Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Backup Procedures

With some exceptions, generally only the “Documents” (or “My Documents”) and “Desktop” folders are backed up.
The following files/folder are intentionally not backed up (we have deemed them either not worth backing up or too big to backup)…
  • Any folder or file labeled ‘purple’ (only relevant on the Macs)
  • Any file or folder named ‘Caches’
  • Any folder named ‘Microsoft User Data’
  • Any folder named ‘Downloads’
  • Any folder named ‘Netboot’
  • Any folder named ‘cache’
  • Any folder named ‘iTunes’
  • Any folder named ‘iMovie Events’
  • Any folder named ‘iMovie Projects’
  • Any file named ‘NTUSER.DAT’
  • Any file named ‘NTUSER.DAT.LOG’
  • Any file named ‘parent.lock’
  • Any folder named ‘Temporary Internet Files’
  • Any file named ‘UsrClass.dat’
  • Any file named ‘UsrClass.dat.LOG’
  • Any folder named ‘Temp’
Other files/folders will likely be added in the future but they are not likely to be important files, just ‘extra stuff’ that doesn’t need to be backed up.
Note: Typically if a document is open it can not be backed up at that time. This usually doesn’t affect most files with the exception of Microsoft Outlook. At this point in time I only know of three people who use Microsoft Outlook.
Generally, PCS Instructional Staff and students log on to the network and have their Documents and Desktop stored on the server, not on the local machine (with a few exceptions). Their files are backed up when the server is backed up (typically two or three times a week).
Generally, Clerical and Administrative Staff log on to the network, or just their own computer, but have their files saved to their local computer and thus are backed up remotely (typically two or three times a week). The following are staff that are actively backed up remotely (i.e. they do not typically store their files on the server automatically)…
  • aadams
  • apetroccine
  • aregan
  • bgallagher
  • bkellogg
  • cellis
  • cmattimore
  • cyoung
  • dbaxter
  • dcmcmartin
  • dgordon
  • dgravilin
  • dmartin
  • dvotra
  • gjadlos
  • jchambers
  • jcruikshank
  • jfoote
  • jherrick
  • jhobbs
  • kchristy
  • kfennell
  • kzender
  • kmiller
  • krobinson
  • lhart
  • ljenne
  • lrichard
  • mbrown
  • mclary
  • mjoy
  • pbrady
  • pkingsley
  • mbonno
  • rbrown
  • saustin
  • sbaker
  • smccargar
  • spike
  • mwilson
  • tsullivan
  • twhite
Note: LA Staff that have the white laptops are backed up when they ‘sync’ their computer to the network (if you don’t know what that means you probably don’t have one of the laptops). All other laptops in the district are not being backed up (unless your name is listed above) and you should be taking measures to back up your data.
These backups are currently being stored on a large set of hard drives in the Lawrence Ave. IT Department Office. Once a month I copy all (or as many as I can fit) onto an external hard drive and store it at my house. We currently have two hard drives so we switch back and forth. The reasons I store the external hard drive at my house are convenience and that the auditors once commented that we did not have an off campus backup.
I do my best to check the backups twice a week (typically on Monday and Friday) to make sure they appear to be running correctly.
If you feel we should be including someone else, not excluding certain files/folders, changing backup frequency, or making any other changes please feel free to contact me.
-Rob Best

Google Chrome: Synchronizing Bookmarks & Passwords

Recently we started installing a new web browser on PCS computers from google called “Google Chrome”. One of the many nice features in Chrome is the ability to synchronize your bookmarks and passwords among different computers (school, home, desktops, laptops, etc.). This also has the added benefit of backing up your bookmarks and passwords for you (no more losing bookmarks and passwords when you get a new computer).

To open Chrome
From the ‘Start’ menu, type: Chrome
The system will then  search for anything containing the phrase “Chrome”.
You should then see a single option, ‘Google Chrome’. Just click on it to open Chrome
Note: If you don’t have Chrome or want to install it at home, you can go to the web site http://google.com/chrome  and download Chrome for free.

To “Sign In To Chrome” (only required to ‘sync’ your bookmarks and passwords)

From the ‘Customize’ icon (on the far right, looks like a wrench) choose “Sign Into Chrome…”

Enter your google username and password (you’re PCS email account works just fine)

Google will then confirm you want to sync everything (passwords, bookmarks, and other settings). Feel free to either say ‘OK’ or go into ‘Advanced’ and choose specific options.

Synchronizing will now be done automatically for you. Feel free to follow these steps on any copy of Chrome at work or home and all will stay ‘in sync’.

How To Show and Make Bookmarks In Chrome
From the ‘Customize’ icon, choose ‘Bookmarks->Show bookmark bar’ and your bookmarks ‘bar’ will show at the top of the window.

To add a web site to the bookmarks, just check the empty ‘star’ on the right of the URL (it will then turn yellow and be in your bookmarks).

PCS Email Lists

Because gmail does not have the same email lists that we have been using (i.e. LAStaff@potsdam.k12.ny.us, AAKStaff, HSStaff, etc.) those email lists have been retired.

HOWEVER, new email/web groups have been create (with more features than before) to replace the old lists. These new email/web lists are available as of right now.

