How To Understand Your Computer

by William Lulow

Today, we use computers of one type or another for almost everything, just about every day! So, there are a few things we need to understand about them.

First and foremost: they are machines! They will do exactly what you tell them to do – nothing more and nothing less.

Second: since they are machines, they will eventually break!

Third: since most of them can’t think creatively or figure out what you want to do (although they’re making attempts at it), YOU have to DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT and then tell the machine in its own language.

To the first point: If your computer is not doing what you want it to, it’s YOUR fault, not the machine’s! You have to make sure you have checked the correct boxes, set the machine up with the correct software, running the correct programs. Then, you have to have more than a sufficient knowledge of what the software was designed to do and how it achieves its results. You have to double check your settings in each software package so the machine will do what you want, the way you want to do it. This could be as simple as attaching a personal signature to your emails or as complicated as setting up a special background image.

To the second point:  Because machines will and do break down, you need to be prepared with several layers of backup materials both files and software. You need to have copies of everything you do. You also need to be prepared to replace older machines with newer ones periodically, just like cars. And, just like cars, computers need regular and thorough maintenance. They need to be cleaned regularly. Files that are no longer needed should be deleted. And, I have been advising people to make sure that no files that are accessed on a regular basis should be stored on the computer’s hard drive. All files like images,  should be kept on an EXTERNAL DRIVE  and a set of discs. That way, if your computer does break, you can still access your files by simply plugging your externals into another machine.

To the third point: You need to be conversant in your computer’s software. If you are running Windows, you should take time to read the tutorials on the software’s fine points. Same with Apple machines and peripherals. The more you know, the better able to communicate you will be.

These days, if you have a website, your files will be stored on a remote server somewhere, usually with your host. You should also have a current backup of all your website’s files somewhere on your system (called LOCAL). This way, if your site goes down for some reason, you have all your updated files that you can then upload again to the server to restore the site.

Redundancy is the norm! You must have several copies of all your files kept in different places. Keeping these things in mind will assure that when something does happen, you can restore the files easily and not lose any important data.