How To Practice Preventative Maintenance


1. Make a Directory, called it what you want and save all critical files for you system there for safe keeping.

I call mine 1; That is C:\1. I have a Sub-Directory caled "Boot Loader" where I keep my Windows 2000 Multi-Boot files:

Drive C: contains all of the startup files for all operating systems. A listing of all files (including hidden files) should contain at least the following NT system startup files:

BOOTSECT.DOS
BOOT.INI
NTDETECT.COM
NTLDR

Once you've made your Rescue Directory, copy it to all your hard drives if you want.

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Troubleshooting computer problems can be rearding, frustrating, or (and most likely) both. PCs are sophisticated and complicated machines that require attention to detail and extreme care when you work on them. And, because a computer's hardware and software are entwined in a closely-knit hierarchy, it can be difficult determining if a given problem is hardware-related or software-related.

When you diagnose a problem, or simply add a new component to your computer, is it essential to make sure you have all the required information before you start -- always keep all the documentation associated with your computer and its parts. It is also important to take your time and to keep detailed notes when you are working. Don't assume that you'll remember which cable went where, I either put masking tape on a cable and write down on it the "what and where" or write on the cable itself. If your computer is giving you error messages, write them down word for word. Always start with the easiest, most obvious possibilities (power, cables, etc.) and move to the more difficult. Be methodical, and make any changes one at a time.

Preventive Maintenance

Keep your computer clean and dust free. Be careful if eating or drinking when using your computer - water and electronic devices do not mix well. Try to keep your computer in a relatively dust-free and temperature controlled environment. Buy a can of compressed air at your local computer store (it's well worth the money, but follow the directions for use carefully) and blow out the fans and vents regularly. If you keep your computer in a dusty place, open the cover and gently spray compressed air over the components inside as well, every so often. At the same time make sure all your cables are not frayed or crimped, and that their connectors are snug.

Keep your computer and its peripherals on a surge protection strip, if possible. Surge protectors are inexpensive devices that can absorb certain types of power fluctuations. If you don't have a surge protector, unplug your computer from the wall when it will go unused for an extended period, and never leave it plugged in during an electrical storm.
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