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Tips & Tweaks

Below is a list of some of the most important things you can do to maintain and troubleshoot your computer, and following them will help keep your computer running, or if there is a problem, help you find it and perhaps fix it yourself.

1.       Make sure you have Windows System Restore set on - you can find this at Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System restore. System Restore is a great tool that can often save you from Windows crashes, or virus/sypware infections by allowing you to reset your computer to the state it was in before the problems occurred (Note: using system restore only reverses the changes of programs and drivers added to your computer and will not erase any documents or personal files).  System restore is often the best place to start when your computer won't run properly and can be run from normal Windows or from safe mode (see #4).  One special note about Viruses and system restore points, if you computer becomes infected with a Virus, once you are sure you have gotten rid of it, it is a good idea to turn off system restore to remove restore points which may still contain the virus, then turn it back on to start fresh.

2.       Know how to get into Windows Safe Mode - to do this, when the computer first starts, when you see the very first black screen before Windows starts, press the F8 key repeatedly (about once a second) until you see the safe mode menu - if you see the normal Windows starting to load you missed it, turn the computer off and try again. Windows Safe mode was designed to let you get into Windows when normal Windows isn't working properly. It loads only the basic Windows Drivers, and often it can help you fix a driver issue, or even remove a stubborn virus or spyware program.

3.       Ensure that your computer, your monitor, and your cable (or phone line) are all routed through an adequate surge protector.  Many computer's are toasted by electrical surges that could have easily been prevented had the components been plugged into a surge protector (note: a power strip is NOT a surge protector). You want a surge protected that is rated for electronics, most of the good ones will come with a guarantee. It is especially important that your cable, and or phone line is also routed through a surge protector as both cable and phone lines are conductors that go directly into your computer components without going through any kind of circuit breaker (in other words, if lightning hits the lines, it has a straight shot right into your computer).



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