you’re looking for: photos, text, video, all files, or … best news of all – lost e-mails. (If your computer is already giving you trouble, you might have problems recovering files.)

Some files may have been lost for days and some for years, but usually they’re all still there, somewhere, in the bowels of the digital dungeon. You can even recover data you thought was lost because you emptied the recycle bin.

Search and Recover 3 is $40 from www.iolo.com, less from discount stores. Search and Recover works with Win 98 and up and includes a “mirroring” utility. This can be used to back up the entire contents of any drive, including thumb drives. This is a good protective program to have around, unless you are just incredibly well-organized and never lose track of anything. (Sure, that person must be somewhere.)

Norton Internet security

We have always had some fear when installing new software from Symantec, because it has sometimes messed up our computers. Then again, other times it worked perfectly, so it has been a chancy business. We installed the new Norton Internet Security 2006 and, we’re happy to say, everything seems to be working fine. The new interface is much easier to use.

Our main desktop computer, which has hundreds of programs on it, used to run so slowly that we could make a cup of tea while Word opened. It would occasionally come to a halt in the middle of an operation. Three things fixed that. Symantec’s Norton Internet Security, Spybot Search and Destroy, and Diskeeper.

Diskeeper, from www.diskeeper.com, defrags our computer every night automatically, preventing files from being scattered all over our the drive. Now the central processor doesn’t have to work overtime fetching what it needs, and the computer runs 13 times faster than it did.

The Norton program is important for keeping away hackers, spammers and viruses, but it doesn’t keep out all spyware. Occasionally, we run Spybot, the free program from www.safer-networking.org, or Spy Sweeper, $30, from www.webroot.com.

The Internet Security package, which includes Norton Antivirus, Personal Firewall, Privacy Control, AntiSpam and Parental Control, can be had from Amazon.com for $20. This bargain results from a $20 rebate plus another $20 off if you can show proof of owning a previous Norton product or any competitor’s product.

Hard driving

Seagate has launched a couple of heavy-duty drives for people who want heavy-duty capacity. One is for the inside, the other for outside.

The Barracuda 7200.9 is an internal drive that can hold 500 gigabytes. That’s half a terabyte (1,000 gigabytes) and moves this drive up into what can easily be called industrial-strength size.

People who do a lot of work with video and music can really use this kind of capacity. The transfer rate, which as all techies know, is high on the priority list, is 3 gigabits per second. That’s “bits,” not “bytes.” So if we translate that (eight bits make a byte) to compare with ordinary hard drives, this would be four to five times faster. Discounters (like pricegrabber.com) are charging around $350 to $400.

This is a SATA drive, meaning that it plugs into a Serial ATA port. The “ATA” part of the acronym stands for Advanced Technology Attachment, and we might as well get used to these letters because almost all new computers come with SATA sockets for this kind of drive. They run faster, transfer data faster and, if the Barracuda is any example, are completely silent.

An external version of the 500GB drive will be available in a month or two and connects to a USB or Firewire port. That means it will work with either PC or Mac. As is usual with external disk drives, expect it to cost around $50 more. For right now, you can get a 400GB external drive for around $310. That’s big enough to hold 36 seasons of a half-hour TV show. Seagate’s somewhat difficult-to-navigate Web site can be found at www.seagate.com.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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