Tag Archives: disaster preparedness

New Computers Are Not Without Fault (Emergency Preparedness 2 – EP2)

My life these last few weeks has been in technology turmoil. In addition to my old and trusty laptop barfing all over my Wi-Fi and itself, i was struck by a new face of reality when my new laptop decided to hold me hostage and become unresponsive. Can’t do CPR on a laptop.

Many people, when they get a new computer, trust that it’s perfect and it will be a very long time before anything goes wrong. As a result, they become complacent and don’t do important things like backup their data and check for all those nasties that somehow make their way onto our computers.

It’s especially difficult for solopreneurs, entrepreneurs and small business owners to find the time and understand everything that’s going on with all the technology at your fingertips because, in many cases, on top of all the work required to plan and operate your actual business, you must also act as your own IT department.

As i remind readers in my book, Tame Those Pesky Details, it’s always important to backup your data. However, I’m here to remind  you that you must do it right from the start. I don’t want to harp on you about this but when your computer starts going wonky, you’ll be glad you are prepared.

Whenever you get a new computer, you spend time playing with it, bonding with it, learning its quirks and habits. It’s always fun to get a new computer. Like driving a new car, so much has happened in technology upgrades since your last one you are amazed and overwhelmed with your new toy.

As a business owner, a new computer means adding new software and transferring files to be productive as quickly as possible. There are also some key steps to remember:

  1. Be sure to load your anitvirus and anti-malware software right from the start. You will inevitably be on the Web, so be certain you are protected.
  2. Backup all your files from Day 1. Periodically, make a mirror image of your drive.
  3. Create the recovery/restore disks you are prompted to do once you begin using your new computer. It took about two hours to create six disks. Place them in a safe and accessible location, all properly numbered. You can only make one copy so do it right and always know where they are.

Here’s my experience. Just a few days into use, my new laptop was being stubborn, uncooperative, fussy like a baby. It was only a week old; what could be wrong?

Per my savvy tech friend’s orders, i ran my antivirus and anti-malware software. Surprisingly, for such a newborn, it was rife with junk! Who would think that in just a couple days’ time, so much unwanted stuff would make its way onto my new business partner?

I was worried I would have to restore Windows. I had backed up the files I created and i had my restore disks at the ready, just in case. I just didn’t want to have to use them.

Luckily, I didn’t have to take such drastic measures. After a couple of reboots, everything began to operate properly again.

I’m still adding software and updating my music library. Once that’s done, I’ll make a mirror image of my laptop so should I have to do a complete restore, I have all the software I’ve loaded as well.

Don’t take even one day of chances with your computer. Back it up and keep it backed up. You’ll be glad you did. I know I am.

Wired in a Wireless World (Emergency Preparedness 1 – EP1)

In my book, Tame Those Pesky Details, I go into a lot of detail about making sure the data on your computer is backed up so you can jump right back into your business or life as quickly as possible should disaster strike.

Much to my dismay, I recently had a laptop which decided to go to places hitherto unknown. In spite of having great systems in place as far as backup and recovery, I learned many new things along the way. I will include them in various posts under the title of Emergency Preparedness. These posts will ultimately cover a wide range of preparedness topics, but for these first few posts, I’ll rely on my own recent personal experience with my laptop nightmare.

With the advent of wireless Internet, i think many of us have forgotten that wired works, too! If you work in an office, chances are you have a high-speed Ethernet cable running to your computer. For those of you who have forgotten what one looks like, here’s an image from Amazon:

Cat5 Ethernet Cable
Mediabridge Cat5e Ethernet Patch Cable (50 Feet) – RJ45 Computer Networking Cord – Blue

This cable comes in a variety of colors and, in a home office setting, connects between your modem/gateway and your laptop.

Netgear gateway
NETGEAR AC1200 WiFi DSL Modem Router 802.11ac Dual Band Gigabit (D6200)

You probably have one of those cables somewhere in your house. You need it when you have to set up your Wi-Fi or fix the IP address. The funny thing is, when your wireless is out, you can use this to get onto the Internet! Of course, it will only work with your computer because your tablet and smart phone don’t have room to plug in the cable, but at least you can continue to work or catch up on some binge watching.

Here was my nightmare come to life. Over the course of a couple weeks while my computer was deciding to do the crazy dance, I was having trouble with my Wi-Fi. I called my provider who had several equipment issues in the area due to car accidents, so I thought the problems I had were all their fault. Not so.

The company came out to test their equipment and all was well. My gateway was working just fine, too. However, within a few hours of the technician’s departure, my Wi-Fi was out again.

As I read the repeated error message on my laptop, I was simply frustrated, not empowered. It’s nearly impossible to get anything done nowadays without access to the Internet, even for a writer! Turns out, my laptop was having problems with its wireless network adapter, among other things. It was causing the Wi-Fi signal to go out about every five minutes.

When I finally decided to power up the new laptop, I hadn’t quite given up on the old one yet, so I was still in the midst of Internet turmoil. I had a quick project to complete and I absolutely had to get on the Internet. I dug out my yellow cable and connected my new laptop to my gateway and voila! It worked! My only problem was that the cable was a mere four feet long so I practically had to be on top of my cable connection in order to get work done.

Then it all came back to me, all those years of wired Internet. How spoiled we’ve become with easily accessible Wi-Fi.

I’ve decided, as part of my emergency preparedness, to purchase a much longer Ethernet cable to keep on hand, one that will at least reach the other end of my office, if not more. And, I will make sure it’s easily accessible should I have any Wi-fF issues in the future.

Do yourself a favor. Buy an Ethernet cable. It’s money well spent.