It’s almost a certainty: one day you’ll turn on your computer and it will refuse to start. How much anguish, time, and money would this cause you?
Now is the time to ask yourself a few questions to prepare for that day when you turn on your beloved computer and….it does nothing.
1. What exactly is inside your
computer? Your PC consists of hardware components and software
programs. Problems can occur for a number of reasons, so you should
know what’s inside the case. Get that information now while
everything is working properly. Windows 98, Windows ME, and Windows XP
include a tool called “System Information” that captures a wealth of
diagnostic information about your system. From the Start menu,
open Programs, Accessories, then the System Tools Folder. Double-click
System Information and get a printout of the details by selecting Print
from the File menu.
If you have a Mac, the Apple System
(note: there is no www in this address) reports on your computer’s
software and installed hardware devices.
2. Do you have a hard copy of all your passwords? Make a list of your passwords and store it in a secure place. Do NOT store the list on your computer. If your hard drive is malfunctioning and you don’t remember the passwords, that list will be useless.
3. Do you have a back-up? You don’t have to back up everything on your hard drive; just copy your personal files. That way, you can reinstall your programs on the replacement hard drive. Consider adding a second hard drive to your system or use an external back-up drive such as a Zip drive or a CD or DVD burner. Forget floppies; they’re too small. For extra security, the backup medium (CD, DVD, etc.) should be off site. That way, if your equipment is stolen or if your house burns to the ground, your back-up will not be lost. Backup disks should be stored away from magnetic sources like large loudspeakers, and away from excessive heat.
4. Do you have all of your software product keys? These keys are mixtures of numbers and letters you enter when installing software. If your hard drive fails, you’ll probably need to reinstall the software. And without those keys, you might have to buy new software (not a cheap proposition). Make a record of those numbers. You may find them on your installation disk cases.
5. Finally, do you know where all of your software
is located? Find a storage place for your software installation discs
and make sure they’re all there. Again, losing your hard drive is
disheartening enough without having to buy a new copy of Microsoft