Before you open your PC, we recommend you read these 10 best tips.
ONE: Back your hard drive
I highly suggest a medium large enough to backup the entire hard drive, such as a tape drive, an Iomega Jazz or Zip drive, a second hard drive, CD writer or what ever will actually make a complete copy of your hard drive. Back up the drive regularly, not just once and forget, because your system constantly changes. Make this a ritual that you do once a week or even once day.
TWO: Backup your Data
Any files you create on your computer are original work and cannot be replaced. Oh, you might rewrite a lost document, but will it ever be exactly the same? Do you really want to rewrite a missing document? I sure do not! Always be sure that any documents, graphics, sound files or what ever you have created, are also stored somewhere besides just on your hard drive. If not, there is a risk you could loss them. I would rather go to Las Vegas and toss money away on a crap table than risk my data, money I can always replace, original work is gone forever.
THREE: Backup your Registry
If you without the means to backup your complete hard drive, for heaven sakes at least backup your registry. If you have to completely format your hard drive and reload Windows95 or 98, it is a simple matter of just restoring the registry files from a backup to have the system completely as it was when you backed up the registry. In Windows98, you can use MSCONFIG. Goto Start/Run and then just type MSCONFIG and press enter. Inside is a great utility to back up your registry files.
If you are using Windows95, you can use the ERU, Emergency Recovery Utility, that comes on the install CD for Windows. This file also can be downloaded from The NOSPIN Group web site: ERU Remember that ERU is a quick and easy program to back up your entire registry and will also work for Windows98. I highly recommend this little utility from Microsoft.
FOUR: Boot Disks
Be sure you have an extra boot disk handy, incase your PC suddenly stops booting. You can quickly create one by going to: Start | Settings | Control Panel | Add/Remove Programs | Startup Disk.
FIVE: Anti-Virus Software
This one often does not come to mind, but if you have downloaded something to install on your PC, a shareware file or such, the risk of a virus is real. McAfee Anti-Virus software will allow you to build a boot disk that can clean out even Master Boot Record Virii and is an excellent tool to keep handy.
Since most people today end up with passwords to access their ISP, different web sites and even FTP sites, I highly recommend you write all user names and passwords on paper and keep it handy. If you PC crashes from your tinkering and you are forced to reload your software, this can be a life saver.
SEVEN: Serial Numbers
Write the serial numbers on either the face of your CDs or on the jewel cases used to store them. Why is this important? One often heard problem is that someone has the serial number on a sticker or on the manual that came with the CD, only to have lost it. Without this serial number reinstalling the software maybe impossible. I recommend using an permanent marker, so that the number cannot be rubbed off. Another issue, if you are suddenly in the middle of a crash, possibly irate due to the crash, the last thing you need is to be frustrated looking for a serial number.
EIGHT: Network Information
Here is a real good one. Write down all the information required to reconfigure your network, whether it is the DNS IP numbers for your ISP or the numbers to configure your PC to your home network. If you are off line and unable to get back on the Internet, the last thing you need to be thinking is, "I can get the numbers I need, they are on my ISPs web site! But, how do I get to the web site if I cannot get back online?" Write this information down.
NINE: If It Ain't Broke - Don't Fix It!
If you have no compelling reason to open the case, or upgrade your operating system, or upgrade your applications => DON'T. More problems are created by the need to fix something that does not need it, than all others combined. Think real hard the next time and then just forget about it.
TEN: Did I Mention BACKUPS!!
Redundant for sure. But, I can never overstate this issue. If it is backed up, you never need worry about losing it.