Upgrading to Windows 7 – thanks to the Cloud

I have just upgraded my Laptop to Windows 7. Not an exercise for the faint hearted, but after a few failed attempts I succeeded. I had previously been using XP and over the years I had downloaded so much rubbish and deleted loads more, the whole system was getting decidedly dodgy. And when it took over 30 minutes to boot up the other day I decided I had to act!

I duly went to the Microsoft site and downloaded and installed Windows 7. There were a few false starts but I got there in the end and I now have, what is effectively, a new lap top running sweetly until I fill it up with cr.p again.

One of the “drawbacks” about upgrading from XP is that the Windows 7 installation overwrites your system and unless you have backups, you lose the lot. Actually, in view of my previous comments, loosing most of the rubbish on my laptop was no great shame but there was a lot of important data I needed to keep.

And this, of course, is where the Cloud comes to the rescue. I now keep virtually 100% of my data, photos and music on the web so reinstalling on my “new laptop” was simplicity itself. Other than having to re- download programmes such as Itunes and a few others, everything I needed was there and ready to go.

These are the main applications I use for my Cloud Computing:

1. Mail – Googlemail
2. Documents and spreadsheets – Zoho and Google Docs. Anything I do need to keep on my hard disk I synchronise online using Dropbox as my virtual drive.
3. Pictures – Google Picasa – again synchronised to the web model.
4. Music – ITunes – but synchronised to MP3 Tunes on-line. As I write this I am downloading my entire collection from the web.

A further comment . I had lunch the other day with my major new client and was discussing how we would be using online accounting as the main part of our service offering. The client queried what would happen to the data in the event of the SaaS provider’s failure and I was explaining that the SLA’s with the data storage provider – in this instance Fujitsu – enabled access for a period of time after any demise of the principal supplier.

The client’s comment was…” so we can access the data but we don’t own it.” A fair point and one that I can understand is a major concern for those not convinced of the Cloud’s advantages. My response was that the system we are using enables all data to be downloaded almost literally at the touch of a button, so if it was a concern it would easy enough for the client to regularly download the data as an additional level of security.

In considering what SaaS or Cloud service to use, this should be one of the principal considerations.

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