Saturday, January 14, 2006

Out of Commission…But Be Forewarned…I’m Back!

Man oh man alive. Whooooooooo!

Well…I’ve been out of commission since last week, computer wise that is. But I am back up and running. What a week to have my computer down....with all the stories in the news during the last week! The miner tragedy compounded by miscommunication that went uncorrected, the Alito hearing, some illustrious senators grandstanding and thinking that the world revolves around them (okay…so that’s not new), and Ariel Sharon in a coma…and possibly on his death bed.

It’s very hard to do research on stories when your computer can’t get online. Now that it’s working again…I’m more appreciative than ever for my computer and the amazing age in which we live and the resources that are available at the click of a mouse.

My little adventure in “computer malfunction and repair” came about when I got the swell idea to install more RAM in my computer. Easy enough, right? Ah…not quite. Something went wrong during the process. Not only would Mr. Computer not recognize the RAM…but somewhere along the line a couple of DLL files were corrupted. Files that Zone Alarm needed to operate. Not only operated…but also needed in order to delete the program altogether.

But in the process of this little adventure I have learned and want to pass along a few tips in case you are not already practicing good computer habits.

1) Back up your computer. Back up, back up and back up. Fortunately this was something that I get a passing mark on. Now you can back up to CD’s or DVD’s…but that takes time. Yes you should do that…but for a quicker and fuller back up there are the
portable external hard drives or USB drives that you can use to back up your files quite easily. It takes a fraction of the time…and you can back up everything you need and want to.

2) Now another area that I get a passing grade on is having an anti virus, spyware and ad-ware removal programs. Some of which are free…and I’ve been using over the past few year. I give them a thumbs up. While I did have problems…it was entirely unrelated to a virus or spyware. So here are a few links and recommendations:

Ad-aware 6.0 – this program is free…and used in conjunction with other programs…it will help clean off the ad/spyware that downloads when you visit websites.

Spybot Search & Destroy – another free program for download. Does a great job. It takes care of items that Ad-aware may miss.

Spy Sweeper by Webroot – this one program that I purchased. It’s not free…but well worth the investment if you want to protect your computer. If you are surfing the net a lot…protect your computer. This program will catch items missed by both Ad-aware and Spybot Search & Destroy. While it would be peachy keen to have just one program…there are too far too many folks out there trying to wreak havoc with your computer life. Forewarned is forearmed.

Panda Software Active Scan - Still having problem with your computer? Try the Active Scan on Panda Software’s website. Even if you have another anti virus…this will scan your computer and detect any viruses or spyware problems. The Active Scan is free.

If you, like me, are finding your current anti-virus sometime causes problems rather than fixing them…you may want to change to a new/different anti virus. If you need to remove Norton Anti-virus to install a new program…be sure to remove all traces of this program. Not only do you need to remove from “ad/remove programs”…but you also need to use the
removal tool on Symantec to fully remove all traces of Norton Anti-virus. Failure to do so…will result in many problems for your computer. If you install another anti-virus without fully removing Norton you will have problems multiplied…as they war against each other.

3) When finally you are at your wit’s end…call the professionals. I ended up calling
Make It Work…for those of you in Southern California I recommend their services. A little word of warning…the ads make it seem as if they’ll be right out to your home as soon as you call. But reality is that they have to schedule you…Monday through Saturday, 8 AM to 5 PM. But when they get there…they do a good job. The gentleman that came to fix my computer was knowledgeable and diligent…and kept at it until he was able to fix the problems.

So…my computer is back up and running. I have computer knowledge at the end of the week than I did at the beginning of the week. Achieved, not in the manner I would have preferred…but I have it, nonetheless. I know about pinging, ipconfig, release, renew…network connections and repairs. I also know more about RAM and if your computer is without power for a time…it resets the clock on your computer back to when it was new. Which causes a whole other set of problems.

So…if you haven’t backed up your computer recently…do so. If your spyware and antivirus programs are lacking…or not up to speed…get them in place. Good computing to you all...except to a few nasty senators whom I will address in another piece shortly.

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