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Jan 14, 2010
Your New (Xmas present) computer.

So, all being well Father Christmas will be delivering your new computer.

Perhaps, you have never had your own computer before and have used your parent`s machine, under strict instructions not to install any programs. Or, maybe you are of a certain age and have decided to take the plunge.

To those of you, for whom this is a new venture, and are joining the marvellous world of click START to Shut Down, a peculiar feature of Windows, it is important to remember, that this machine cannot think. There will be times, let me assure you when it appears that it can think quicker than you can.

Tech Support Guy - where you are reading this short article and I am a Senior Member, is one of the many computer forums providing free help and advice.
It was established by Mike Cermak in 1996
and over 450,000 persons have joined this site. It has been mentioned, with praise in many publications and YOU are now connected to what many consider to be the BEST internet site to obtain free help, assistance and advice with your computer problems.

There are so many articles, publications, magazines, books and other sources to obtain advice about how to use your computer that the choice is bewildering. The purpose of this short article is, to try and ensure that you have the basic rules and guidelines to hand.

Your new computer will have been provided with a user guide and manual, possibly partly on paper and on a DVD/CD, or even loaded onto the hard drive (the fixed drive inside your computer, where all data is stored). To those of you that never read the manual, before using your new television, washing machine etc., I would urge you to read the computer manual. If you do NOT, you may quickly decide that the computer can indeed engage in thought process.

When you connect to the internet, you will no doubt notice, various adverts offering VITAL programs to download to ensure your computer is "tuned to run as fast as possible", or warning you of the dangers of not cleaning the registry and offering this marvellous program that will do all of this and MORE.

Whether you are the novice user, or now have your own computer the advice of this site is, quite simply - do NOT install these programs. They are frequently useless, sometimes dangerous to the health of your computer and often, little more than a scam. The scam programs will inform you that your computer is infected with a virus and has hundreds or thousands of errors. What started with a FREE examination of your computer can now only proceed when this fantastic program is purchased. If you now realize, that it is extremely unlikely that your new computer has all these errors, you may be extremely disappointed to find that continual
interrupt you and remind you that you MUST buy the program to resolve your problems. If, this happens, it is time to come back to this site and ask for help.

One of the most common causes of problems on your computer is these registry cleaning programs.
See this link for the opinion of an accepted expert.

Your new machine will, no doubt have an anti-virus program pre-installed. It may well be AVG, Norton, Avast, Avira or one of the many others available. However, it is more than likely a 30 day trial. Although the length of this trial may vary, it is unlikely that on the average branded computer, the anti-virus program is more than a free trial. It will be a fully working edition of the program, but after the period expires, it will require you to renew the FREE edition, purchase the full edition or some similar course of action.

If you have read the user guide, you will probably know all about this. However, you would be amazed how many people continue to use the computer, after the free trial has expired and effectively without adequate virus protection. New viruses are discovered every day and unless your anti-virus program is up to date, YOU ARE AT RISK.
See this link for some excellent advice from Tech Support Guy

Addressing my remarks to those of you who are familiar with computers, and have now got your own brand new laptop, perhaps particularly the younger age group, you will know, I am sure about P2P downloads (Peer to Peer)
However see this warning

and the most scary risk of P2P, is the malware that it installs to monitor EVERYTHING you do on the computer, including attempts to monitor your banking security and even steal your identity.

It may be great to torrent the latest music, until the day when you find that the latest music download, not only will not play, but YOUR new laptop has strange messages and
behaviour that you have not seen before. You sign on the internet - and wonder why it is not your usual "home page". If you have ignored the advice to NOT download this type of software - now is the time to renew your acquaintance with Tech Support Guy.
See the advice here
This is our Malware forum, where you will receive free help, from a malware expert, certified after extensive training for their level of knowledge in this particular field.

Your computer will most likely have been supplied with instructions as to how to protect your data, so that recovery from disaster is at least possible. Many computers are provided with Windows pre-installed on the hard drive and a Windows installation DVD/CD is not provided. Most, but not all of these machines, advise you to prepare your own Recovery DVD, to support the recovery partition on the hard drive, where a back-up copy of Windows is installed. IF your new computer is so equipped and you have read the manual, please do NOT make this one of those tasks that is to be done tomorrow. YOU may be unfortunate in discovering that the computer crashes before tomorrow has arrived.

The best advice is, after reading the manual and following the guidance there, to purchase an external hard drive. These are relatively inexpensive these days, about £30 UK will buy you an adequate hard drive, usually connected by USB to your computer. Once you have that, all your personal data and a complete image of the hard drive can be installed on the external drive.

