Dealing with Your Pending PC Disaster: A Guide for Small Business

Apr 18 21:00 2004 Steven Presar Print This Article

It isn't a matter of if it will happen to you but -- when. PC users may be divided into two groups -- those who have had a disaster and those who will have to deal with a PC ... For you, more to

It isn't a matter of if it will happen to you but -- when. PC users may be divided into two groups -- those who have had a disaster and those who will have to deal with a PC disaster.

For you,Guest Posting more to the point is how you will react to it! Will it be major disaster that will put you and your business at a stand-still? Or will it be a minor inconvenience of a couple hours down time? Or better yet, are you willing to make the effort now to prevent the disaster from striking your PC system completely! It may be done if you follow some of the following some simple steps to make your life a lot more pleasant.

First of all, your computer system hates heat. Even if you are a good housekeeper; dust, skin flakes, hair, etc. will make their way into your computer. This dust then attaches its self to your computer's internal components. This will increase the temperatures by insulating components and causing failures. It may also increase the risk of an electrical short within your system.

In addition, your computer system should be cleaned at least once a year. It should be scheduled even more often, if your office area contains a lot of airborne dust. It follows, that you should always place your computer, monitor, printer, etc. in a well ventilated area to keep it from overheating. In addition, avoid placing your computer system in direct sunlight.

Another danger for your computer system is electric surges. If you are one of the people who do not have a surge protector on your computers, printers, scanners, etc. -- correct that right away! Be sure to use proper surge protection for your computer, printer, etc. This included your telephone lines for your modem. Your surge protector should have a UL 1449 rating. The best protection is an UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply).

When installing a new hardware component to your computer system, ground all of the components. One lesser known surge conductor is your office's telephone line. PCs hooked directly into the wall's phone jack should also have a surge protector for that line.

An electric surge can also blow your computer's motherboard (controls the data movement within your computer) and cause some major problems.

Use your Microsoft Windows' disk scan on your hard drive once a week. Use your Windows' defrag utility once a month. These utilities may be used through your Windows system tools. [Go to START, PROGRAMS, ACCESSORIES, SYSTEM TOOLS, then ScanDisk or Defragmeter. Be sure to turn off your screen saver before you run your hard disk defrag.]

To aid you in maintaining your computer, invest in a good utility software package that includes a computer virus detection utility. Both Norton and McAfee are good packages for this purpose. Virus protection is one of the hot topics within the computer industry today. If you have not installed a virus scanning utility on your computer -- do it A.S.A.P. This is especially important if you use a live DSL or cable for Internet access. Your computer system is susceptible to outsiders probing your computer files or transmitting a virus to your computer system. With one of these Internet connections, you must be even more vigilant.

Be sure to go online and update virus scanning utility regularly so that you can protect your system from the latest computer virus circulating. New viruses circulate the Internet daily and you will not be fully protected unless your virus detection software is as current as possible. Another basic virus protection tip -- most computer viruses are transmitted via email attachments. Thus, do not open email attachments from email addresses that you do not know.

Be sure to keep your Windows Start-up disk (3 1/2" "diskettes") or CD, current. It may be your only way to recover from a Windows start-up problem when your hard drive "boot" files have become corrupted. [Go to START, SETTINGS, ADD/REMOVE PROGRAMS, then select the STARTUP DISK tab.]

If you have make it this far, here are the three most important points of this article;

~ Backup your files
~ Backup your files
~ Backup your files

As mention before, whether you are struck by a hard drive crash or a victim of one of the ever increasing number of computer viruses circulating today, how quickly you can recover or even prevent it -- may determine whether it is a disaster or an inconvenience.

The most important thing that you can do on that point is to backup all of your critical data files on a regular basis.

Disks (3 1/2" "diskettes") are still the most common way most people back-up their data files. The data files are the files that you want to make sure that you back-up on a regular bases. Data files are the files that you build when you use a program or "application" such as your word processor or spread sheet. You should schedule your backup of these files according to importance of the information stored within the file. If it is your daily client contact list or accounts receivables information that are critical to the success of your business, then backup those files every day. Other data information files may only have to be backed-up once a week.

Since you have your original applications on CD or disk, you do not have to back-up those program files at all. You may use the original CD or disk to reinstall the application as needed.

Generally, CDs are a more durable back-up medium. More and more people are using their read/write CD drive to handle their data back-up.

If you have a lot of data or images to back-up, look into adding a Zip drive to your computer. The detachable Zip disks store as much information as the old hard drives of a few years ago.

Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a lost cause when it comes to computer recovery. Any data can be recovered, it depends on how important it is and how much money you're willing to spend. Even if you fail to properly prepare for the recovery, you can turn the process over to your local computer professional to attempt to recover your computer system -- at a price!

Copyright Steven Presar

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Steven Presar
Steven Presar

Steven Presar is a recognized small business technology coach, Internet publisher, author, speaker, and trainer. He provides personal, home, and computer security solutions at He provides business software reviews at In addition, he publishes articles for starting and running a small business at Be sure to sign-up for the SOHO newsletter at the site.

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