Do now — or pay later

The more preparation you do in the beginning means less dollarsmoney paid to a certified technician later on to correct problems that could have been avoided had you done these things.

See below for itemized details

  • Burn your recovery discs to DVDs and store them in a safe place.

Why do I say “burn” your recovery discs? Most manufacturers no longer include the media discs with their computers. If you got them, you’re fortunate. Otherwise, you will need to purchase some DVD blanks. A pack of 10 DVD+R discs will be sufficient. If you prefer, you can also create a bootable USB flash drive (minimum 8GB capacity) to achieve this. Locate the “Create recovery discs” utility that will guide you through the process of making the recovery discs. Be sure to have paper sleeves for storing your discs and use a Sharpie pen to label them. For an indepth how-to article click here for instructions from Bob Rankin, renowned author and technical adviser.

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  • Backup your data

You will not want to lose your documents, pictures, e-mail, and other valued items. A computer hard drive will crash at some time in the future. Not ‘if’ but ‘when’ it does it is sometimes without warning. An established backup regimen is the only way to avoid losing all your data. You will need an external USB hard drive that is equal or greater in capacity than your computer. You have a choice of using a backup program or doing what is commonly referred to as the ‘drag and drop’ method. For detailed information on drag & drop method click here.  Windows 10 also has a backup utility included.

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  • Install Antivirus and malware protection software

Proven antivirus and malware protection is the most important software that you can have on any Windows operating system. The frequency of problems that you will encounter without it will amaze and frustrate you to the point of insanity.

Included in Windows 10 is the package entitled Windows Defender. While it is certainly better than no protection, it is not the best for your computer.

I recommend Emsisoft antivirus and malware protection. They charge a reasonable fee annually and their tech support is superior. Click here for more information about Emsisoft. 

If you perhaps question the need for AV and malware protection/detection/cleansing software click here and take the time to read this article. It should more than sequester any doubts in your mind.

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  • Windows & application updates

During Windows 10 setup be sure to enable automatic updates. Also check for updates to your applications such as word processor suites, personal document readers (.PDF), and any others that you have installed. Being vigilant will put you in the best possible position to avoid security violations by miscreants.

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  • Do away with trial-ware

You ask what this is? The software distributors pay the computer manufacturer for the right to place trial versions of their software package on the computer. Some examples of this are Microsoft Office, Norton Security Suite, McAfee Security Suite, and many others.

These trial software products are limited life. They will discontinue to function after a short period of time, usually 30 to 90 days, unless you pay and register them. It is theoretically possible to spend $1000 or more in the purchase of this software if you bought all of them. This is in most cases more than the computer cost initially.

There are several methods by which you can uninstall trial-ware or any other unwanted/unused software application. Some programs have their own uninstallation tool available. You could also go to the Control Panel, find Programs, and go to Uninstall Programs.

However, the best way to do this is to download a free program entitled GeekUninstaller. By using this application you will be able to uninstall the software and also automatically clean all registry entries as well. A free version as well as a commercial version is available. The free version will work beautifully for you unless you just like to spend money.

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  • Identify support technician

In the event the issue your computer has developed is beyond your skill set, you need to have someone that you trust to professionally return your computer to its proper working order. We all have a family friend or maybe even a relative who is a qualified technician. However, a word of caution. There are many ‘friends’ out there that genuinely believe they are technicians. When the end of the day arrives, you’ll know they had good intentions but just didn’t get the job done.

There was a computer user who had a problem with his e-mail client. His neighbor professed to be a ‘technician.’ He came to the users house and ran disk defragmentation and antivirus cleansing programs on the unit. It didn’t correct the problem. He stated that nothing more could be done. He collected $100 for essentially repairing nothing. Another qualified technician connected to the users computer remotely, repaired the problem in less that ten minutes, and charged a minimal amount.

Moral of this story is simple. Do business with reputable information technology professionals. Don’t be shy in asking exactly what their credentials consist of and how long they have been in the industry. This will save you a lot of grief and money. For more tips on how to select a qualified computer repair technician click here for more suggestions.

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  • Obtain training to enable you to be a wiser computer user

The information technology field is all about change. It never sits still. The best avenue that you can follow to give you a firm foundation to use your computer effectively now and to seamlessly deal with the future changes is to obtain training in the complete use and functions of your operating system, Microsoft Windows 10.

Your local community college is an excellent source to consider. They will have a number of courses in the IT field to offer.

If you are interested in on-line training I would suggest Ed2Go Online Courses. They are reasonably priced and well worth the investment. I have taken a number of selections from Ed2Go and have been completely satisfied.

If you care to explore free on-line training I would recommend GCFLearnFree.Org. They offer tutorials including Windows 10, e-mail, Mac OS, Linux, and more.

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