By Jerry Litvinoff
Wednesday - August 29, 2007

Turn it on, turn it off.Wouldn’t it be nice if that’s all that’s involved in maintaining your computer?

First step is to make sure you have a UPS. A UPS is a surge protector with a built in battery.Maybe you already have a surge protector, but that is not enough.A surge protector can not protect your computer when the power shuts off. A UPS also has a feature that automatically shuts down your computer safely if the power goes off. Plug the UPS directly into the wall and not into a power strip or surge protector. It has been said by experts that most hardware failures on a computer are caused by bad power.


Next step is your anti-virus program. Viruses often cripple or slow down your computer. A false belief is that you can only get a virus from emails. If you have DSL or roadrunner, you have a two way connection running all the time. You can easily get a virus from going to a web site or clicking ‘OK’ to a dialog box that seems safe.You need to have a virus program that you can get updates on adailybasis. If you let your anti-virus program expire, you will not be protected against any new viruses. One thing certain, is that there will always be new viruses written every day by sick and degenerate individuals who have nothing better to do.

Let us not forget about the worst infection, spy ware. A computer infected by spy ware can send information about you and your computer over the internet. That includes passwords, credit card numbers and any other personal data stored on your computer. Again, you need a current spy ware program that updates its protection on a daily basis. If you go to web sites where you can download free software or just about any adult web site, chances are that you will be infected. If you use software such as Limewire to download free music and software,the chances are very good that you will get a virus or spy ware.

Now that we are safe, let’s discuss some maintenance. A hard drive is where you store your programs and personal data, and is divided into folders and files. Almost like storing paperwork in a file cabinet.When you save a file on your computer, it is saved in the next available spot on your hard drive. In time your computer files are all out of order,which makes the system run slower by trying to find files and also cause your hard drive to work harder, which will cause it to wear out faster. There is a tool in windows called Defrag. This tool will move the files on the hard drive and put them in order. This should be done once a month. Sooner if you write a lot of files. You can find this program by going to ‘My Computer’, and right click your ‘C: Drive’ icon. Choose properties, select the ‘Tools’ tab on top, and finally choose the ‘Defragment Now’ button. Another useful tool is the ‘Error Check Now’ button. This checks your hard drive for any errors or corrupted files. It will run the next time you reboot and may take 10-15 minutes to complete. It will automatically fix any problems or warn you if you may need to purchase a new hard drive.


Last but not least; back up your data. Most people think that backing up ‘My Documents’ will save everything.Actually, it will only save documents, pictures, and music. If you want to save your Outlook, O u t l o o k E x p r e s s , I n t e r n e t favorites, contacts, and all your files on your desktop, then you need to find a folder c a l l e d ‘Documents and Settings’. Look for a folder with your name or the name of the profile you sign on with. That folder may be New User, V a l u e d Customer, Default, etc. Back up the entire folder. This includes all your personal files. The easiest way to back up your files is to have a second hard drive installed in your computer.If that’s too inconvenient, then you can also buy a USB external hard drive and save it that way.

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