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Computer Maintenance Checklist

Are you taking proper care of your computer? Backing up your data? Protecting your system from viruses and worms? Cleaning out unused programs and outdated files? If not, follow this checklist to keep your most valuable technological tool organized and in good working order.

Backing Up

Checkmark-Iconback up any documents you create on an external drive

Xmark-Icondisk, zip, jazz, tape, or CD-Rom are all acceptable

Checkmark-Iconkeep back-up copies of all computer programs in case you have to re-install

Xmark-Iconbacking up your entire system at one time takes care of both concerns

Checkmark-Iconback up as often as you regularly make changes to your documents

Firewalls Are Key

Xmark-Iconprograms that keep others from accessing your computer from the outside

Checkmark-Iconacts as a “locked gate” for your computer hard drive

Xmark-Iconcan be installed on your computer via software (Black Ice, Norton, etc.)

Checkmark-Iconmay also come with your operating system, router, or other networking hardware

Keeping Your Computer Healthy

Xmark-Iconinstall a good anti-virus software program (Norton, VirusScan, etc.)

Checkmark-Iconthis program will scan your files, drives, and e-mail for viruses

Xmark-Iconset up to scan external disks automatically when inserted into your machine

Checkmark-Iconset up to scan your hard drive automatically when you start your machine

Xmark-Iconset up to scan e-mail automatically when you send and receive

Checkmark-Iconbe sure to update your software regularly for virus updates

Xmark-Iconmost programs give automatic prompt when new updates are available

Power Issues

Checkmark-Iconsurges in electrical power can harm your computer

Xmark-Iconget a good surge protector with multiple plugs and on/off switch

Checkmark-Iconavoid cheap ones with a metal oxide varistor (MOV) suppressor that can fail

Xmark-Iconbuy a surge protector with included insurance to cover damage to equipment

Checkmark-Iconprotects your computer even when turned off

Xmark-Iconif you don’t have a surge protector, unplug your equipment when not using

Checkmark-Iconbe particularly careful during storms or when it is lightning

Put A Stop To Spying

Xmark-Iconinstall a good spyware program (Spybot, AdAware, etc.)

Checkmark-Icontracks down programs secretly monitoring your computer activities

Xmark-Iconthese programs may have been installed through internet downloads

Checkmark-Iconcan also be installed surreptitiously when installing other programs

Xmark-Iconknow where programs are coming from before downloading from internet

Checkmark-Iconresearch the software provider and make sure they are legitimate

Xmark-Iconrun spyware program weekly to clean out rogue programs from hard drive

Staying Away From Trouble

Checkmark-Icondon’t accept software or downloads from unconfirmed sources

Xmark-Iconmany viruses embedded in e-mail attachments and activated when opened

Checkmark-Iconset your e-mail program so it doesn’t open “preview” window

Xmark-Icondelete any suspicious e-mail without opening it

Checkmark-Icondon’t open attachments unless you know who and where they came from

Xmark-Icon.exe, .com, .vbs, .bat, .mdb, .reg, and .js file extensions are dangerous

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and

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