My best computer tricks & tips

The 80/20 rule is alive and well in the world of computers. 80% of problems can be solved simply with these few tricks.  The other 20% are usually harder and have a vast array of solutions.  Here are my best tricks & tips, in order of importance (to me):

  1. Backup your computer.  Backup at least once a week, once a day is better.  The saddest calls I get are people that have had their computer hard drive go bad and they have no backup.  All their pictures, music and documents....gone forever.  Remember ALL hard drives fail...its just a question of when.  Protect yourself with a good backup.
  2. Write down your passwords.  I would guess that 1/3 of my business comes from helping people with lost or forgotten passwords.  Of course, I am glad to help, but the solution is so simple:  write down your passwords.  I recommend a cheap spiral bound notebook.  Create a page for each type of login so you can find them easily (a page for your banks, another for shopping, another for fun (Facebook, etc), another for research, etc.  Stick the notebook in a drawer somewhere.  If the bad guys come into your home they will be looking for your computer, not a spiral notebook.  DO NOT store your passwords in a file on your computer.  Nuf said.
  3. Restart your computer.  Restarting computers is really the miracle drug.  If things are not acting like they should, in any way, in any app, the FIRST thing you should do is restart it - before you even ask anyone about the problem.  Many times the restart will fix it.  In fact, make sure to restart your computer a few times a week (Macs need it maybe once or twice, PCs like it almost daily).

There you have it - three of my best tricks and tips, out in the open.  Tell your friends!