When your computer starts acting up due to hardware issues or malware / virus and you have to relinquish your computer to the technical support guy for trouble shooting and computer recovery for a few days, you may feel lost and insecure and quite frankly fidgety and stressed.
You find yourself in a situation where you have no control over your work which has become very dependent on your computer. Your computer being dysfunctional causes uncertainty as you are not sure if and when it will be ready for use again. You are also not sure if the problems can be fixed, and whether you can have it back in time for the work on hand.
Your best bet for situations like this is preparation and taking proactive measures before it happens. Before anything like this happens, you want to have contingency planning in place. In case you cannot have your computer for a few days (which happens) you want to be able to continue work on any computer anywhere – so long as it has internet connection. Take is from me, I learn it the hard way.
For best practice, do the following on a regular basis to save yourself lots of unnecessary duress and angst:
Get a good virus and malware application to protect your computer. Always use licensed applications, free application not only do not come with support they may open your machine to viruses and malware.
Back up all data files regularly. Keep copies of your backup by date so you can easily restore. Take this chance to clean up files that you no longer need; they not only takes up space but it becomes harder for you to search through the files when you need to look for documents.
Have a working folder. This is the folder you will copy over onto a portable pen drive so you can carry on work on any computer. This should not contain too many files. It will have sub folders of the following:
Working projects (only) with files and documents you are currently working on in the various projects. Tag your files and folders for easy reference. Do not file by date but file by projects or keywords under appropriate folders.
File with of all log in ids and passwords. You can make use of password managers or manually use a file to track this. Keep this updated as you change your passwords periodically. This is one file do not want to leave in your computer before you hand it over to the technical guy to work on your machine! Delete and empty trash before you surrender your machine.
File with favorite URLs of websites you regularly use. Bookmarks and favorites are machine dependent so you need to have your URLs handy and updated. Alternatively you can also keep a regular back up copy of your favorites. Include homepage URLs for your browsers.
List of all the programs you have with the current versions. This helps when you need to update your applications when you get your computer back. You will need time to reinstall programs and applications, so you can use them on your machine.
These are the basics must dos. So the next time your technical person needs to take your laptop away for trouble shooting or reformatting, all you need is to copy your working folder over to a portable device (hard disk or pen drive) and you can continue your work using any computer that has a connection to the internet.
And when you get your machine back again, just restore the back up data/folders and reinstall your programs. All your favorites and bookmarks can be easily restored.