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Safeguarding Your Files

Keep in mind: If your computer hasn't crashed yet, it will in the future! So instead of waiting for fate to strike, take some precautions now! Here's how..

Back it up!

  • Buy some good quality DVD-R discs, and backup your files onto them as often as possible. Alternatively, you can also use high capacity USB storage devices or external hard drives. You may already have more than one hard drive in your PC.

Keep your computer healthy

  • Keep your PC cool. Make sure it is kept away from heatsources. Make sure vents are clear of dust, and open the case of your PC to make sure that none of the fans are clogged up too. This is very easy to do. Use software such as "Speedfan" to check your temperatures.
  • Make sure your PC has adequate surge protection.


  • Use an antivirus, an anti-spy, and a firewall. Keep them updated. Check regularly for Windows critical fixes.
  • Don't install software that would do dangerous things to your hard drive. A boot manager for example would fall in this category.
  • Use a registry cleaner before and after you install or uninstall any software. Many of the problems that will keep Windows from booting are caused by sloppy software that mess up your registry. A good registry cleaner is Tune-up Utilities. TuneUp International - TuneUp Utilities 2008
  • Check your disk for errors from time to time. Go to Start, Run, Sand type in chkdsk /f

Your system has already failed?

Most important: Don't panic! Panic is like a little demon that whispers in your ear to format your hard drive and reinstall everything. Don't do it! You will lose all your data and the little demon will laugh at you!

To be exact you can still recover your data if you format your drive (by using special software), but only if you don't write anything on the disc afterwards. In other words format + windows install = bad idea. If you reinstall windows without formating your drive, you will only lose the files on your desktop and "My Documents" folder.

In all occasions you should make sure to safeguard your files before attempting any kind of repair!

So let's go about how to do that:

The fast way use: KNOPPIX Linux Live CD

Knoppix is a Linux distribution than runs from a CD. Download the Knoppix ISO and burn it. Put it in your CD drive. On startup access BIOS and change the boot sequence so that your computer boots from the CD drive. Save settings and exit. Upon reboot, Knoppix will load.

Knoppix is much like windows and it comes with its own CD burner. Locate it, launch it and backup everything you want on CD. Now you don't have to worry anymore!


  • If you have access to a second PC. Open the case of your computer and remove the hard disk.
  • Install it as a secondary drive on the PC. If it's an older PC (with an IDE ribbon connection), you may also have to alter the jumper at the back of the HDD to slave. Read the manual for help with installing hard drives and setting jumpers.
  • After this is done, boot the second PC. If everything went out ok, you should be able to access your drive without problems.
  • Copy everything you need from your own hard drive to the other one. Now you don't have to worry anymore!
  • Replace your computer's hard disk, fix all problems and reverse the process to copy the data back to your computer, or take CD backups on the other PC.
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