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Protect Your Computer

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         Views: 1736
2008-05-11 08:29:07     
Article by Priscilla Garrett

What happens to your business if your hard drive fails? What happens if a computer virus eats through your operating system? What happens when you try to retrieve information from a storage cd only to discover it does not work?

If you run an internet business, chances are you are working from your home computer.

Robert Earl Gambrel, a veteran computer technician who services computers in homes and businesses in the Tampa Bay area, offers this advice.

"Important files and documents can be stored on a second hard drive, an external hard drive, or flash drives.

"Making back-up discs or cds is time-consuming, a waste of space, and in most cases won't hold all the information you need to store," he told me.

Instead, Gambrel uses 8-gig plug-in flash drives for much of his own business. He has them named for the day of the week to store information he does not need to keep indefinitely. "These devices are reliable," he said. He's been using his for about seven years.

"Backing up information to an external drive is easy," Gambrel said. He advises using the briefcase utility that is available in your operating system.

To create a briefcase using Windows, click Start then click My Computer. Click the folder you want to use for your briefcase. Select the device where you will create your brief case. On the File menu, select New, and then click Briefcase.

The value in choosing Briefcase to back-up files is that you can synchronize your files. That means when you run your back-up using Briefcase, you are only copying the new files or documents from your business folder.

When setting up my Briefcases, I used the click-and-drag feature in Windows Explorer. That way I could see that the transfer of correspondence, training materials and so forth were being copied to the correct destination. Keep in mind, if you have all your current business files scattered throughout My Documents, you need to organize them into specific files first. Otherwise, all those files. Both business-related and personal, will wind up in a single briefcase.

I asked Gambrel if his customers were still having problems with viruses. He assured me viruses continue to thrive on the internet.

For his own computer, Gambrel's chooses not to use the big subscription programs. He recommends using free software to protect your computer, instead. He personally uses the free versions of AVG, AdAware and Spybot 1.52. "Those programs and the built-in firewall within your operating system is generally enough protection," he told me. "The problem with those big programs is that they slow down your computer." Eventually, their problems and idiosyncrasies escalate to the point of needing a technical expert like Gambrel or making you believe you need a new computer.

If you do wind up with crashes and slow boots, unless you are a computer expert don't try to fix it yourself, Gambrel warned. These could indicate that your operating system has been attacked by a virus. "Turn it off immediately and take it to a technician," he said.

"If the virus has just started, chances are your technician will be able to retrieve most or all of your files." The problem with document retrieval is that computer owners try to track down the problem themselves, often creating pathways for the virus to travel, and enabling it to destroy an increasing number of files.

If you have had a virus identified on your computer, chances are it might have spread to your external drive or flash drives. "Always run a virus scan on those devices before reconnecting them to your computer," Gambrel advised.

Priscilla Garrett and her daughter and are currently making their way into cyberspace commerce. Please read my online diary recording our adventure at http://www.healthwiseandgreen.org

Specialized in: Computer
URL: http://www.healthwiseandgreen.org
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