Excellent advice. I back up my files, to which I have made changes, every six months OR at any time I have made significant changes. I have purchased copies of all of my programs, and I have my own copy of Windows XP. I also have backup CDs at off-premises locations.
I have never purchased a computer off the shelf. I got my first computer in 1986. I bought it used from a computer professor, such as yourself, who had built it for his personal use. It was still working perfectly when I finally gave it away in late-2004. However, it was not Y2K compliant and would not support the internet so, in 1994, my daughter built a computer for me out of purely junk parts. It worked just fine, but I had determined I wanted a new computer that I could pay for before I retired. That's when I had the present computer built to my specifications. The hard drive from the 1994 computer is in this one as a second hard drive.
It is good to pay attention to unusual noises coming from a computer. However, a grinding or "rrr" sound does not necessarily mean the hard drive is going to crash. Mine made such a noise a few months ago. It was the CD drive going out. It was the second CD/DVD drive I had to have in little over a year. This time, I purchased an External CD/DVD drive, so I will not be paying more $100 per hour service charges plus parts to replace a CD drive. I can replace it myself.
Every computer expert I know tells me to shut down if I hear an unsual noise, or if the computer shuts itself down twice in a short period of time. With the use of an external hard drive, they can almost always save the data on the hard drive. Shutting itself down can be caused by something as simple as the fan going out.
While it is extremly important to be diligent in keeping files backed up, it is also important to be aware of unusual noises and odd behavior. I personally think it is better to shut down and call a trusted repairperson than to try to back up everything after a problem is noted.
My nickle's worth.
I enjoy your posts. While I don't always agree with everything you write, you do keep me thinking. I understand that is good for warding off Alzheimers. Having just past another milestone birthday, that is becoming almost as important as my genealogy work!
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