1. Backing up important stuff
2. Computer freezes? You can fix easily without turning off
(this fast forward stuff can get people in trouble).
You really should be ready for that power outage, stolen computer, the day when the hard drive just lies down and won't get up, virus attack, fire,wrong file sent to the recycle bin and then dumped when cleaning up, misplaced file (can't find it no matter what because can not remember the name and the only word remembered is found in 1000 other docs type of thing, or a child comes in to play a game. [A side note here: You answer the phone and your child comes in who is a computer whiz, or the cat (who is not), presses a key and takes out your file before you saved it. (Remember that this is their world (exclude the cat here) unless you are under 25 – to be more realistic, for the computer as a regular household item, you would probably have to be under 20. Gates, Allen, Jobs and Wozniak, got started around 1975-6 and the personal computer only really took hold in the market in the mid 80s. But still, lets say that your child is under 5. As much as he/she knows, their main focus is not your manuscript. end of side note.] Paranoid? If that is what you want to call it. I just call it being realistic. Something I put off using for too long – this backup thing onto a CD. But, it really is a life saver. All the things above do happen and, they happen all of the time to someone. You may think that you lead a charmed life – well, so does everyone else out there, but these things are happening to someone as we speak. Take the extra hour or two to find out how to do it and then start doing it. Once you get the hang of it, it only takes 20 seconds to backup a file onto the CD – I timed it. If you haven't done it, the best way to start is to go out and purchase a set of blank CDs. I did that and they still just sat around until one day I had something which I really did not want to lose – ever. One thing I have done is to put all the most important files onto a CD and then have someone else keep it in their house (distribute the burden of fire, theft, mislaid). Then I just keep a CD in the drive for the day-to-day changes and new file creation as I go along. And, by the way, check out Signs of possible hard drive failure at PC Mechanic - Computers and Technology for Normal People.
You may be able to unfreeze it or go out without turning the machine off.
There are two ways of doing this:
The first: Put your mouse on the time or any empty space on the task bar and right click to get the menu of task bar properties. Click on Task Manager. Alternatively (I prefer this one but if you have 3, 95, 98 or Me see below first), hold down Ctrl, Alt and press Del. The Task Manager will appear or (Security Screen in XP) in milliseconds although can sometimes take a relatively long time (10 seconds+) if machine is stuck (Important Note to 3, 95, 98 and Me users, read Cautionary Note. Depending on the configuration of your machine, Ctrl/Alt/Del may perform a soft boot). At the top of the Task Manager, under "Applications", which we are interested in here, it will give you a list of all of the files open at the time. And, most importantly, it will tell you which files are stuck and possibly causing all of the problem. Highlight the file and hit "End Task", and in most cases your computer will become unfrozen – I said in most cases. But, a word of caution here (in fact two): First, you will lose anything that you did not save in that particular file. One thing to do is to wait a bit to see if it will become operative on its own. They usually do. Secondly, and this is crucial, do not press "End Task" to get out of the Manager because whatever is highlighted at that time will be closed. So, use the minimize or close buttons at the top right. For having it around when I need it, I open it up and minimize it so that it is on my task-line for easy accessibility in emergencies. Otherwise, when something is not operational, the Ctrl/Alt/Del thing can seem to take a long time to come up. Of course you can right click on the task bar. Also, while in the task manager, clicking help will give you additional information. Word of advice
If this is all new to you, then when you go in, there will be a number of folders at the top of the program. Do not fool around with anything under the 'Processes' button. These give the executable files currently in memory with the amount of memory used. Knocking out one of these could cause system instability.
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