Software Crashes – Prevention & Recovery

These days, most of us have a lot of software on our PCs and we need to know how to take care of our system to minimize the possibility of a crash.

(For beginners, the following words  have a computer specific meaning)

1. Crash – When a program or your entire computer stops working and you cannot move the mouse or use the keyboard, and the screen is frozen.

2. Reboot – When you restart your computer after a crash.

3. Control Panel – A feature of Windows that will give you access to system utilities and settings.

4. PC – just another term for your computer (short for Personal Computer – from early computing days)

What should you do first if your PC crashes? Try to stop work, go away & leave it for a few minutes. Often, the computer is trying to process a whole string of commands and might just need to take a little more time. Pressing more keys will just add to the computer’s processing queue, maybe even forcing a crash.

Most of the time the hardware is OK, but the software has caused a problem. A good way to try to recover from a problem is to press the Ctrl + Alt + Delete keys. In XP this will open the Task Manager and show you all the programs running. Note that at least one will probably have a non-responsive indication. Try clicking one at a time on the programs listed that are “Not Responding” and click “End Task”. After that, close the dialog box and see if your computer is working again.

This should solve about 98% of your crashes. If your computer is not responding after all this, you can try restarting. Switching off the entire power is the last resort and should not be done unless everything else has not worked.

To prevent computer crashes, it’s worthwhile to carry out ongoing file maintenance. Check that you have room on your hard drives. To do this, open My Computer and right click on the drive you want to check (e.g. C:) and then click “Properties”. You will get a pie chart showing how much used & free space is on the drive. Windows needs plenty of working space & the suggestion is not to go over 70% usage of your total hard drive space.

You may need to delete or move  any large audio or video files that are occupying too much space to another hard drive or a CD.  When you are short of space,  it is also advisable to remove software programs that you don’t use by going to “Start”, “Control Panel”,  “Add or Remove Programs”.

Make sure you have enough Memory or RAM (Random Access Memory).  If your RAM is low,  help out your computer by not opening too many programs at once.  To find out how much RAM your computer has, select Control Panel from the Start Menu, Double Click System Tools, and then open the System Information tab. The total and available memory is listed towards the bottom of the right panel when you click on System Summary.

Software programs that use the most RAM are those that include a lot of graphics, video or sound capabilities. If your system runs slowly and you use this type of program a lot, it might be worthwhile to upgrade your RAM

Back up your hard drive regularly. There are notes on how to do this online and it is very important and should be done consistently. This way you will not lose a lot of work should you have to turn off power or restart your computer due to a crash (or a power failure!). Losing work is never fun and can be avoided by a little preventive maintenance.

Best Wishes
Trish

Have a Go at Selling on eBay

There’s something undeniably entrepreneurial about selling on eBay. It is true that there are eBay millionaires and there are also successful backroom eBay stores run by people with no more skills than the desire to make money under their own steam and it is the nature of selling on eBay that makes it possible for them and also makes it possible for you. A ready-made audience, instant search engine listings, ready payment systems and the ability to get started with no more than a product, a computer and a desire to succeed all combine to make very low barriers to entry.

The more sophisticated a business selling on eBay becomes, the more opportunity it represents. The scale of the marketplace is immense, for example a pair of shoes is sold on average every 3 seconds. Billions and billions of dollars are transferred every year from buyers to sellers.

There are constantly new niches and opportunities to exploit. Part of selling on eBay is to understand the marketplace and identify exploitable niches within your area of expertise. While there are many bargains to be had on eBay for buyers, it is also possible to achieve a higher price than that paid in shops for some of the items you sell, especially when you start with a low initial price, as this encourages bidding. Everyone loves to get a bargain!

When starting out selling on eBay choose a single, low value product to work with. It makes the whole learning process easier and less painful. Conquer that product before exploring other avenues of revenue. The experience that comes from actually doing it, along with the adrenaline and excitement when you finally make some money from the process is exhilarating. This is normal and healthy, but don’t get carried away. Keep it simple until you feel confident in approaching another market. More competitive markets will be harder to break into, so go for something you know about and feel you can realistically compete in.

Selling on eBay may not require a payment system or a website, but it does require all the other elements of a regular business. You need to be seen to run a professional outfit and to provide a professional service or customers will not return for a repeat visit. Worse than this, one of the features of selling on eBay is that users will leave feedback after their purchase.

Negative feedback can be the kiss of death to your business. Buyers are cautious not to trust their money in the hands of merchants who have provided poor experience for previous buyers and once you have negative feedback it will be seen by all of your prospective customers. Often, with so little to differentiate yourself from your competitors it is vital that you have as good a seller rating as is humanly possible.

A core component to maintaining good feedback when selling on eBay is accurate item descriptions and prompt delivery. The most common reason for poor feedback is slow delivery, although stock control issues, slow customer response times and bad packaging are all very important in order to maintain a good seller rating.

So, give it a go. Have a bit of fun! You’ll never know until you try just how this opportunity might turn out for you.

Best wishes
Trish