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Upgrade Your Life: The Lifehacker Guide to Working Smarter, Faster, Better by Gina Trapani

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Chapter 10. Hone Your Computer Survival Skills

Computer disasters happen, but when they do, you don't have to pay the local computer repair shop hundreds of dollars to recover from them. Whether you delete an important file by accident, get infected with a computer virus, face the "blue screen of death," discover your hard drive is dead, or find that your computer has slowed down over time, plenty of free, easy, do-it-yourself fix-it options are available to help you get back to a speedy, secure, and stable system.

In an age of always-on PCs connected to the open Internet at high speed, rogue software tries to install itself on your computer at every turn. Viruses sent via email with inviting subject lines such as "Anna Kournikova pics;)" and "I love you" threaten home computers as well as entire office networks. Pushy programs put themselves in your computer's startup process and slow down overall performance. Toolbars install themselves in your web browser and redirect you to advertising web sites. Your nine-year-old downloads and installs malicious software that looks a lot like Tetris on your PC. Your toddler gets hold of the mouse and deletes a critical folder in one click.

Your computer is an essential tool in your work and life now more than ever before. The more dependent you become on it, the more wear and tear it suffers, and the more adept you should be at protecting, maintaining, and rescuing it from an unwanted end.

This chapter's hacks include simple methods for protecting ...

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