Please Note:

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The tips below are focused mainly on Windows-based machines, since that is what the hackers are concentrating on. We anticipate that this page will evolve as technology changes. Please check back often for updates.

Your computer, like your vehicle, needs periodic maintenance in order to give you the performance that you would expect from it. Contrary to what you may have heard, there is no "set it and forget it" computer on the market. Change occurs and occurs often. Below are a few ways to keep your computer running efficiently. This list is a good start. However, it is not all-inclusive. Just remember that a well-maintained computer will give you much better service in the long run.

Tips and Advice

System Backup

If you have a computer, new or used, please make sure that you have a system recovery or system restore CD or DVD. This may have been provided by the manufacturer, or you may have been prompted to create one when you set up your computer. For older systems, you might have a CD or DVD of the original Operating System. Regardless of the age of the computer, if you have any of the above, then you have the means to restore your computer to the factory default should a major system failure occur. If not, we have the tools to help you to create a good backup of your system. Keep in mind that the older operating systems are no longer available for purchase. If you do not have a good backup, then you run the risk having to purchase a copy of a new operating system since the one you are currently using may not be available.

Full Backup

An even better strategy is to create and maintain a complete backup of your entire hard drive. This process usually involves purchasing an external hard drive and creating a bootable image on that drive that could be re-installed on your computer hard drive, if necessary. Also, doing scheduled backups (daily, weekly, monthly) after the initial full backup will help to keep your data from being lost. An alternative to this is the online backup. This involves uploading your files to an online service that would store your files for a fee. Either way, by following a good backup strategy you are always protected against data loss. This will one day prove to more than pay for itself!

Application Codes/Keys

In general, when you buy software, there is usually a code or key somewhere in the package that looks like a bunch of random letters and numbers. As you install the software, you will be asked to input this code/key. For every piece of software you have with a code/key, you will need to keep those CDs and DVDs, including the ones that came with your computer, in a safe place. Please do not separate the CD or DVD from the original jacket or box. Many applications must have this code/key to unlock the application when reinstalled. This code/key is often printed on the jacket, case, box, or on a card. Keep them in a safe place. If you do happen to lose the code/key, and you do not have a good backup of your hard drive, then you may end up having to buy another copy of that software.

Hardware Protection

Two ways to protect your computer hardware are the surge protector and the Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). In general, most UPS units also have a built-in surge protector. A surge protector will keep your equipment safe in case of a power spike, but not a power outage. Therefore, a better solution, mainly for desktop computers, is the UPS. This will keep your computer running long enough to safely shutdown during a power outage.

Software Protection

Be sure to have a good Internet Security Suite that includes a Firewall and Antivirus program and keep it up-to-date. These types of programs are constantly being updated and you will need these updates to fend off the latest hacker attacks. You will get some kind of prompt from the program when it is about to expire. Keep all operating system updates current, using Windows Update. Virus attacks are too common and costly. They can be avoided by simply investing in a good Internet Security Suite. If you have a router, wired or wireless, then you may already have a built-in hardware firewall. Check the owner’s manual that came with it. A hardware firewall is much more secure than a software firewall. If you do have a built-in firewall, then you would just need to find a good antivirus software. There are many excellent choices available, some are even free for personal use.

Let Us Help

Seriously consider setting up an appointment with Computer House Calls to help you with all the advice on this page. Our customers who have a good, current backup of their system, all the original application CDs and DVDs, surge protector/UPS, and good Internet Security with Firewall and Antivirus, have the fewest problems, lowest cost of ownership, and highest level of satisfaction with their computers. We can service these customers in a fraction of the time and quickly help them recover from any catastrophic event.