You are so not alone! The Wall Street Journal has a good article that you can find by doing this search: “pairing up with a younger mentor” site:wsj.com.
“If you have Windows 8.1, you have a little less than a month to install Windows 8.1 Update, or you will miss out on future security updates.
“Microsoft announced a fairly large update for the most recent version of its Windows operating system, with the unoriginal moniker “Windows 8.1 Update” (Win8.1U), as part of its April Patch Tuesday release last week. Users who download and install the update (or have updates installed automatically), don’t have anything to worry about. They will continue to receive security updates going forward. Users who don’t install Win8.1U will not be able to install future patches from Microsoft. If they attempt to install the patch anyway, they will receive a message stating the update is “not applicable.”
“Failure to install Win8.1U will prevent Windows Update from patching your system starting in May, Microsoft warned.”
The full release from PC Magazine can be found at http://securitywatch.pcmag.com/software-patches/322773-users-must-install-windows-8-1-update-now-biz-get-a-reprieve
There are some absolutely key rules about updates. First rule: Know what you’re updating. Is it Microsoft Windows? Is it Adobe Reader or Flash Player? Is it your anti-virus software? Is it Java? Is it the IOS on your iPhone or iPad? All of them are legitimate updaters. Second rule: Assume the worst – the update will break your device. Hence, do the update when it’s convenient to lose the computer for an overnight or day. Don’t try to “squeeze” the update in between major deadlines or projects. Third rule: Know beforehand what you will do if there are problems. If you know you absolutely positively must continue working on something and you must do an update, then copy critical data to a thumb drive or other media before you do the update. You have no idea whether the update will finish, will work, will leave you with a broken computer – unlike gambling, you can do something pro-active before you roll the dice!
Your computers will collect an inordinate amount of dust if left alone. Yearly, and sometimes more frequently especially if you have pets in the house, the dust (and anything else that doesn’t belong) should be blown out. For laptop and desktop computers, the case should be opened and the fans checked. A fan with encrusted dust will cause the device to work harder and hotter, overheating even and causing it to shut down at an inconvenient time. A $10-$15 can of compressed air and 15 minutes of time can prolong your computer’s usefulness.
Where does your data reside? Where does its backup reside?
If your answer is “I don’t know,” then disaster WILL probably happen. If your device – phone, tablet, laptop or desktop – suddenly breaks completely or is lost or stolen, you will be looking for a backup. Where is it? How recent is it?
Backups are typically in one of two places. For standard laptops and desktops, an external hard drive should be first choice for backups. It’s fast, it’s local, it’s inexpensive, and it can be fairly obvious when it’s working. Depending upon your computer and the backup device, the backup software varies – Windows Backup, Apple’s Time Machine, Seagate oftentimes provides Memeo. You have to learn how to tell when backups are successful, AND learn how to perform a restore of a file.
The second place commonly used is online. Many paid services abound. Some of the more popular choices include BackBlaze, Mozy, Carbonite, SOS Online Backup. The one big disadvantage to all of these services: if you have a massive amount of data to backup or restore, it can take a long time…
For phones and tablets, are you synchronizing your contacts and calendars with another device? If so, that means that other device has a copy of its data. Doublecheck though! For example, I’ve had clients turn on iCloud on a phone and tablet – but using different accounts – so the data could not sync…
Many times, I’m on the scene a day late and a dollar short. Someone calls for my help only well after disaster has already occurred – the computer doesn’t turn on, or the browser doesn’t work, or the printer is up in flames. What could have been done?
Pay attention to the warning signs. Many of them can be subtle, so being observant is key. Here are some particular examples and some possible culprits:
1) Overnight, the computer is taking much longer to become usable. Was this accompanied by some strange sounds? It could be a failing hard drive. If your browser starts with a different homepage, your computer could be suffering from viruses or spyware. Or possibly some automatic updates were performed, but they went awry.
2) Your printer has problems printing. If it is a wireless printer, can you tell if it is still on the network? Is it asking for a new cartridge, even though you just replaced it? Did the paper jam, and now it’s not printing even though you turned it off and on?
3) “Something” on the computer doesn’t work right. Maybe it’s Microsoft Word, asking you to click on the end user license agreement…again and again. Or HP software says it’s looking for something, please locate it. Or all your files are missing (!). There could be a corrupt file causing these problems.
In my opinion, it’s preferable to deal with problems with immediately rather than hoping that time will solve it. If you have restarted your equipment, and the problem’s still there, assume it’s permanent, and act accordingly.