1.  Know your system. Write down your system info -- processor speed and type (such as 90-MHz Pentium), amount of RAM, name brand of CD-ROM drive, type of sound card, operating system, and so on -- and keep that piece of paper handy. Help-desk people will want that info.
2.  Make an emergency boot disk. Some computers come with a boot disk. This is a disk that allows you to restart from the floppy drive if there's a problem with your hard drive.
3.  Tune your hard drive regularly. Scan your hard drive surface for bad sectors and run a defragmentation program to make file storage more efficient.
4.  Store with a plan. This is especially important if several people use the computer. Set up file directories to store things in a logical order that will make them easy for you to find.
5.  Back up your valuable data. Backing up can be as elaborate as running a backup program to save the entire contents of your hard drive onto floppies or an external drive. Or, as simple as saving your vital files onto floppies as you go along. This will save you weeks of work in the case of a serious hard drive problem.
6.  Keep viruses at bay. Buy a virus-scanning software package and keep it updated to detect new viruses.
7.  Never delete programs manually. When you install a program, it inserts files and information all over the place. To delete a program and all associated info, use the uninstall utility that came with the program.
8.  Keep up-to-date. Update your programs, especially your virus checker. Many software companies provide updates on their websites.
9.  Keep it clean. Each year, open up the computer case and clear out the dust that will accumulate.
10.  Shut down gracefully. Make a point of always using your computer's shutdown command, and wait until the computer notifies you that it's safe to shut down. Improper shutting-down can leave messy file fragments that can clutter up your hard drive and confuse your system.
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