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Computer do’s and don’ts

Here I share some do’s and don’ts to help you have a better computing experience:

Don't automatically buy a new computer when yours has problems. Call a professional to get advice first. Though the computer may seem dead to you, it may be fixable and more economical to repair than buying a new one.

Don't buy a really cheap computer. You can find new computers as cheap as $250 to $300, but you get what you pay for. These cheaper computers have very low performing processors and other components, so they'll be slower and won't last as long. I recommend spending at least $500 on a new computer. If that won't work for your budget, consider a good refurbished PC, which you should be able to find in the $300 to $350 range, which will likely perform much better than a cheap new computer.

Don't throw out your computer with files on it. Your computer likely has sensitive files and data on it, such as saved passwords and financial documents. If you're selling or donating the computer, you should be able to do a factory restore. However, some data still may be recoverable, so consider using special software to securely wipe the drive, but the next owner would have to reinstall Windows. If you're throwing the computer in the trash, you can remove the hard drive and simply physically damage it.

Don't abruptly turn off your computer. If your computer isn't properly shutdown, like by holding in the power button for a couple seconds, it can cause hard drive errors and other issues. Thus always shutdown your computer in Windows. If your computer locks up, give it awhile to see if it will respond before holding in the power button and abruptly shutting off the computer.

Don't ignore backups. Backing up files and documents is one of the biggest things computer users ignore. So if you haven't already, setup some type of backup. I suggest a cloud or online backup, so your files are safe from theft, fire and other disasters in your home or office. If you aren't comfortable with online backup, at least set up a backup to an external hard drive.

Don't have an amateur work on your computer. I understand professional computer services aren't cheap, but they can be well worth it. Having a friend, family member or neighbor help is great for the budget, but if they aren't a professional, it may end up costing much more money and effort to fix if they end up accidentally causing more damage.

Use a trusted and proven tech support company. I'm sure you know not all computer companies and technicians are equal. Try to check reviews and other information on a company before using them. This should especially be the case before using remote support services from a nonlocal company.

Eric Geier is the owner of On Spot Techs, which provides on-site computer repair and IT services at homes and businesses in the Dayton and Springfield areas. For more information, visit or call 937-315-0286.