Posted 21 January 2008 - 03:46 PM
I've just been reading suggestions for remembering passwords etc. and the simplest seems to be the list in a notebook - so I thought I'd pass on what else is usefully listed.
I had a Friday-afternoon-build laptop, which came complete with the sort of warranty and backup which involves some underage individual who knows less than me (and almost nobody knows less about computers than me!) 'fixing' every problem, whether hardware or software, by saying 'well, you gotta virus' and reformatting the hard drive, and then being surprised that the problem didn't go away. (And every reader in the UK will by now be saying 'I know where that computer came from...') Then they would change the motherboard and/or the hard drive, reformatting the reformat, and... Well, suffice it to say that I actually do the backups as often as everybody recommends we all should.
After the third hard drive replacement (don't ask - no, of course it wasn't a virus), I started to keep a list of what programs I had put on, as well as the ones which came on the recovery disk, and of where they came from and whether or not I had disks for them.
Like: I have three business programs, all with disks and passwords. Fine. But all my anti-malware programs are the freeware ones: AVG, Spyware Blaster, Ad-Aware, ZoneAlarm, Winpatrol etc., and I use both Firefox and Thunderbird, and occasionally Opera and Open Office. Then there's half a dozen extensions on each of Firefox and Thunderbird, there's Miranda for ICQ, there's the printer I use at home and the one at work, the driver for the backup device, the router, and that's before the half dozen little things, the favourite games, the camera, the mobile phone etc., etc., cont page 94. When eventually I got a new laptop, it took me most of two days to get all the software I actually use installed.
So across the double blank page at the back of my desk diary is a list of what programs I've put on the computer, and any passwords/activation codes etc, and which ones I've got disks for, and where I downloaded the others from and what they're actually called - I mean, that useful little program which undid the problem with the photo file: was it called Unlock? Unblock? And where on earth did I find it? was it a link from the BleepingComputer forum, or the Mozilla forum? The AVG website isn't called AVG, it's called Grisoft; am I going to remember that? Doubt it.
Then once a year, as I transfer the list from one diary to another, I actually take a look and think: do I still use that? Could I uninstall it now? And once a year or so, I make sure that I've got the latest Thunderbird and Firefox and all the anti-malwares saved to disk - which means that if I have to do a complete re-install <hastily touches wood, spits, throws salt over shoulder> I can get a basic version of the safety stuff on without going online at all, and then update it, rather than hanging about unprotected while I find the download site, run the download, run the installation etc.
It's a bit of a pain to do the first time, but once you've got the basic list there's almost no work involved in keeping it up to date, and it can save such a lot of time!