Make Creating a Restore Disk Top Priority
With computer prices the lowest in history and the introduction of Micro-soft's new Windows 7 operating system, many folks will be purchasing new computers over the next few months.
If you are one of these lucky people, here are a few things to keep in mind.
After you unpack your computer, go through all the papers and disks that came with it. Discard any advertising and trial offers that you are not interested in, and then group together any disks, guides or manuals that came with the computer. Keep these together in one place labeled with the name of the computer manufacturer and the date of purchase. Keep the receipt along with this packet of information in your purchasing file.
If you have room, keep the box that the computer came in for at least a few months. Most computer components that fail do so within the first three months. Most computer companies will send you a box if you need to return the computer, but it is always better to have the original box. >
You may find that you didn't get any manuals with your new computer. This is one way that manufacturers are cutting costs. If that is the case, start up the computer and look through the folders where you may find the User's Guide or instruction manuals.
If you don't find them there, check the manufacturer's Web site, where you should be able to download the manuals for your computer.
Manufacturers are also cutting costs by not including any disks with the computer. A copy of the Windows install disks and the drivers that are needed for your computer are often put on a hidden partition on the computer's hard drive. These files are needed to restore your computer to its factory condition if you have trouble with your computer.
However, they become completely useless if your hard drive crashes. Since a hard drive crash is one of the most common computer failures, this situation itself is problematic.
In anticipation of this problem, you are expected to create your own restore disks. If you purchase your computer from a brick-and-mortar store, you are often asked if you want them to create the restore disks for you at an additional cost. You can do that or just purchase some disks and create your own.
Usually you will be asked to create them one of the first few times that you start the new computer. If you have a computer that is a few months old and you haven't created the restore disks yet, just click on the Start button and type in restore. This should lead you to instructions on creating these disks. If it doesn't, visit the manufacturer's Web site or call them for instructions.
I can't stress how important these install disks are. They not only have the drivers to run the audio, video, networking and other physical components of your computer, but they also have the information needed to reinstall Windows, including the necessary serial number.
If your hard drive crashes and you don't have these disks, you will have to purchase them from the manufacturer at an additional cost. This will also mean additional time before you can get your computer up and running again.
These restore disks are important for all types of computers. It doesn't matter if you have a laptop, a desktop or a netbook. You will want to make sure that you have the disks that will be necessary to restore that computer's hard drive if it crashes.
This might be a good time to mention that you should also keep the installation disks for any programs that you install on your computer, and that you should have a backup copy of all your important data files. All of these may be necessary to get your computer going again if it encounters a serious problem.
And don't think that it won't happen to you. Every day, I repair computers in which hard drives have gone bad. You need to prepare for that scenario. Some experts say, "It's not if your hard drive will crash, it's when."
So when you get a new computer, even if you want to get right down to using it, it will be beneficial for you to take a little time right at the beginning to organize your computer paraphernalia and to make those restore disks. Sometime down the road, you may really be glad that you did!
Sandy Berger welcomes all of your questions and comments on today's column. Please post them on the Compu-Kiss Message Board at www.compukiss.com/happycomputing.
More like this story