Cloud storage ‘versioning’ protects against ransomware

Patrick Marshall answers your personal technology questions each week.

Q: A recent article in The Seattle Times about ransomware is very scary. I have external drive backups and use Carbonite. Will the ransomware affect these also?

— Allen Matson

A: You’re right to be concerned. Yes, ransomware can also encrypt files stored on external drives and even in the cloud — any files, in fact, that can be accessed through your infected computer. Fortunately, some cloud storage services, including Carbonite, offer “versioning.” With versioning, multiple copies of your files are saved over time. When ransomware strikes, you must first either remove the ransomware or reformat your drive. After that, you can restore the most recent version of your backup before the infection.

Some cloud storage services, including Microsoft OneDrive, offer versioning only as an extra-cost option.

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Also, you’re safe from the current ransomware attack if you’re running a current version of Windows 10. The ransomware exploits vulnerabilities that have already been patched in Windows 10. Most of the affected computers were running older and unpatched versions of Windows.


Q: My son was trying to add a user ID for his son on my HP Pavillion Touchsmart 15 notebook. He somehow managed to delete my administrator account. I’m pretty sure that all of my files, pictures, music, etc., are still on the computer, but I can’t figure out how to get to them. When I go to switch users, my account is not there. Any advice?

— Margy Sturrock, Woodinville

A: You don’t say what version of Windows you’re using. The steps I’m about to give are for Windows 10. You can access the hidden administrator account by clicking on the Start button, scrolling down to the Windows System folder and right-clicking “Command Prompt.” Next select “Run as administrator.” At the prompt, type “Net…

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