Take care of your computer

Prevention and maintenance are terms that we understand all too well when it comes to taking care of our patients. A few minutes of maintenance is much more important than spending hours of tearing your hair out in frustration - a practice I personally can`t afford to do.

Jeffrey B. Dalin, DDS

Prevention and maintenance are terms that we understand all too well when it comes to taking care of our patients. A few minutes of maintenance is much more important than spending hours of tearing your hair out in frustration - a practice I personally can`t afford to do.

Following is a schedule of procedures you should try to do on a routine basis. They will help keep your systems up and running efficiently.

THINGS TO DO ONCE

1. Make emergency boot floppies. These will be needed if your hard drive will not boot up. Most anti-virus programs will create these if you simply follow their instructions. In Windows 95 or 98, insert a floppy disk and go to "Start" menu, then select "Settings" and "Control Panel." Double-click on "Add/Remove Programs," click on "Start-up Disk" tab and click the "Create Disk" button (have your Windows CD-ROM ready for use here).

2. Use a surge suppressor. Ideally try to find one with a UL 1449 rating of 330 volts or less and at least 240 joules and a phone jack hook-up.

3. Consider getting a tape drive for backing up your hard drive.

THINGS TO DO EVERY MONTH

1. Test your back-up tapes and drives. Try to restore a few unimportant files to make sure they are working properly.

2. Update your virus definitions. Anti-virus manufacturers allow you to download updates.

THINGS TO DO EVERY TWO WEEKS

1. Back up your hard drive. This is the best way to prevent data-loss disasters.

2. Defrag your hard drive using the most complete setting.

3. Scan your hard drive. Use the disk scanner to check its condition. Make sure the "surface scan" option is on.

THINGS YOU SHOULD NEVER DO

1. Assume that disasters happen only to other people.

2. Unplug peripherals while your computer is turned on.

3. Turn off your computer without exiting Windows first.

4. Forget to do a thorough back-up before installing or upgrading your operating system.

5. Open a file you have just downloaded without your anti-virus program running in auto-scan mode.

6. Store floppy disks or back-up tapes near magnets, telephones, monitors, or refrigerators. Data can be wiped out.

7. Smoke, drink, or eat near computers. These items can cause damage.

8. Use books, golf clubs, baseball bats, clenched fists, or grab your mouse by the cord and start beating it against your computer when you get super-frustrated with it.

For those of you who are looking for explanations and fixes for problems that may arise, you may want to explore the following Web sites:

For Windows Users:

Windrivers.com

mediavis.com/tech/troubleshoot

ZDWindows

www.zdnet.com/windows

Annoyances.org

www.annoyances.org

CNET

home.cnet.com

Microsoft

www.microsoft.com/windows

Tip World

www.tipworld.com

For Macintosh Users

Apple

www.apple.com/macos

MacFixIt

www.macfixit.com

MacTips

www.macnn.com/mactips

Mac Speedzone

www.macspeedzone.com

For General Information

My Help Desk

www.myhelpdesk.com

Updates

www.updates.com

Always try to do what you can to prevent problems from occurring rather than dealing with disasters such as lost data, system corruptions, or worse.

Jeffrey B. Dalin, DDS, FACD, FAGD, practices general dentistry in St. Louis. He also is the editor of St. Louis Dentistry Magazine and spokesperson and critical-issue-response-team chairperson for the Greater St. Louis Dental Society. His address on the Internet is www.dfdasmiles.com. Contact him by e-mail at jeff@dfdasmiles.com, by phone at (314) 567-5612, or fax at (314) 567-9047.

More in Restorative Dentistry