Computer Problem Tips – Are You Messing Up Your Computer? – Learn the 5 Mistakes Most Everyone Makes

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Do you power on your Computer every day thinking nothing will ever happen and saying "it'll work"? While all the time in the back of your mind, you know there are things you should be doing before something does break.

Instead you keep talking yourself out of doing what really are simple tasks because you don't have the time, keep making excuses, or your just too lazy. You wouldn't let your car run out of gas or never change the oil…right.

Well today is the day to do those computer chores. And to help out, below is a list of the most common items that potentially can ruin your day but are simple to achieve.

Stop using an ordinary power strip – buy and install a good quality surge protector

Electrical storms, lighting strikes, blackouts and car accidents involving power lines all can cause momentary power surges or voltage spikes. These uncontrolled spikes can adversely affect the smooth flow of power to your computer (i.e. fry the components!)

That's why you need to buy and install a good quality surge protector. A good protector should have at least the Underwriter's Lab standard rating of 1449. Look for a label with the words, "transient voltage surge suppressor" and UL 1449.

Stop "forgetting" to do at least a weekly backup

The next question I usually ask, is "Do you have any backups?" More hang-dog looks and shaking of the heads, no.

You can recover from 90% of major computer malfunctions if (and this is the big "IF") you have backup copies of your operating system and data files. Without backups, your dead PC becomes a very expensive metal door stop. Remember the richest man in the world (Bill Gates) made all his fortune with software…not hardware.

Buy a good backup program like Acronis True Image Home or an online service like Mozy.com. Okay… Let's be frank here…"THE" best thing you can do for yourself and your computer is to setup a backup system and stick to it!

Stop downloading, installing and uninstalling lots of and lots of programs; especially unknown freeware and beta applications.

I know this is toughie. The Internet is just full of cool, free and useful software products and utilities. Hey, I couldn't run my little home business without some of them. But folks, spammers and spyware kings have long since known that everyone loves a bargain. And they write up their "products" as freebies too!

Some the most persistent and difficult to remove spyware/viruses I have ever came across have been from me getting a case of download fever and clicking all over the net trying to save a penny here or there on "freeware". Sure I got some killer freeware but I also have gotten some killer adware too!

Then after I downloaded it I had to go through the pain and hassle of uninstalling it or running some anti-spyware to remove it. If the freeware isn't from an established source like Download.com or SourceForge.net then be very careful on what you click on.

Stop letting your hard drive get full of fragmented software files.

The other problem with downloading everything you see is that your hard drive quickly becomes full of used programs, misplaced snippets of code and dead end registry files (registry files are what Windows uses to keep track of what software is installed.)

Uninstalling a program does most of the heavy lifting but no program really is removed clean. So over time your hard drive becomes a cluttered minefield of bits of broken application coding.
So once a week if not more often depending on your download activities, you should defrag your hard disk. Now Windows has its own "Disk Defragmenter" utility built in. This utility works fine but can be horribly slow running. So do your defragging late at night while you are asleep or during the when you are away from home.

Stop picking and using weak passwords

Hey, we al do this one. We all know that a strong password should have a blend of lowercase letters, capitals, numbers and characters like this, "2Tech#Log!" But who the heck could remember some pass word like that?

So we all just plug in something like, "techlog" which a tech savvy 15 year old with a free code cracker off the internet can have broken it in under 30 seconds. And since we use the same password on everything from email to eBay to bank records, anyone who cracks your password now has access to your whole online financial life and identity.

Hackers, crackers and other online thieves are not the super-evil geniuses; they are portrayed to be in books and movies. Sure most are smarter than the average person but like everyone else that they love easy pickings. Why waste all that energy to hack into a bank, when you can easily hack the bank's vice president's home laptop because, she like us, uses the same personal password over and over?

So here's what to do. Create different passwords for different functions. Create really strong ones for your bank, eBay, PayPal accounts. Then use a completely different one for those, "please sign up to receive your free offer" websites.

Tired of losing money on unnecessary downtime and want to reduce your computer headaches? To see more practical and fast computer fixes, visit http://www.fixcomputerproblemsguide.com From Chancer Reese, your Small Business Tech Diva.

Filed under Computer How-To by  #

Comments on Computer Problem Tips – Are You Messing Up Your Computer? – Learn the 5 Mistakes Most Everyone Makes Leave a Comment

October 20, 2008

mikoz @ 7:20 am #

These are really good tips. Totally agree abt the defrag bit. With the built in defragger one has to be at constant watch to make sure the task hasnt hung or restarted or just stopped. I've got Diskeeper now which runs even if the PC is being used for other operations. Set it to run in the background and fragmentation is taken care of without hassles.

October 27, 2008

Rachel Gross @ 4:11 pm #

On the second point of the article, I completely agree that it is really easy to forget to do backups, which is why most people would be better off using software that automatically does it for them. My company, Memeo, has a product called Memeo AutoBackup which solves this problem by instantaneously backing up your files without any prompting. So the moment you save/modify/add a file it is backed up to any destination you like, whether that is an external hard drive, USB drive, iPod, FTP site, Network drive, etc. And just in case your computer and your back up drive is stolen or broken Memeo even has a secure off-site backup option. It is the best of both worlds, fast local backup and safe, online backup.

You should check us out. All the major hard drive manufacturers rely on us to provide their customers with backup software. http://www.memeo.com

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