We always know to back up our data, but what about having a backup computer (at least business people)? I lost my notebook after I put it on top of my car, went back in the house to get the keys, came back out and drove off. I had to order another computer, get express delivery, install all the programs (and this one runs Windows 8, which I hate), try to find passwords. It was a disaster, and I wasted four days of my life. It would have been so much easier to pull out an older backup computer, and then order a new one and get it up and running on my own schedule.
You're preaching to the choir. I have several older laptops that I keep buried in the closet "just in case." The problem is keeping up with the periodic backups. The hardware these days is so much more reliable it is easy to get lulled into a false sense of security when disaster could be just a spilled drink away. I recommend an image backup once or twice a year and then regular backups of all personal data. Always have at least two copies on two different devices for files you cannot lose. Ultimately I feel the solution will be central (and hopefully secured) data clouds that house both our personal data and programs, similar to the smartphone model. We're not completely there yet, but that's where we're headed. Run over your laptop? No problem, buy a replacement, connect to your cloud and you're back in business. Just like with any other household appliance.
Meanwhile, one of the best new features of your Windows 8 PC is the automatic backup that makes copies of your documents whenever they change. Just go to Control Panel, File History, and if you have an external drive plugged in, you can just click the "Turn On" button. That's it.
I was having trouble downloading a recent update with Microsoft Security Essentials, so I uninstalled the program and could not reinstall it. The following is the error message I received: c:\8287e54ec2420eccec2fbb\x86. Because I couldn't download Security Essentials I installed AVG and somehow Google Chrome was bundled with it. I uninstalled Google Chrome and now I cannot use any of the weblinks in my emails.
Two things. I suspect Google Chrome made itself your default browser before you uninstalled it. Make Internet Explorer your default browser as follows: Open Internet Explorer, click the Tools button and then click Internet options. Click the Programs tab, and then click Make default. Click OK and close Internet Explorer.
The update/install problem you experienced with Microsoft Security Essentials was probably due to some bad registry entries. How do they get there? Who knows, but it happens enough times to where Microsoft offers an automated fix at http://support.microsoft.com/mats/Program_Install_and_Uninstall. Click the Run Now button and follow the prompts.
Send questions to email@example.com or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions are answered only in this column.