We recently had a customer’s PC to look at that wasn’t connecting to the Internet.
It turned out that it was heavily infected and at several points we considered whether continuing to work on the PC to fix it was going to be cost effective or even possible: maybe a system restore would be more worthwhile?
During those dark hours of concern, the usual questions about what information the customer has about their PC were resonating: backups, licensed (i.e. purchased) software, installation disk of Windows…
In the end it wasn’t necessary, however here’s a useful list of what you should have by your side (a figure of speech) whether your PC is a decade old or a new shiny thing. Plus some other recommendations too – it’s our simple list of almost everything:
- Make a recovery media drive – PCs no longer come with a copy of Windows on a DVD that can be used
if the PC crashes or needs repairing. But they do have the equivalent actually on the PC – you need to make a useable copy of it.
- Keep purchased software information and install media (DVD, USB etc) accessible including
email accounts and passwords that relate to them.
- Keep Windows up-to-date and other software that you use current to benefit from security fixes and any product enhancements.
- Ensure that you have Antivirus and Anti-malware programs. There are good, free, versions available of Antivirus as well as paid-for versions – which you will get support with for any issues. The same is true with Anti-malware. Check that the programs run regularly and run manually if you have any suspicions.
- Backup – ensure that the PC is backed up and that you know how to recover files.
- Passwords – make sure your passwords are strong, that they are different across websites
etc. and that you keep them secure and recoverable.
- Follow safe web browsing practices which includes not using helper programs that are widely
viewed as a risk – Adobe Flash, QuickTime for instance.