Knowing some basic methods of identifying and treating computer malfunctions is as important as learning practical first aid in the modern world. Both will not save you from serious failures but may be critical for short-term survival. Here are the 10 methods to protect yourself from the most common computer malfunctions
1. Monitor Software Issues
Similar to health problems, serious issues rarely occur all of a sudden. Many users experience regular abnormal behaviors of some frequently used software products such as ‘freezing’ or random glitches. Most of them prefer to ignore them since they do not introduce much disruption to their work. Yet. Make sure that you start looking into such problems before this disease reaches an advanced stage.
2. Prepare for System Failures
The manual for your preferred computer system usually suggests having a bootable USB Recovery Drive and keeping your installation USB or DVD in an easy-to-reach place. Observing these precautions may be a very good idea if you encounter the inability to boot into your operating system that can be easily resolved with these simple tools. If you have them, that is.
3. Monitor Components Condition
Your PC is extremely well-designed from an engineering standpoint. While you may not need to identify hardware malfunctions by motherboard beep codes at start-up, seeing blue screens of death (BSOD) more often than once per several months usually means that some of your components may be failing and you need to consult a technician as soon as possible.
4. Learn More about Hardware Maintenance
When taking your PC to a professional, it is always a good idea to learn some basic maintenance skills. Keeping your computer dust-free and well-ventilated is as easy as taking your case to a garage and blowing out the dust with reverse airflow from your vacuum cleaner.
5. Install Monitoring Software
Modern software packages allow you to monitor the temperature and other parameters of your components. Learn the ‘baseline levels’ of these indicators and check their actual state from time to time. Seeing high CPU temperatures or SMART errors on your system drive allows you to pinpoint the developing problems at an early stage.
6. Backup All Critical Information
As noted in a recent article, there are many causes for a storage drive failure and no 100% guarantees that even a skilled specialist can recover your data effectively. To prevent this, always back up such information on multiple drives or cloud storage archives. However, after several recent scandals with data breaches and personal data leaks to third parties (Facebook and Google cases instantly come to mind), individual users are very much concerned about protecting their personal information. If you choose cloud backups, make sure that data confidentiality provisions are strictly observed by the services provider.
7. Have a System Drive Clone
Having a 100% copy of your system drive in your storage drawer will put you back into business 5 minutes after your primary disk failure. Sounds like a worthy investment, doesn’t it? Moreover, it only requires a spare hard drive and less than an hour to keep you safe.
8. Set Automated Backup Routines
A simple set-and-forget solution for regular automated backups will free your mind and keep it focused on more critical tasks. Since most data-related problems occur due to a missed backup, relying on your own consciousness may not be optimal.
9. Find a ‘Family Doctor’
A timely consultation may protect you from both health problems and computer malfunctions. Make sure that you keep the contacts of a specialist technician whom you trust. Consult with this person when you see any concerning signs mentioned earlier. Remote desktop support products also allow skilled technicians to diagnose hardware issues or repair your computer software remotely.
10. Utilize Redundancy Principles
Yes, no one likes buying a spare set of anything. However, a cloned system drive, a RAID 1 array, a backup PC/laptop or a cloud service subscription may really differentiate between a long-term failure and a temporary malfunction. If losing your working time is less preferable than losing a small amount of money, always make sure that you have a Plan B in store.
As any equipment deteriorates with time, computer failures are absolutely imminent. Good knowledge of ‘PC anatomy’ will allow you to maximize this ‘life span’ and maintain the ‘functional health’ of your components. However, any computer user must account for both best-case and worst-case scenarios, which is why this brief guide offers practical solutions for different severity levels of computer malfunctions.