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10 Computer Maintenance Tips

By Freddie Stewart

Before you start making mistakes that could cost you the life of your precious computer, you had better learn how to take care of your new arrival. The things you do to your computer now will determine how long your computer will last without crashing.

Below are some tips you should know when using your computer:

1. Never EVER switch off your computer without waiting for Windows to shut it down. This may cause permanent hard drive defects caused by the hard drive heads contacting the surface of the disc drive and cause a host of Windows problems.

The only time you can force a shutdown is if your hard drive "hangs" or refuses to respond. In this case, try pressing ALT+CTRL+DEL keys at the same time and wait for task manager to launch. The Task Manager window will have a tab you can press to enable you to shutdown normally. If Task Manager fails to launch, then you can safely switch off your computer and switch it on again after about 3 minutes. Perform emergency shutdown only when absolutely necessary.

2. Plug your computer into a UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply). This will prevent power surges in cases of low and high voltage occurrences. A UPS will protect your computer from any type of power disaster.

3. Backup important files as soon as you can. Purchase a CD burner to store files (make at least 2 copies of the same files on CD). Don't wait until the next day if you can help it. A crash may occur any time.

4. Use Scandisk and Defragmenter at least once a month. Just like you need to have a check up once in a while to catch any disease that may be forming, your computer also needs to be checked up to keep it healthy and crash-free.

5. Do not unplug peripherals while they are powered up. Doing so may damage your motherboard.

6. Keep at least 100 MB of your C: free for Windows to use. Maxing out your drive may result in Windows dumping data to your hard drive, or your computer will run really, really slow.

7. Do not let a lot of programs load when starting up your computer. Uninstall or delete programs that start up as soon as you start up your computer.

8. Use an antivirus program. You really need one if you want your computer to keep running smoothly. Downloaded attachments from friends, installed programs downloaded from the net and a host of other ways could infect your computer. An antivirus program will make sure no "bad" stuff is allowed into the system.

9. Use a firewall if you have a high speed internet connection. A firewall will prevent your computer from getting "hijacked". You may not be aware of it, but your computer may have been hacked at least once. Hackers use search programs to seek out computers at random. Get a firewall program and use it.

10. Do not throw away installer software once you've installed the program. You will need to reformat your computer some time and all data on the drive will be erased and you will need to reinstall your software.

F Stewart is an IT Professional. His company, Ambient Technology Group, provides website development and IT services. For more information, visit

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