Your computer is a tool, subject to mechanical failure, like any other tool. As a tool, there are a wide variety of things that you can do as preventative measures to avoid having a problem, or when a problem occurs, there are some standard things to try to correct the problem.
Having a current backup is the best preventative measure you can take. If your computer suffers a major problem or is stolen, you can restore your data to another computer. There are many different ways to backup your computer - over the network to a different computer, to a CD-ROM drive hooked to your computer, or to an external hard drive. It doesn't matter which method you chose, as long as you backup your data on a regular basis. Also, it is a good idea to occasionally test your backups to make sure you are getting what you want.
Installing & Removing Programs
Installing new programs or versions of programs occasionally cause problems. A good idea to keep your system healthy is to not install a new program or upgrade an existing one based on a review or article you read. Keep in mind that you may not need the new features mentioned in the upgrade, or that you already have a program that does everything the new one promises. New versions of programs can include new problems, as well as fixing old ones.
If you do install new software, always make sure that no other application is running before you start the install. If an application is running, then a system file may be locked that the new program needs to update.
If you start to install a program, and before the installation process is complete you decide to cancel the installation, click "Cancel". Do not just close the window. Clicking "Cancel" will cause the installation program to back itself out cleanly. Closing the installation window may leave files and settings that may cause problems.
If you have installed a program and find that you don't use it, uninstall it. Do this by clicking Start, Control Panel, then accessing Add/Remove Programs. Highlight the program you want to remove, then click the Add/Remove button. If a message appears referring to deleting shared files, always select to keep the file. Do not delete it. If you are unsure as to if a program was pre-installed by IT, just call the IT Helpdesk and we will advise you.
Another possible problem could be that a virus has infected your system. We provide Symantec Anti-Virus for Windows. The virus definitions are updated daily and a virus scan is performed every Friday to ensure that your system is clean.
Disk Defragmenter is a utility Microsoft provides with its operating systems for routine maintenance on drives. It defragments files that have been spread over a hard drive in non-contiguous sectors. This can significantly increase speed on your computer. You cannot defragment network drives, assigned or substituted drives, or drives compressed with utilities other than DriveSpace or DoubleSpace. You should make a backup of your files before running Disk Defragmenter.
To start this utility, click Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools then Disk Defragmenter. Select the drive you want to defragment. The utility shows you how fragmented the drive is, and tells you whether defragmenting is recommended. Click Start if you want to defragment the drive. This can take a long time! However, the defragmenting can be stopped at any point.
Another common problem is that the cable between the computer and a component has become loose or fallen off entirely. If you are having problems with your keyboard, mouse, monitor, or any other peripheral, turn off your computer, unplug that component, plug it back in, then turn the computer back on to see if the problem has been corrected.