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December 13, 2012 Computer Knowledge

Common Mistakes That Computer Beginners Would Make (Part 2)

Always forget to save the Work

Whenever you’re creating something original, for example an article, an Excel table you made for home work/business,  choose the Save command and save your document to the hard disk. When you write something dumb that you’re going to patch up later, choose the Save command too. The idea is to choose Save whenever you think about it — hopefully, every few minutes or sooner.

You never know when your computer will meander off to watch wrestling on TV while you’re hoping to finish the last few paragraphs of that report. Save your work as often as possible. And, always save it whenever you get up from your computer — even if it’s just to grab a Fig Newton from the kitchen.

Not Backing Up Files regularly

Saving work on a computer is a many-tiered process. First, save the work to your hard drive as you create it. Then, at the end of the day, back up your work to an external disk drive, a removable disk, such as a CD-R, or a flash memory drive. Always keep a duplicate, safety copy of your work somewhere because you never know. At the end of the week (or month), run a backup program. I know that this process is a pain, but it’s much more automated and easier to do than in years past. I recommend checking out the Dantz Retrospect Backup software and using it to back up your important stuff to a CD-R. You’ll be thankful!

Opening or Deleting Unknown Things

Computers have both hardware and software rules about opening or deleting unknown items. On the software side, I have a rule:

  • Delete only those files or folders you created yourself.
  • Windows is brimming with unusual and unknown files. Don’t mess with ’em.
  • Don’t delete them. Don’t move them. Don’t rename them. And, especially, don’t open them to see what they are. Sometimes opening an unknown icon can lead to trouble.
  • On the hardware side, don’t open anything attached to your PC unless you absolutely know what you’re doing. Some hardware is meant to open. New console cases have pop-off and fliptop lids for easy access. They make upgrading things a snap. If you open a console, remember to unplug it! It’s okay to open your printer to undo a jam or install new ink or a toner cartridge. Even so, don’t open the ink or toner cartridges. Other hardware items have Do Not Open written all over them: the monitor, keyboard, and modem.

Replying to Spam E-Mail

Don’t reply to any spam e-mail unless you want more spam. A popular trick is for spammers to put some text that says “Reply to this message if you do not want to receive any further messages.” Don’t! Replying to spam signals the spammers that they have a “live one,” and you then get even more spam. Never, ever, reply to spam!

Opening a Program Attached

to an E-Mail Message You can receive photos via e-mail. You can receive sound files. You can
receive any types of documents. You can even receive zip file archives or compressed folders. These files are all okay to receive. But, if you receive a program (EXE or COM) file or a Visual Basic Script (VBS) file, do not open it! The only way to get a virus on a PC is to run an infected program file. You can receive the file okay. But, if you open it, you’re dead. My rule is “Don’t open any EXE file you’re sent through e-mail.”

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