Readers have emailed me lamenting their computer issues after reading A Bad computer day. I responded with the best advice I could give, based on many years of professional experience. Good luck to them, and everyone else who might be suffering from inexplicable problems.
A friend of mine asks:
“My question is...what do poor normal people (like me) do when all that $@()* happens to them!”
Good question! This is one reason to make it someone else’s problem, or at least try to—purchase a support plan such as AppleCare (Mac) or the equivalent if it’s (yuck) a Windows PC.
Here are some diglloyd.com resources related to computer perplexities:
Summary of approach to problem solving computer freezes, etc.
- Is it bad memory? Buy only OEM quality memory, ECC memory if your computer supports it.
- Consider an uninterruptible power supply, to ensure clean power to your Mac and the drives.
- Install a fresh system on a newly formatted disk. This could be a Firewire drive or a spare internal drive. Boot off this drive and see if the problems recur.
- Never put data on the boot disk. I dedicate an external firewire drive for the boot drive so that I can use the internal drives for data (only). I even make a symbolic link in my home directory for Mail to my data volume, so that I can pretty much wipe the boot drive at my pleasure. If an extra disk (< $200) is beyond your budget, then partition the boot drive into a “Boot” and a “Data” partition. These can be erased independently.
- Be sure to run Mac OS X to check that the volumes are good, and use “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)” when formatting a disk.
- Don’t install programs that require drivers or other specialty software that can destabilize the Mac OS X kernel. This includes screen savers and anti-virus (for Mac, PC users must use anti-virus). Someone will disagree on the anti-virus, but FUD is the rule for anti-virus vendors.
- Test for reliability before putting a new RAID or disk into production use.