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Windows Vista Security: Praxisorientierte Sicherheit für Profis by Marcus Nasarek

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Chapter 20
CHAPTER 20
Handling Routine Maintenance and
Troubleshooting
20
Often when people ask me to help them solve computer problems, I ask them when
they last performed preventive maintenance on their computers. The most common
responses I receive are a blank stare and a sheepish grin—sort of like it never
occurred to them that a computer was something they had to maintain, or they’re
embarrassed to admit they don’t do anything to maintain their computers. The prob-
lem is that a computer—just like a home or a car—needs to be maintained.
Although most people wouldn’t neglect their homes or cars, a surprisingly high num-
ber of people neglect their computers. They think of a computer as something they
turn on and off, like a car stereo. They forget about the computer’s dozens of inter-
connected components, such as the hard disk they’re filling up with data, the pro-
grams they’re installing and uninstalling, and all the other processes that must work
together to make their computer operate normally. They don’t realize that a poorly
maintained computer is a computer that doesn’t run as efficiently as it should, or
that the problems they’re experiencing with long startup times, slow responsiveness,
and delays when performing tasks have everything to do with the fact that they’re
not maintaining their computer.
Sometimes, though, it’s not a matter of neglecting your computer, but of knowing
where to start. Most people who have told me they don’t maintain their computers
have also told me they just don’t know where to start or what to do. Your new car
comes with an owner’s manual and on page 62 or thereabouts it says to change the
oil every 3,000 miles, rotate the tires every 10,000 miles, get this maintenance done
at 30,000 miles, and get that maintenance done at 60,000 miles. Your computer, on
the other hand, doesn’t come with an owner’s manual that spells out the specific
maintenance tasks you should perform—but maybe it should. Maybe if a computer
came with a maintenance checklist we’d all have far fewer problems with our com-
puters. Until that happens, though, you can use this chapter and the next chapter as
your guide to practically everything you need to know to perform routine and not-so-
routine maintenance on your computer.

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