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TECH TIP – Prepare Yourself For The Inevitable System Crash

 

“Inevitable”  - Well, hopefully your computer will run for a long time.  But there are so many things attacking our computers today that system crashes occur more and more often.  Sometimes the crash involves a hard drive that simply stops working (they never give you a warning). 

 

In the best scenario, the crash will allow you to repair your system or install a new system without requiring you to completely rebuild your computer – you will not use your data or your applications. 

 

In the worst scenario, the crash will require that you reformat your hard drive and install a new system – you will lose all your data and applications.

 

How to prepare for a crash – here are some tips to keep in mind.

 

Backup!  The most important thing is to backup your data.  When you save documents on your PC, always save them in the “My Documents” folder.  And then, backup that folder regularly.  If you have a CD burner, back up your documents on a CD ROM.  If you don’t, consider purchasing some type of storage device, such as a CD writer, a Zip Drive, an external hard drive, a thumb drive/flash drive or a DVD writer.  Then use it to backup you data at least once a month. 

 

Windows Installation Software – Keep your Windows installation CD software in a safe place.  You will need it to get your computer running again.  The installation software will have a Key Code that is required to reinstall the system software.  Sometimes this Key Code is on a sticker attached somewhere on your computer.  The latest Windows software, Windows XP, requires that you register your installation over the internet or by telephone.  The XP installation disk is only good for one computer.  It is critical that you have this registration number when you have a system crash and need to reinstall you system software.

 

Application Installation Software – You should have original CDs or disks of all the applications that are on your computer – with necessary serial numbers.  You may need to reinstall all your applications.  If you have downloaded any application software, be sure you have a backup of the installation software on a disk or CD.

 

Internet Information:  If you are connected to the internet through an ISP, you should also have written down your account name for your internet access as well as your password. If you do not know this information, call your ISP and ask them what it is.

 

Outlook Express Backup:  There are no doubt many emails and addresses that you would rather not lose.  So back up your old email files.  Here’s a couple links to help you backup your email if you use Outlook Express.

http://www.pchell.com/support/backupoe.shtml

http://email.about.com/od/outlookexpressbackuphelp/

 

Internet Explorer Bookmarks (Favorites):  Do you have hundreds of bookmarks – like me?  Back them up!  Here’s a link to tell you how to do this.

http://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch000524.htm

 

If you have all of the above information and CDs, you will be in fine shape when you have to do a system reinstall.   If you have a technician do the system reinstall, take along all your backup disks, serial numbers, and internet information.  You’ll be glad you did – they will too!

 

 

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