Follow these steps to head of most problems before they happen and to make your new PC experience as hassle-free as possible.

ELECTRICITY CAN BE EVIL – You just spent hundreds (or more) of dollars on a computer. Why plug it into a $10 power strip? I don’t know about your neighborhood, but where I live, if the children that are outside playing run too fast, the lights go out. My UPS has saved me many times from having a major problem because of bad electricity.

COMPUTER INFORMATION – Before you throw any boxes out, be sure and write down all model and serial numbers. Also, make sure you have all of your warranty and rebate information. You never know when you will be on the phone or online getting computer help and will need that information.

CREATE A RECOVERY DISK – Your new computer probably did not ship with recovery disks already created for you. Instead it probably has a recovery partition (special section on your hard drive) that will enable you to create recovery disks. Recovery disks help you get your computer back up and running if you have a major problem. Most people do not do this step, and then they have a major computer problem and wished they had created the disks.

CREATE USER ACCOUNTS AND PASSWORD PROTECT THEM – You should create a standard user account and an administrator account. Use the standard account for everyday computing as it is harder for viruses and other malware to make changes to your computer. If you have children, it is a good idea to have them use a standard account as well since it will be harder for them to make changesruin your computer. Use the administrator account only when necessary. There are times when installing new software or hard ware requires using an administrator account.

REMOVE THE JUNK – Uninstall any software you don’t wantneed. Software companies pay PC manufacturers to install trial versions of their software on computers. The result is a PC BLOATED with unnecessary software. How fast do you run when you are stuffed?

PROTECT YOUR COMPUTER – Install and or update your antivirus and spyware software.

UPDATE WINDOWS, UPDATE YOUR SOFTWARE, UPDATE YOUR DRIVERS – Fixes to existing problems and security patches are two very good reasons to keep your software updated. Your nice new computer may have been sitting on the shelf for some time and several updates may be available.

DOWNLOAD A SECOND WEB BROWSER – I use Internet Explorer only when I absolutely have to. In my experience, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are both more secure and perform faster than Internet Explorer.

USE A GOOD FIREWALL – Not having a firewall is like not having doors or windows on your house. You will be hard pressed controlling who comes in and out of your house. The same is true for a computer with no firewall.

HAVE A BACKUP PLAN – There are two types of hard drives, those that have crashed and those that will. Even if your hard drive never crashes while you own the computer, you still could be hit with a virus. Purchase an external hard drive and back up your important files.

IMAGE YOUR PC – Once you have everything installed and working perfectly, STOP! Now is the time to create an image of your computer. An image copies everything (Windows, all of your files, settings, software and drivers) to a DVD disk or external hard drive. Now if something goes terribly wrong with your computer, you do not have to spend 3+ hours to get it back up and running perfectly. All you need to do is pop in your image DVD’s and let your computer automatically restore itself.

Happy Computing!



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