It's way easier (and far less expensive) to prevent a problem than it is to fix one. So, here are some tips that can help you avoid costly repairs.
These tips can help save your computer, your data, and your sanity!
1. Get a UPS. ("Uninterruptible Power Supply", or "battery backup") These shoebox sized devices contain a battery that will instantaneously supply power to your computer in the event of a power failure. Sudden power loss is the most frequent cause of computer crashes that can damage your machine.
2. Use an effective virus checker. "Free" virus checkers generally do not do a very good job of protecting your machine. If you really want to protect your computer from viruses, get a strong commercial product like Kaspersky, ESET, or Trend PC Micro.
3. Turn your machine off at night. Leaving your machine on wastes electricity and reduces the lifespan of your hard drive. It also makes you vulnerable to power outages and hackers. To operate efficiently, Windows and Mac software needs to be shut down and restarted on a daily basis.
4. Let your laptop use its battery on a regular basis. Many people use their laptop while plugged in to wall power. Over time, this diminishes the ability of the battery to hold a full charge. Once a week, unplug your laptop and use it until it gives you a "low battery" warning. If your battery won't hold a charge, replace it. That will prevent the laptop from crashing if the wall outlet loses power.
5. Don't load free software unless you look it up first. Many reasonably named "free" programs are really designed to put "pop up" ads on your computer. If you really want to install some freeware, take a minute to Google the program to see if other computer users have complained about it.
6. Use an offsite backup system. If you use a simple USB drive to back up your data, the same fire or flood that destroys your computer can destroy your backup too. We recommend that you use Carbonite or a similar service to protect your irreplaceable data.
7. If you hear your hard drive making clicking noises, shut down your machine right away. Saving the data from a failing hard drive is relatively easy. If you wait and run the drive until it dies, it's much harder (and sometimes impossible) to reclaim your data.
8. If you develop a computer problem, try to solve it for about 10 minutes. If you can't solve it in that time, call us before you accidentally do real damage. It's better for your computer -- and your blood pressure!