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Repairing and Upgrading Your PC by Barbara Fritchman Thompson, Robert Bruce Thompson

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Preventative Maintenance

The best way to deal with problems is to stop them from happening in the first place. That's where preventative maintenance comes in.

A good preventative maintenance program incorporates a comprehensive backup plan, measures to secure the system against malicious exploits, periodic hardware and software maintenance, and steps to maintain general system tidiness. The goals of preventative maintenance are to reduce the likelihood of hardware failures, extend the useful life of the system, minimize system crashes caused by outdated drivers and other software problems, secure the system against viruses and other malware, and prevent data loss.

The following sections outline a basic preventative maintenance program that you can use as a basis for developing a program that fits your own and your system's needs.

Backing up the system

Maintaining a good set of backups is a critical part of preventative maintenance.

The availability of inexpensive hard drives and motherboards that support RAID 1 mirroring had led many people to depend solely on RAID 1 to protect their data. That's a very bad idea. RAID 1 protects only against the failure of a hard drive, which is partial protection at best. RAID 1 does nothing to protect against:

  • Data being corrupted by viruses or hardware problems

  • Accidentally deleting, overwriting, or modifying important files

  • Catastrophic data loss, such as fire or theft of your equipment

To protect against those and other threats, the only reliable solution ...

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