Computer for Christmas
By: Scott Hendison · Published: January 1999
Congratulations! Your household now has a computer. Now what are you going to do
with it? Well, before you balance your checkbook, get on the internet, send some
e-mail, shop online, play some games and write that novel, there are a couple of
things you'll want to do.
Well first, make sure it's protected. Never plug a computer, monitor, or printer directly into the wall. They must always be plugged into a surge protector. These can be purchased at any computer store and range from 15 to 40 dollars. They protect your computer against power fluctuations that can damage your components permanently.
Next, go through your software CD's and disks that came with your computer. Your OS or Operating System is the most expensive part of this software. Locate your Windows 98 (or 95) CD as well as your green license. If your computer came from a reputable dealer, you will have both of these. If you don't, (this happens quite often) go back to the dealer and demand them. Do not settle for a Windows 98 or 95 "companion" disk. You need the entire OS, and the numbered license to enable you reinstall Windows if necessary.
You should also have some CD's or disks called "driver disks". There should be one for your modem, your video, and your sound. Your modem disk may have numbers on it like 56k or 33.6. Your video disk may say VGA, and your sound may have the words "16 bit" or "audio" printed on it. Sometimes there is one CD for your video and sound drivers. Sometimes there is only one CD for recovering your entire system, even your Windows, but this will only be the case if you have a "Name Brand" computer like IBM or Compaq. The only thing you can count on is that it is different for every computer.
Again, if you don't have them, demand them.
Once you verify that you have all these disks, put them all in a safe place. You may need them again someday, as well as all the manuals that you know nobody will ever read. Do not lose them. They are your only link to bring your computer back if it has problems.
Next you should set up your Maintenance Wizard in Windows 98. This is one of the best improvements over Windows 95, and it will keep you from having a lot of annoying minor problems. First go to the "Start Button" in the lower left of your screen. Then go to "Programs", then "Accessories", and then "System Tools". There you should see the Maintenance Wizard. Select it, and follow the prompts. Go ahead and use the recommended options unless you know what you want to change, and you're all set! If you leave the box checked that says, "Run these options for the first time" expect to be unable to use your computer for an hour or so.
Keep in mind that these functions you've now programmed need power to happen on schedule, so you'll need to leave your computer turned on all the time. Most computers that are left on all the time have fewer problems than those that are turned on and off frequently. Besides, it's no fun waiting for a couple of minutes just to start to use it. Would you tolerate that from your phone, TV, or microwave?
Copyright 1999, All Rights Reserved