General Computer Maintenance

Have you backed up your computer lately?  Don’t wait until it’s too late!  Here’s a tip that may help make it easier for you.

From – Tech Report, March 5, 2012 by Rich DeMuro:

So much of our lives are going digital, from photographs to important documents. But what happens when your computer crashes? Well thanks to high speed internet connections, keeping a backup of your computer files is easier than ever.

We all know we should be doing it. It’s like flossing your teeth; nobody really wants to do it and definitely not enough people do it; but you really have to do it.

It’s backing up your computer.

“A hard drive is a mechanical device. It has an average lifespan of about three to five years, which most people don’t realize. Eventually it’s going to fail,” said Barb Dybwad, head of

Computer failure these days means say goodbye to photos, important documents and emails. A new campaign from online backup service Carbonite drives the message home.

Tom Murray of Carbonite said, “We’re really excited about the ad. In the real world you never get a warning when your computer crashes and when you lose your files.”

Online backup services store your computer files on a remote server to keep them safe.

“If the product is easy to use and works automatically in our case, then you never have to worry about having a gap in the information that you’ve protected,” said Murray.

Barb said, “Carbonite is a great one, there’s Mozy, Sugarsync, BackBlaze, iDrive,, all of them are great to look into”.

Protection starts at about five dollars a month, some plans are unlimited, while others charge by how much you’re storing.

Even if you’re using iCloud, it might not be enough.

“By default you’re not actually backing up all of your files (on iCloud), the photostream only does a thousand and after that you’re not storing any more,” explains Barb.

I personally recommend backing up two ways, online, and with an external hard drive. That way you’re always covered no matter what happens. Check out all of the online services mentioned, right here:


View the video at,0,7796554.story

It’s never too late to set up a back up system for your files…until your hard drive dies and you’ve lost everything that was on it!

Microsoft just announced that support is ending for some older versions of the Windows operating system (OS).

  • Support for Windows Vista without any service packs will end on April 13, 2010.
  • Support for Windows XP with Service Pack 2 (SP2) will end on July 13, 2010.

If you’re running one of these versions after support ends, you won’t get security updates for Windows. This means that your computer will be at risk for viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. If you don’t know what version of Windows you’re running, click the following link to see Which version and service pack am I running?

Is it the end of the world? No. But you do want to make sure you’re able to keep your data safe.

Advances in hardware and software technology have shortened the useful life of the average computer to about five years. After five years, they become obsolete. If your computer is older than about 5 to 6 years, you may think about looking into replacing it.

If you do, please refer to my WebSight Viewpoint Nos. 20 and 21 for tips on getting rid of an old computer.

Strangely, I’ve heard from several people in the last month, that had a acquired a computer virus and had lost all of their data.  This is a gentle reminder to remember to 1) back up your data regularly; and 2) if you have a PC, follow these tips to help protect your computer.  If you have a Mac, you may not be as susceptible to an attack, however it is still important that you protect your system.

  1. Use an Internet firewall.
    Note: Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP with SP2 have a firewall already built-in and turned on by default.
  2. Visit Microsoft Update to verify your settings and check for updates.
    Note: If you’ve installed the most recent version of Microsoft Office, Microsoft Update will also update your Microsoft Office programs.
  3. Subscribe to antivirus software and keep it current.  Some more reputable software names are Norton Antivirus and McAfee, that cost somewhere around $40/year.  Microsoft has come out with a new FREE download, Microsoft Security Essentials, for Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.
  4. Never open an e-mail attachment from someone you don’t know.
  5. Avoid opening an e-mail attachment from someone you know, unless you know exactly what the attachment is. The sender may be unaware that it contains a virus.
  6. Use a standard user account unless you need to use an administrator account.  The standard account can help protect your computer by preventing users from making changes that affect everyone who uses the computer, such as deleting files that are required for the computer to work.

When you are logged on to Windows with a standard account, you can do almost anything that you can do with an administrator account, but if you want to do something that affects other users of the computer, such as installing software or changing security settings, Windows might ask you to provide a password for an administrator account, therefore protecting your computer.

Keep your business (and personal) documents and systems safe and avoid the headache.

Do you hook into your home network wirelessly with your laptop?

It’s tempting to want to hurry through the job in order to get your Internet connectivity working as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, you may either forget to go back and set the security, assume the default settings are already secure, or decide that the process is too complicated to bother. Without the basic securities set, the information that you hold on your computer will be wide open to hackers.

If you have no need for wireless connectivity and you use only desktop machines, turn off the wireless capability on your router to keep outsiders from connecting to your network and using the service you’re paying for.

For more information on wireless network security, read this article on

If you’re not sure what to do, hire a reputable company to come in set up your network for you and keep your network safe.

Washington State now has a FREE, convenient and environmentally responsible recycling program for computers, monitors, laptops and televisions.

Households, small businesses, schools & school districts, small governments, special purpose districts, and nonprofits & charities can recycle electronic products free of charge in this program.

Call 1-800-RECYCLE or visit to locate electronic product recycling services in your area.

You can recycle :

  • televisions
  • computers
  • computer monitors
  • portable or laptop computers

If your computer or TV is working and in good condition see if someone else may be able to use it.

  • Contact charities or non-profits in your area to see if they would be able to use or resell your computer or TV.
  • Call your local solid waste or public works office to find out what options are available in your community for donating or reuse.
  • Sell your item through local classifieds or use an online website.
  • Ask if a participating E-Cycle Washington collector will donate or resell your item.

Source: State of Washington, Department of Ecology at

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