August 31, 2010

Maintaining a Computer during School Year, so both you and PC performs at its best!

A computer is a necessity for every student during the school year. Sure you can use the library computer, but it is not very convenient, or even slower and hard to use compared to your home computer. Plus, it is not always available since someone is using it already.

However, the teacher expects you to hand in a essay for English in a few days. Most teacher don't really care that your computer is slow, or broken. They expect you to hand in your work typed and on time.

Asking the computer teacher, school computer repair staff, and the nerdy computer wiz kid at your school for help can be unreliable since they might not want to help, are too slow to be any good, or they might want a favor back from you. It is best to keep your computer running at its best, so you can avoid asking for help by fixing and maintaining your computer yourself.

I give you some simple tips to maintain your computer during the school year so it runs its best to help you finish your homework faster, so you have more time to socialize with friends, play video games, or to review your work.

Tips for Maintaining your computer

1. Keep Windows updated by making sure Windows Update is updating Windows, or run Windows Update manually.

2. Use an Antivirus and AntiSpyware to protect your computer from the latest viruses and spyware.

AVG antivirus  works pretty well for at protecting my computer from viruses and spyware. Also, don't open weird e-mail attachments which you are not expecting if a friend sends you an e-mail attachment you are not expecting. E-mail them back, and ask if they actually sent you a e-mail attachment. Some E-mail viruses are very smart, and can send everyone's on your friends e-mail address list an e-mail virus, and make it look like your friend sent it. Also, don't download files from un-trusted sources like piracy sites, and weird download sites which seem unsafe.

3. If you do not have a Word Processor for your computer and can't afford or don't want Microsoft Office, I recommend OpenOffice which is a free Office Suite by Oracle. It saved me hundreds of dollars since I did not have to use Microsoft Word for any of my English Essays when I was in College.

4. You should also do a disk defrag, disk clean up, and registry clean up once a month or more in Windows. Occasionally like once every few months, you should clean the dust out of your desktop computer. If you use a laptop, it is harder to open the case to clean out the dust, so it does not overheat.

CompTIA A+ Certification All-in-One Exam Guide, Seventh Edition (Exams 220-701 & 220-702) is a great book which is easy to read on teaching users how to fix, maintain, upgrade and secure a Microsoft Windows Computer. This book also teaches you how to fix problems with your monitor, scanner, printer, internet, and other common problems every person ran or will eventually run in to when using a Windows computer. I read the 6th edition, and it taught me a lot about PCs and help me pass the A+ certification exam. The book has plenty of pictures, diagrams, and chapters which are very descriptive easy to follow articles on computer maintenance and repair for Windows. The Book also came with a great CD with videos, and quizzes to quiz me on how well I know the material in the book. This is the best computer book I ever read. If you decide to take the exam to be A+ certified, you may be able to use the A+ certification as a college or high school credit. This means you can take fewer courses as a requirement to graduate school.

5. Backup your homework files to a flash drive, or an external hard drive, and save often while you are typing out your essay, or doing other homework for English to avoid lost of all your work if there is a power outage, or your computer suddenly breaks. It is best to have two copies of your work. One on your computer, and another on a USB Flash drive, external hard drive, or CD.

Losing all your work because of a power outage, or broken computer can be very frustrating since you'll need to start all over again, and waste so much time which you can better use to review your essay, or do homework which you still need to do.

Your computer is broken, but at least you can still finish your homework on your friends, school, or family members computer. If you can't find a spare computer before the due date of your assignment,  you can hand in part of your homework, and explain to the teacher your computer broke. You'll hand the rest of the essay in tomorrow. It is better then saying "my computer broke, and I forgot to back up my homework. I have nothing to hand in."

6. I help countless people on the internet. Get their files back from a broken Windows computer by starting their computer from a Ubuntu live CD which can be used to recover files from a Windows computer which can't log-in to Windows.

Ubuntu can also be used to finish up your essay which you saved to your flash drive since Ubuntu comes with a copy of Open Office which is built-in to the CD operating system, so you can finish your work on time in Ubuntu instead of Windows which is broken.

7. I recommend not installing software which is not from a very trustworthy company or may slow down your computer on your computer you use for school. Sometimes installing programs may break Windows, make it slow, and unreliable, or not work properly. In the past, I install software for Windows which made Windows very unreliable, and freeze at random times. For a school computer, I think it should only need an office suite software like Open Office, Antivirus, Firewall if you are using Windows XP, Antispyware, and a few games.

8. It is best not to do computer upgrades and tweaks to your computer when you need it for school work since in the past, I did some tweaks to Windows which made it very unusable. If your computer works well, leave it a lone. I heard stories of people wrecking their computer by installing bad ram, or accidentally shocking their computer parts with static electricity. Also, avoid registry tweaks since messing with your registry can cause Windows to not start up or become very unreliable.

9. Image your computer drive. Sometimes a virus, spyware, malware, human error, or a program can mess up Windows where it is almost impossible to fix. Reinstalling Windows can be very time consuming since you need to look for the install/recovery CD for Windows, Windows Product key, and all the CDs  and product keys to reinstall your antivirus, office suites, games, etc. Also, you need to re-download, and install your Windows Update, drivers, and other software. This can take hours or days to do which will make finishing your homework on a computer more time consuming. But, if you image your Hard drive on to an external hard drive with software like Norton Ghost. It might only take a few minutes to a hours to recover from a bad Windows System Problem instead of days.

10. Whenever you install a new piece of software, it is best to backup your files, and make a system restore point in Windows XP or above, so you can go back to when your computer was working fine by doing a system restore.

11. Learn to back up your bookmarks in Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, FireFox, or whatever internet browser you use to a USB flash drive. Bookmarks are very useful since they are sometimes needed to remember our favorite school homework help sites. Losing bookmarks can be horrible since it means I need to go online and find the link again which is kind of hard if you forgot the name of the website.

12. Backup your most important homework files to online storage like Google Docs, or your Gmail or other e-mail account. It is pretty easy all you have to do is upload your Word files to Google Docs, or send an attachment to your own Gmail account address in Gmail. By having backups of your files on the internet, you don't have to fear losing all your homework files if your computer breaks, and your flash drive got stolen.

I hope these tips help you maintain your computer well, so you have more time to study to get better grades in school instead of spending most of your time fixing your computer when you should be studying.

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