It is extremely important to create backup copies of any data on your computer that you cannot afford to lose and this cannot be emphasized enough. You should backup your files on a regular basis. Here are some of the ways that you can lose your important data:
Hard drive failure
Deleting in error
File system corruption
To reduce the possibility of data loss, you should perform regular computer maintenance. Here are some methods that will allow you to perform backups:
Removable Storage Drives (CD-RW, DVD-RW)
Additional Internal Hard Drive
Removable Hard Drives
I would not recommend using floppy disks (as a method of backing up your data) since they are slow and do not have the capacity for storing large files.
If you use Windows XP Professional and upwards, you can learn how to backup and recover your information by using the Backup Utility provided.
Here are some backup tips:
Keep a set of backup rescue disks for your operating system.
Keep a backup copy of your original software.
Backup as quickly as possible after creating a document that you cannot afford to lose!
Computer Maintenance will save you money and time
Empty Your Recycle Bin:
Empty Recycle Bin to free up hard drive space.
On your computer's desktop, right click on your 'Recycle Bin' icon, select File then Empty Recycle Bin. Click 'Yes'. Exit Recycle Bin.
Empty Your Internet Cache:
Whenever you surf the Internet, your computer will store web pages along with images in a temporary Internet cache. This allows you to be able to recall and access information at any time. But, the disadvantage is that it will 'eat' up your hard drive space. You should, therefore, periodically delete this by following the instructions provided in the 'Help' files within the program.
Empty Your Mail Boxes:
The messages that are left in your e-mail boxes will take up needed space. Periodically empty these by following the instructions provided in the 'Help' files within the program.
Uninstall Unused Programs:
Unused programs will clutter your hard drive. Use the Windows 'Uninstall' feature of your O/S.
Install Anti-Virus Software (with Firewall Protection):
You should ALWAYS keep your virus checker and firewall enabled and updated for complete virus protection. Click here to view my Anti-Virus Guide
Create an Emergency Boot Disk:
This is a very important computer maintenance procedure. You should create an emergency boot disk as soon as possible after getting your computer. This is a disk that has critical information that you will need if Windows fails to start.
An emergency boot disk will allow you to load your operating system if your hard drive crashes. This will enable you to try to recover the data from your hard drive. Read about creating boot disks here.
Upate your Windows Operating System:
You should continuously update your Windows Operating System with the latest Windows Security patches. Flaws in the Microsoft Windows Operating System could put your computer at risk to worms and viruses.
You can also automate your Windows Update by right clicking My Computer and selecting Properties. Click the 'Automatic Updates' tab and select the 'Automatic' button. Click 'Apply' then OK.
Click here for the latest Microsoft Update. It scans your computer and provides you with a selection of updates tailored just for you. On the Windows Update web page, click on 'Check for Updates', then follow the instructions.
P.S. You can also access Microsoft's Product Support Services by clicking here.
Purchase a UPS:
UPS means an Uninterruptible Power Supply. A UPS incorporates a surge protector and backup power. In case of a power loss, it will allow your computer to shut down in an orderly way by allowing you to save your work. It will also protect it from low and high voltage, voltage spikes and brownouts. Click here to view my Surge Suppressor and UPS Emergency Backup System Guide.
Computer Maintenance protects your computer from Adware and Spyware
Remove Adware and Spyware:
Adware and spyware are programs that are installed on your computer without your knowledge or permission by individuals so as to keep track of your Internet activities. They then use the information that they collect for advertising and possibly fraudulent activities.
These programs use up your valuable computer resources and, if allowed to continue, might cause your computer to shut down and could even result in your computer behaving in an unusual manner.
There are a number of free anti-malware software that are available. Listed below are some of the best that you can try. Even though these software are free, they can compare favorable with paid versions:
http://www.malwarebytes.org - Malwarebytes is a site dedicated to fighting malware. Malwarebytes has developed a variety of tools that can identify and remove malicious software from your computer. When your computer becomes infected, Malwarebytes can provide the needed assistance to remove the infection and restore the machine back to optimum performance.Click here to download.
http://www.superantispyware.com/download.html - SUPERAntiSpyware Free Edition is 100% Free and will detect and remove thousands of Spyware, Adware, Malware, Trojans, KeyLoggers, Dialers, Hi-Jackers, and Worms. SUPERAntiSpyware features many unique and powerful technologies and removes spyware threats that other applications fail to remove.Click here to download
SpyBot - Search & Destroy - This is free software that searches your hard drive for spyware and adware. It can also detect keyloggers, trojans, browser hijackers, registry irregularities and security leaks. This program's database is continuously updated.
Click here and go to their Web site for more information.
Ad-Aware SE Personal Edition - This is software that will scan your hard drive and gives you removal alternatives. The program's database is also continuously upated. We encourage you to visit the Lavasoft Web site by clicking here for more information.
Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware - Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware (Windows Defender Spyware Protection) is a security technology that helps protect Windows users from spyware and other potentially unwanted software. Known spyware on your PC can be detected and removed.
You can download it here.