Somewhere down the line, there will be problems with your computer (adware, spyware, viruses, good software gone bad, etc,). Obviously, you should use protection software to prevent as much as possible. However, you will most likely eventually find yourself in a mess. Relax! Don't worry.
Don't spend thousands of dollars on a computer guy to fix your computer if it breaks down. The first rule of thumb is, don’t spend more than $300, which would buy you a new computer today. But don't throw away your computer yet -- there is another solution.
If you are unable to access programs like MS Office and Quicken you may have a hardware problem, or your data may be so corrupted that you may have to call in a computer expert to get to it – and he may not be able to access it in a cost effective way. Decide ahead of time how much your data is worth to you and find out how much you will pay the expert.
If you can still access your data, try the following:
First, back up all the saved data from programs like MS Office and Quicken. Make sure you have the original program discs because later you will need to reload these programs, and any backed up data. Then, just reload your Windows XP operating system (or upgrade to Windows XP). Bypass any warnings it gives you about your existing data. It will wipe your computer clean and you can start again. Go online and load the FREE security programs listed below. Then load the programs you wish to re-install and then their backed up data. Your computer will run like brand new (or better!). Warning! You will lose everything on your computer when you install Windows XP, and all the programs have to be re-loaded.
Here is the plan.
1) Starting now if it is not too late, you should be saving your important files and data to a disk or better yet to an online file folder. The online file folder sign-up can be found in the godaddy e-mail area. This way your files and data are safer. I enjoy accessing my files remotely from any computer as well. You should also neatly save and organize your important software so it is easy to reload.
2) Reload or load for the first time Windows XP Home edition or Professional.
3) Now download for FREE Microsoft Defender Anti-Spyware from microsoft.com.
4) Now download for FREE Avast Anti-virus.
These three work great together. You can find great information on in the free stuff forum at dealking.com. They list many of the above solutions.
I even suggest for older computers that are running sluggishly to load Windows XP right now to clean it up your system and make it work faster – before problems occur. Your computer will work like new. CAUTION: You will lose everything when you re-load the Windows XP on you computer, but that is good if you have a bunch of junk. SAVE YOUR IMPORTANT ITEMS FIRST.
I did the above on 2 older Dells. One was plagued by an overload of junk and adware that popped up constantly. The other was just old and slow. I loaded the new Windows XP and started from scratch, and they work even better than the brand new Dells at my office that are loaded with a paid McAfee security package. McAfee seems to try to trick you into paying twice for the subscription, but the above solution is free and does the same thing.
Disclaimer: I am not an expert on any of the above, but I did sleep at a Holiday Inn last night. For hardware problems or to restore data, you may need a computer guy (expert). Also, you may have a computer guy who is very cost effective and efficient (they are around), but there are just as many that spend to much time and money (yours) to fix something their way.