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Preparing for Trouble
David Anders,The Computer Guy, a freelance systems engineer in Seattle, WA.
Resolves computer problems, assists with production issues, designs and installs networks.

The Basics
. Keep your System Install CD or floppies safe, and nearby - NEVER loan them to anyone - their ONLY purpose is to be copied or to save your day.
. Keep your Install disks for additional hardware or software with your system disks. Additional video card drivers, third party CD drivers, modem install drivers, anything that is critical to the operation of your computer. If you download an update to any of these &endash; Keep a Copy of the Installation on Floppy or Zip.
. Have TWO copies of the Emergancy System floppies on hand, make sure they have been tested and they work.
. The best protection is to have your system folder backed up onto another hard drive, Zip or cartridge.
. Have another Emergancy System floppy that has the "Startup Disk" control panel on it, include SCSIProbe 4.3 if there is room. When the System file is damaged on your internal harddrive, it will begin booting... then fail. In order to Boot from another harddrive or Zip, you will need a Emergancy floppy with "Startup Disk" control panel to specify another drive.
. Record your serial numbers at the first install, write them on the inner manual cover, the install disks and your rolodex.
 
Startup Keyboard Commands to change the Startup Disk or System Components
NOTE: these command sets do not work with all non-Apple keyboards.
Bypass startup drive.......................................…… [CMD]+[OPTION]+[SHIFT]+[DELETE]
Boot from CD (Late model Apples) .............…............[C]
NOTE:(Mac OS8 - Starting a 68040 computers from a CD-ROM using the c key depressed or
"command-option-shift-delete" does not work when the SCSI-ID is 5.) OR with all clones
Start without Extensions .........................……………[SHIFT]
Boot from a specific SCSI Drive.(# = SCSI ID number)..... ..[CMD]+[OPTION]+[SHIFT]+[DELETE]+[#]
NOTE: this command set does not work with all systems.
 
All hard drives and floppies die.
Knowing this, backing up your files is obviously important.

Your System can decay and die.

. Without a healthy operating system, your computer is a paper weight.
. After you install a new System, take a moment, and Stuff (Stuffit Deluxe by Aladdin Systerms) the System File AND the Finder. This archive will allow you to easily replace the portions of the system that most often become damaged and prevent your hard drive from booting.
 
A Stable System is your most valuable computer component.
. If you have the storage space, backing up your System Folder is an excellent idea. Stuffing it offers another layer of protection - stuffed archives are checked for damage and are more damage-resistant. After a new system install, wait for a week or so, to verify that all applications and system components are working before creating your System Folder Archive.

Damage to the invisible Driver

. All storage devices, hard drives and cartridges, have an invisible partition that contains the instructions for finding and using the information stored on it. This driver can be damaged by an application or the system mistakenly writing to it.
. This means that you should record name and version number of the formatter used to format all hard drives and cartridges. If the hard drive is an Apple hard drive, you can use the formatter included with all versions of the System Software. If it is a third party hard drive, the formatting software that comes with it is as important as your system CD or floppies. Use it only to create copies and NEVER loan the original disk. . . When updating your system software, be sure to check for updates from the company that makes the formatting software. THIS CAN BE VERY IMPORTANT!!
Preference File Damage.
. If you customize the default settings in a program, it may be worthwhile backing up your preferences files. These program fragments can become damaged and require deletion or replacement.
 
Some Miscellaneous Tips
. A viable System Folder is your most valuable possession &endash; cherish it. After two weeks of working with a stable System Folder, especially an updated Operating System (7.5 to 7.6 or 7.6 to 8.1) create a backup or stuffed archive of your System Folder.
. The System File, the Finder, and Preferences Files are the most commonly damaged system components. Making Stuffed Archives of these specific System pieces can be a timesaver.

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