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5 Ways to Prevent Data Loss on Your Home Computer

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If you have a seriously damaged computer, it’s best to find a data recovery firm to attempt repair work rather than relying on DIY solutions. Photo: DriveSavers, Inc. (2017)

We all know the paralyzing feeling of having a computer frozen on the “blue screen of death,” or worse, a computer that won’t turn on at all. Family photos, financial documents, novels in progress—our home computers often contain our most personal and valued information, which is why regular backups are important. If you realize something is seriously wrong with your machine, the next steps you take will make the difference between recovering data and losing it forever. To prevent potential data loss, Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Mike Cobb of DriveSavers, Inc. recommends the following:

  1. Pay attention to noises. It’s normal for computers to make some noise, like the hum of the ventilation fan. Other noises are certainly cause for concern. If you hear any grinding, clicking or whirring sounds from your machine, call a professional data recovery firm.

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Lock Out ID Thieves and Hackers

The passwords to your computer and online accounts are like the keys to your safe deposit box. In the wrong hands, they can be used to steal your money and your identity. Strong passwords – those that are virtually impossible to recreate, even using a special decoder program – will keep your assets and information safe and secure.

A strong password is one that appears to be a random string of characters, including letters, numbers and symbols. The longer your password is, the harder it is to decipher. When creating a password, don’t use personal information such as your birth date or dog’s name. Don’t use real words. Do consider creating a password derived from a “passphrase” that is easy for you to remember. For example, “My favorite number is 13” could be converted to MfaV#=13!. And use a different password for each account to avoid having all your accounts at risk if one password is compromised.

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Why Did My Computer Get a Virus?

You can still get a virus even if you’ve installed virus protection software. That’s because it protects you from KNOWN viruses. But the bad guys are out there creating new viruses every day. There is no 100% guarantee your computer will not become infected.

According to Laura Kavinsky with Click Away, a Diamond Certified company, here are some things that might help: 1)Keep all your anti-virus and Windows updates current; 2) Be careful about opening email attachments, even from people you know; 3) Don’t click on any prompt until you know it’s truly safe. One of the top ways computers become infected is when computer users click on prompts for “free” virus software; 4) Don’t visit file-sharing sites where you can download copyrighted music, movies, software, etc. These sites are a hotbed of viruses; 5) Be careful about downloading software from the Internet. Software downloaded from the Internet often contains viruses and other malware.

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Back Up Your Computer – Now!

You may not think too much about backing up data until the day comes when your hard drive crashes. That's when I got the wake-up call, thinking I had lost everything – photos, work documents, records, letters, music. Rick Sutherland, owner of ClickAway, a Diamond Certified company, says most people are like me and don't realize how easy back up is, and how expensive data recovery can be. To back up data, some people use an external hard drive, where data is put onto another disc and stored in a safety deposit box, or somewhere else outside your home. You can also use an automatic on-line back up service, which is especially useful for saving data on a daily basis. The simplest method is not very expensive. You buy a 2 GB flash drive for less than $20 and a fireproof box to store it in. This small investment insures your data will be safe and sound.

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