To subscribe to the Potsdam High School email list, just end email to:

To send a message to the entire PCS-HS group (onc, send an email to:
(you must subscribe first)

To subscribe to the A.A. Kingston Middle School email list, just end email to:

To send a message to the entire PCS-AAK group, send an email to:
(you must subscribe first)

To subscribe to the Lawrence Ave. School email list, just end email to:

To send a message to the entire PCS-LA group, send an email to:
(you must subscribe first)

Protected View in Microsoft Office 2010

If you have Microsoft Office 2010 installed and view a Word, Excel or PowerPoint on a web page (such as our email), by default the document will open in ‘Protected View’, meaning you can not print it, save it, or edit it.

Assuming you want to do something with the document other than look at it, you need to disable ‘Protected Mode’. To do so…

1) Choose ‘Options’ from the ‘File’ menu.

2) Choose ‘Trust Center’ from the menu on the left

3) Press the ‘Trust Center Settings…’ button.

4) UNCHECK ‘Enable Protected View for files originating from the Internet’, ‘Enable Protected View for files located in potentially unsafe locations’, and ‘Enable Protected View for Outlook attachments’.


I wanted to pass a long a tip about a very useful program called “Dropbox”. Dropbox creates a folder (named “Dropbox”  on your computer that is shared among any number of computers. What this means is you have a folder of files that follow you to each of your computers (such as your school computer, home computer, etc.). By doing this you would no longer need to “transfer” files over the Internet, email them to yourself, or even use a USB flash drive.
To get started, go to the website http://www.dropbox.com and download dropbox.
Install dropbox. You will then be prompted to either create an account (which you need to do the first time) or logon to an existing account (which you do for all additional computers).

On Windows, the folder ‘Dropbox’ is located inside of your ‘My Documents’ folder.

On Mac, the folder is created in side of your ‘home’ folder (ie. usually your logon name).

To use just move any files or folders within ‘Dropbox’. That’s it! (Dropbox does the rest for you)

The only catch is that the free version of Dropbox only allows you 2Gigs of storage (don’t worry, it gives you warning). If you want more, they you pay for it.

Tip: If you get good at using Dropbox you can even create folders within Dropbox that you can choose to ‘share’ with other Dropbox users.

Basic Google Docs For PCS

Potsdam has its own Google ‘Domain’, a set of web applications (word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, calendars, etc.) which you can get to at: http://google.potsdam.k12.ny.us/
Google docs is basically a slimmed down, free, online version of Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.). It may not have all the features of MS Office but it does do what most of us do most often. It also has the advantages of being online (so it doesn’t matter if you are on campus or off campus) and allowing you to share (optional) your documents (even in realtime).
One of the features in google apps I like is being able to create folders (much like you would on your desktop computer). Except you can also ‘share’ folders with other people (other staff, administrators, or even students). What this means is you can create a folder (or set of folders) that have special shared settings so you could just ‘share’ a file or set of files with a group of users. Two examples that immediately come to mind is sharing a folder of documents with your team or sharing a folder of documents with your students (allowing you to hand out work, allowing them to hand IN work, or even work together).
Once signed into google docs ( http://google.potsdam.k12.ny.us/ ) you have a lis of ‘My folders’ on the left.
To create a new folder click on the ‘Create New’ button and choose ‘Folder’

Your new folder (defaulting to the name ‘New Folder’) should be under ‘My folders’
If you select your new folder you can then rename your folder something more meaningful
To place files in folders (a file can be in any number of folders, unlike files on your computer which can only be in one folder at a time) check the checkbox to the left of the file(s)

Press the ‘Folders’ button and place a checkbox next to the folder(s) you want that file(s) placed in
If you want to optionally share that entire folder with a person or group of people, select the folder from ‘My folders’.

From the ‘Share’ button, choose ‘Share This Folder’
You can then type in the full email address of the other users (separated by a comma).
Note: When you click on the ‘Add people’ text field you can optionally ‘Choose from contacts’. All of YOUR contacts as well as PCS staff and students will be listed here. This can be a real time saver for you!
Once you have completed selecting all the people you want to share the folder with you you can optionally decided to have google send them an email letting them know you have shared the folder with them.
That folder you shared will now be under THEIR ‘Folders shared with me’ when they sign in google docs.
If you wish to share a specific file (or files) with others, the processes is very similar.

Check the checkbox to the left of the file(s) and choose ‘Sharing settings…’ from the ‘Share’ button.
Then, just like sharing a folder, you can choose the people you wish to share the document(s) with.

Adding A Network Printer To Windows 7

Note: These instructions only apply to Windows 7.
1) Select the ‘Start’ menu.

2) In the search field at the bottom type: “\\odin” (without the quotes) and press Enter or Return)

3) A window will open up showing you the printers on the network. Find the printer you want and double click on it. It may take up to a minute for it to “add” to your list of printers, but once done, you can now print to it.

Technical Support

When looking for technical support at Potsdam here are procedures we would suggest you follow…
For BOCES Staff
Contact the BOCES office (x123). Karen Behm can then determine if problem can be fixed by the SLL BOCES Computer Technician or if Potsdam’s IT Staff should be involved.
For Potsdam Staff
When ever possible, please fill out a ‘Tech Request Job’ at the web site: http://help.potsdam.k12.ny.us
Obviously there are times when you can not get to the web site (ie. all of your computers are down, no Network, etc.), in those cases, contact your building level office and they can contact us or call us directly (x266 for the Middle School or Elementary School, x707 for the High School).
Please keep in mind that
1) the offices may be able to call our personal cell phones in the situation deems
2) though we do check our voice mail, submitting a work request gets to us SIGNIFICANTLY faster than voicemail.