The PC Zone

Things you shouldn't do with your PC!

Books, websites, magazines an even TV spend a lot of time telling people what they should be doing with their PCs, or how they should use them or what they should install on them. But little time is spent on telling people the things that aren't a good idea to do with PCs. I guess that journalists or writers feel that it will come across as preachy or like telling people off. But in my experience there is a benefit in being given an insight into what not to do. My chainsaw comes with a whole list of things that the makers recommend I don't do with it. So does my ladder. And my car. And my blender. I'm not offended even though a lot of it is painfully obvious. "Do not stop the chainsaw by hand", "Do not put vegetable oil in the car engine", "Do not climb ladders while drunk", "Do not blend non-food stuffs". So why should the PC owner/user/carer be offended? 

Anyway, what follows is a list of things I recommend you don't do with a computer. If I sound preachy or patronizing, I don't mean to and apologize. Anyway, here is my list, in no particular order. 

  1. Never be in a rush with a PC. Things are bound to go wrong. Remember, more haste, less speed. 
  2. Never try to fix a monitor or power supply unit. Both are cheap to replace and can kill you! 
  3. Never open a hard drive unless you are experimenting with an old, defunct one. 
  4. Never connect or disconnect internal components while the PC is on. Same goes for serial ports, keyboards, mice and monitors 
  5. When dismantling a PC, don't be too proud to take notes, draw diagrams and sketches. 
  6. Eating and drinking around your PC is a good way to ruin peripherals! 
  7. Never operate a PC when tired or under the influence of alcohol. 
  8. If you thing your PC has a virus - STOP what you are doing. More damage is done by people in a rush or panic to fix the problem than by viruses themselves. Your PC won't bleed to death if you leave it. 
  9. Never reply to junk email or use the unsubscribe links. 
  10. If an offer or deal seems too good to be true, it probably is! 
  11. Don't open email attachments unless you know where they came from. Even then, think twice before opening something you didn't ask for. 
  12. Never set a password to "password". 
  13. Make sure that you do actually RTFM. 
  14. Never leave a backup until "tomorrow". 
  15. Don't run a PC without up to date antivirus and a firewall. 
  16. Don't keep your backups on your PC. 
  17. Never allow pets to operate your PC. 
  18. Don't tape passwords to your monitor or write them on sticky notes. 
  19. Don't ignore rattling noises, grinding sounds or odd smells coming from your PC - Switch off until you can investigate!
  20. Never use a vacuum cleaner inside your system or on your keyboard.
  21. Never work inside a PC without an anti-static wrist strap.

Read more in chapter 5 of The PC Doctor's Fix It Yourself Guide!

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
Last updated: March 8th 2005
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