I think the heat is getting to the computers – everyone I know seems to be experiencing some kind of computer problem. So it seems like a good time to talk about fixing and avoiding problems.
Step One: cure the problems by avoiding them at the onset. You can help do that with a virus checker. There are two main competitors and I have been happy with each at different times: Norton and McAfee. Neither is free – but both are worth the time and money.
Step Two: update your virus definitions. How you do this will depend on your Internet connection and your virus checker – but without updating the definitions you will not stop more recent viruses. Read through the web site of your selected virus checker for the specifics. (Often you can have them automatically update on an ongoing or scheduled basis.)
Step Three: when you run into an error statement try to find a fix by performing a key word search using the error statement on Microsoft’s Support Page. Their knowledge database is huge – I am almost always successful here – and the fixes are generally fairly easy to understand. I’m not a Mac user so I can’t attest to the Mac Support Page but I bet it’s good too.
Step Four: just in case you run into troubles – backup your files. If you can burn a CD – then save it all to CD. If you can’t or if you want a backup of your backup, consider an online resource such as @Backup, where you can save your files online.