For many of us, personal computers have become an indispensable tool. Computers are everywhere. In our homes, in the office, schools, the grocery store, library and installed in some of our cars. They watch us while we do our banking! Computers are making life easier.
You don't have to be a rocket scientist and you don't need a master's degree in engineering to use and understand a computer. But what you do need is basic information that can turn you into a smart computer user.
Every computer user should know something about the computer they are using and the software installed. A user should know what to do if the computer stops working or what to do if the software gives you an error message.
Without exception, each user should have the following manuals:
- a hardware guide to computer operations
- a software guide for each software program installed
- a guide to the disk operating system
Each user should have a virus utility to keep the system virus free and a backup of data should something go wrong and it will! You cannot afford to be without a backup. It is better to be safe than sorry.
These are the key items needed to help you safely use your personal computer and keep it running. Read your manuals and follow all information that came with your computer. Do not throw these manuals away. If you have a hardware or software problem, one or more of these resources will be used to correct the error or problem, otherwise, you will have to seek the assistance of a helpdesk technician, computer consultant or other qualified personnel.
Assistance can be very costly and having these resources can save you time and money. Did you know that some problems can be resolved by just turning the computer off, waiting about 10 seconds, then turn the computer back on?
If you were to seek the help of a qualified technician, you can expect to pay as much as $35 to more than $150 or more to resolve a problem. Most problems can be resolved by the computer user.
Caution! If you get someone else to help you other than the computer manufacturer or the software developer, make extra sure they know what they are doing, otherwise, you may end up with a dead system. At this point, you might be looking at hundreds of dollars to revive your computer. Why take chances. Take care of your computer and it will take care of you.
No matter how well you take care of your computer or how well you understand the software you are using, at some point in time something will go wrong. It can be very frustrating and time consuming. It is very important that you document the error or problem. Turn the computer off, wait about 10 seconds then turn the computer back on. Do you still have the same problem? If you are unsure what to do, ask for help.
If all else fails, you will need to seek assistance from a professional technician. Check your hardware and software warranty contract for warranties and service. Before calling for assistance you will need to know the following:
- Describe the problem the best that you can.
- Know the machine type, model and serial number of your computer.
This information will assist the technician in determining the best solution for your computer needs, updating device drivers and replacing defective hardware components. Please keep a computer log and record each problem and how it was resolved including the technician's name and contact information. This documentation can be very helpful if you continue to experience the same problem frequently which may signal that you have a defective system and need a replacement. Just be aware that some hardware and software problems are due to defective hardware or corruptive software that was installed when the system was assembled. Make sure you understand your computer's warranty and follow the manufacturer's recommendations. Add or update hardware and software that is recommended by your manufacturer. Never install hardware or software that is not compatible with your computer. Failure to follow these instructions can result in your warranty becoming void.
"Take care of your computer and it will take care of you."
This article was written to inform and educate computer users seeking guidance and knowledge about operating a computer successfully. It was created out of my experience as a computer scientist and technician. I hope this article has been educational and helpful. You can email me at: [email protected]