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TIP #10 - Store the software & drivers that came with your computer in a place that can easily be found.  Most people feel that they can just download everything that is needed if they lose the original software. This is true in most cases, but what happens if you need to re-install your network card driver (needed for cable, DSL or Lan internet access) or modem driver (needed for dial-up internet). You won't be able to access the internet to download the drivers you need. And if you lose your Operating System CD, you won't be able to download it.
TIP #9 - Do not let every program load when you start your computer. Most of these programs have icons that are located on the bottom right of your screen on the taskbar. Each program that starts up automatically, uses a piece of memory. By having all of these programs load automatically, you may just slow down your computer or at the worst, cause your computer to crash due to software incompatibility. Most of these programs do not need to be started automatically & shouldn't. You can just put an icon on your desktop & open it after the operating system loads. Some of the programs that need to open automatically are virus software, and most system software (ex. Norton anti-virus & Systemworks programs). It's also a good idea to have your firewall software load automatically so you don't forget to open it later.
TIP #8 - Keep at least 25% of your hard disk space free. 33% is better. If you run out of physical memory (RAM) windows uses a block of space created on your hard drive to substitute for the lack of RAM. This is called a swapfile. It is used when you exceed your physical memory. It's is also called virtual memory. Virtual memory enables you to keep working & not receive out of memory errors because all RAM is used. Virtual memory is a file located on your hard drive. It is much slower than RAM & should not be used constantly. If it is used constantly your computer will run very sluggishly. But you still need the space to keep your computer running. So don't fill up your hard drive to capacity. Uninstall or delete all unnecessary programs & files.
TIP #7 - Run Scandisk & a full Defrag on your hard drive at least once a month. This will check your drive for errors & correct them & organize your data for quicker retrieval. You will be surprised how much this can speed up your computer. These utilities are included with all Windows operating systems except Windows NT. They also have third party programs available for all versions of windows. Norton Utilities & Diskeeper are 2 very popular ones. They are much faster than the one included with your operating system but you will receive the same result with any of them.
TIP #6 - Backup your data. We can't stress this enough. Most people do not do this and think their hard drive will never fail. Most new computers come with a CD-RW or a DVD+-RW. If your data is important make sure you take a couple of minutes to back it up. If you do not have one of these drives, a floppy or zip disk will do. We suggest cd's since they will not go bad if you take care of them and put them in a case.
TIP #5 - Never turn your computer off without shutting it down. The only exception is when your computer locks up. Make sure the hard drive light is not blinking before you do this. You will lose your data but you will prevent your hard drive from being ruined. Always try to press Crtl+Atl+Delete & reboot first. If you can't because of a system lock up, make sure the hard drive light is off & then press the power switch.
TIP #4 - Have some type of firewall software or hardware between the internet & your computer. Hackers can easily get to you without it. You may also think that dialup is safe, you are very wrong.  The chances are very slim that your computer will be hacked into but it is there. It's better to be safe than sorry.
TIP #3 - Dust kills. Kills your PC that is. Your computer will always pick up dust, smoke or other foreign particles but an excess of these particles can destroy your computer. Drives will fail, fans will stop operating, or components can short out. Repair will always cost you more than preventive maintenance. Clean your computer. If you do not feel comfortable doing it call us or any computer service company that offers preventative maintenance services. Open your PC's cover or look at the fan that is on the power supply. If it is caked with dust, your PC needs to be cleaned.
TIP #2 - Purchase a UPS. Your computer runs on electricity and needs a constant regulated flow of it. Any surges or browns will cause you computer to malfunction either immediately or over time. Computer components are very sensitive to electrical fluctuations. Buy a UPS that offers AVR (Automatic Voltage Regulation). If it does not offer AVR do not buy it. Most low end UPS's only protect against surges (increased voltage). They offer no protection against browns ( lower voltage) which are very harmful. UPS's with AVR protect against both.
TIP #1 - Always have virus software installed on your PC and keep it up to date. We stress keep it up to date. Most people think that just having virus software on their computer is good enough. This is not. Your virus software must be kept up to date & expires 1 year after you installed it. When you log on to the internet you can either open the virus software's update program or set the software to automatically download when an internet connection is sensed (preferred method). This is not a 100% guarantee that you will not have a virus infect your computer but close to it. You could be one of the unlucky few to be infected before a virus has been recognized & a detection routine has been released by your virus software company. The top software manufacturers for the home are Symantec (Norton Anti-Virus) & McAfee (Virus Scan). These are the best so try not to purchase anything but one of these packages.


If you need help on performing any of the above tips, please call @ Home Computer Services and a certified technician will be happy to help you. Click HERE or dial (718) 531-2445.







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