It is not possible, in an article of this nature to provide all the information, to explain how you proceed with this external drive back-up. A search of this site, with its user-friendly format will quickly find the information you require and there follows a brief outline of what to consider.

If your computer hard-drive crashes beyond recovery, for instance, a mechanical failure on the hard drive, as against a data corruption, unless you have followed the advice in your computer manual and here, you will probably lose all your data.
BACKUP to an external drive. This is one of the most simple and effective methods of ensuring that you do not lose those irreplaceable family photographs etc.
A COMPLETE image backup will save you all that heartache.

There are many ways of doing this. XP provide one, on the Professional edition and it may also be installed on the Home edition. Here is the link:

Here is the link for Vista

and the link for Windows7

There are many free utilities and some that can be purchased, that are easier to use than the ones listed above.

If your internal hard drive, or your external drive is Western Digital then they provide a free edition of Acronis.
Here is the link

and also a link listing other hard drive manufacturers utilities, not all of whom provide imaging facilities.

The BACKUP is vital for any computer on which there is data that cannot easily be replaced. It caters for one of the inherent weaknesses of OEM builds, where Windows was pre-installed, the installation CD was not provided and the
hard drive has a recovery partition. WHEN that drive fails beyond repair, that recovery partition may just have well NEVER existed.

If your new computer has Windows7. This, the latest Windows operating system, has the facility to create a repair disc. This is a vital step, explained here -

It is also important to bear in mind the maxim - you cannot pour a litre into a 500ml. container. The hard drive on the computer will have a certain capacity, more than likely, something in the region of 120Gb or more. A gigabyte is a 1000Mb (megabyte) a Mb is 1000Kb (Kilobyte) and a kilobyte is of course a 1000 bytes.
Now hard disks measured in Terabytes are common and that is 1000Gb.

You will no doubt find the information regarding your hard drive in the manual, the one you perhaps have not yet read. It is also easily obtainable in My Computer on XP, or simply Computer on Vista and Windows 7. Simply holding the mouse on the drive, or right clicking the drive and clicking Properties will show you the capacity and free space. It is important that the amount of free space is not allowed to fall below 10% of the total capacity. This percentage is not a definite quantity, but once you reach 5% you may well encounter problems. Windows, when necessary uses hard drive space as ram (random access memory) and for this and many other reasons, free space on the hard drive must be maintained.

Therefore, do not simply keep on installing programs and personal data, such as your music files, photographs from your camera, without giving some thought to this issue. I recently saw a computer, the hard drive of which had over 9,000, jpeg images. Jpeg is the format in which most pictures are stored. It also had over 7,000
MP3 and WMA (formats in which the files are stored) audio files, some downloaded and some installed from CD. The computer would function, but only very slowly. There was less than 3% of free space on the hard drive.
If you reach the stage where you are in this situation, then you simply have to uninstall and delete some of the stored programs and files. IF EVER you are unsure of how to proceed, you simply come back to Tech Support Guy and ask. The advice is free and it is very unlikely, that whatever problem you have, it has not been encountered before.

How then do you ensure your computer remains in good working order, loading Windows and running in the same way, as it did when new. Every action on your computer, creates small files and data, each web page you sign on to and each download also creates entries on your computer. Most of these are of course not needed again and many of them are deleted, by the operating system software, when you switch off. However, as you may suspect, it is not quite as simple as that.
Every time you sign on the internet and enter a site, a cookie is created, this is a tiny file that is then used to "speed up" your connection to that site next time. Your browser, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari or whatever you use, maintains a record of the sites you have visited. This is recorded under your browsing history.

These cookies, browsing history and temporary files should be "cleaned up" by deleting your browsing history, on a regular basis. How often you need to do this, depends on how much you use the internet. I would suggest that once a month is a good starting point. As you experience increases, you will be able to decide yourself, the proper frequency of this clean-up.

Internet Explorer




Here is your link to disk cleanup on Vista

and here for Windows7

and here for WindowsXP

AND that all important maintenance, because a litre will NOT fit into a half-litre container
Windows Xp

Windows Vista


and finally, I hope you have found this short article useful. All the staff of Tech Support Guy, welcome you to the site and if you do have to ask for assistance, please just follow our guide - here

and our rules, not many of them, but there to help EVERYONE and to maintain the excellent reputation of this site.

Prepared by Macboatmaster - Senior Member - Tech Support Guy. 21 December 2010
Oct 13, 2003
Your effort to help new computer owners should get a Techguy Award.

Thanks you for taking the time to write a comprehensive article. I hope many will read it.
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