Basic Tips on Using Windows Computers

Quitting Windows

Windows must be exited before the computer is switched off. Failure to do this will cause disk problems which may damage the computer, and your work.

In order to quit Windows:

  1. Click the Start (Yeah, I know!) button.
  2. Select Shut Down...
  3. Ensure that the Shut down option is selected.
  4. Click OK.

Organising your Work into Files

Although the chance of losing a file is small, it is a good idea to split your documents into small files. Then, if you do lose or damage a file, only a small amount of work will be affected. For instance, you might save each chapter of a thesis as a separate file, rather than having the whole dissertation stored in one file. The added advantage of this is that the computer works faster (word processors are slowed-down by big files). Of course, you should always keep multiple copies of your files as backups, anyway.

Another suggestion is to keep your statistics (SPSS) files on a separate disk to your document (Word) files. Although a little inconvenient if you run SPSS and Word together, keeping the files on different disks will protect each set of files from problems that the other set might suffer. For instance, if SPSS crashes and damages your statistics files, at least your Word files will be safe, and vice versa.

In simple terms, try not to store all your eggs in one basket!

Backing-up your Files

In the past, many students have lost hours of work because they didn't keep up-to-date copies of their files on separate disks. The problems were usually consistent:

  1. The back-up files were out-of-date, and lots of changes had been made to their main working file, since they last made a backup copy.
  2. The back-up file was on the same disk as the working-file. When they lost the disk, they lost both the main working files and the backup files.
  3. There weren't any back-up copies at all.

A good strategy is to use one floppy for working on (the working-disk) and keep at least one back-up disk with up-to-date copies of the files on your working-disk. Every time you update a file on your work-disk, copy it to your back-up disk. (See the note below for instructions on making back-up copies.)

When departmental PCs are serviced, we may have to delete any unnecessary files on them. You are welcome to store files on the hard disks, but please, never use a departmental computer's hard disk for backing-up your files, as the files may not be available when you need them. Always save your files on your own floppy disks. Try not to store your backup disks in the same physical location as your working disks, if the working disks are lost or damaged, thebackups will suffer the same fate.

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Content last updated: 2003-09-23