Don’t be afraid of your computer!
Hi, everyone. Leo Notenboom here for askleo.com. So a while back, one of my assistants asked me in response to seeing a question that came through – why is this person asking this question rather than just trying it out?
Indeed. You can wait for a few days for an answer from me, or you can try it out and see what happens and get the answer yourself almost immediately. Now, yes, I get there are things that are honestly, really too risky to just try randomly. I get that.
But there are so many things that fall into this category of very simple, “If I do ‘A’ will ‘B’ happen?”, where both A and B are benign and very safe and just very, I don’t know, simple things that could be easily tried to get the answer you’re looking for without waiting for someone, anyone, be it me or anyone else to get back to you with an answer.
These are things that are just safe to try. Now, of course, I’m certainly not talking about just completely random things to whack at your computer with. I’m assuming that you’ve done at least a little bit of research, maybe, that will guide you in a direction or that you have some familiarity with whatever it is you’re about to play with.
I’m assuming you know, for example, what “delete” means and you wouldn’t randomly go deleting things, for example. But there are so many things that fall into this category of, “Why not give it a try?”, that I’m really perplexed and honestly sometimes quite frustrated at people’s unwillingness to venture out and to try a few things with their machine.
The problem, of course, is that so many people are quite literally scared of their machine; they’re scared of doing something to their machine. They’re afraid of their machine. They’re so afraid that they’re paralyzed in fear, unable to do anything that they’re not absolutely, completely already familiar with.
And that is really, really unfortunate. As I said, I find that incredibly frustrating at a personal level but also very sad, because that fear is getting in the way of not just enjoying or even in some cases using the computer, but it’s also getting in the way of learning – trying things out – experimenting is one of the best ways to learn how to do something and that’s all very true when it comes to your computer and technology in general.
Now, again, I know, I know that things can go wrong. We all hear horror stories. Horror stories make for good stories; they really do, but the fact is most of the time things work. Most of the time, things are not damaged. Most of the time, things are not damaged in a way that couldn’t be recovered. Most of the time, quite easily. And yet, because we hear the worst, we fear the worst even though most of the time, the worst never happens. What people end up being afraid of, of course, is great. Most of the time things work but what about the rest of the time?
Well, you already know my answer to that. Back up. I’ve been saying it for a very long time, and it’s another reason I say it again here. Regular, full image backups of your machine coupled with perhaps something to deal with real-time changes like using Dropbox to back up your work in progress and now you find yourself in a situation where, yes, most of the time, things will work just fine.
If something doesn’t work, if something does go wrong, well you know what, you could mess up your machine so terribly that it won’t even boot. You could recover it from a backup just that simply to the state it was in before whatever it was happened that caused it to get into that bad situation. Backups, especially full image backups are that powerful and that conceptually simple.
Backing up gives you the freedom to experiment, to try things, safely. Most of the time, everything will work just fine. Most of the time, sure, something might go wrong, but it will be something that’s easily corrected or easily undone. For the rest of the time, you’re still safe, because you’ve got that full backup and whatever other recent backups you might have that will allow you to recover your machine, your entire machine no matter what you’ve done to the state it was in before whatever it was you did.
I encourage you to set up an environment where trying things on your computer is okay. In part, that means setting up that backup so that there’s really nothing to be afraid of no matter how badly things go wrong, you’ll be able to recover. It’s also realizing that most of the time, things work. Most of the time, the mistakes we make are not catastrophic.
Most of the time, we’re not going to damage our computer or lose our data by the experiments we might try. Like I said, even if we do, we have the backup in place to recover. The easiest way, the best way, the most effective way to learn how to use our computer more effectively and more efficiently is to try things on our own computers.
Try it on your computer, experiment with your computer, set up your computer so that you can use it, make mistakes, try things out and have it not be the disaster that perhaps you’re afraid of.
So I’ll turn it around. Are you afraid of your computer? Are you afraid of doing something wrong? Why? What is it that gets in your way from feeling comfortable trying things out? I’d love to hear? Are you a “try it out” kind of a person? I’d love to hear from you too. What kinds of things do you put into place that gives you the confidence to try things out?
I think that others would love to learn from what you might have to offer. As always, if you’re viewing this anywhere but on Ask Leo! head out to askleo.com. Here’s a link for this article in particular. Leave a comment. Let me know what you think. Let’s see if we can’t come up with some ways to make you feel more comfortable with your technology, a little less afraid of it and more willing to give things an experiment and give things a try and see what happens.
Until next week, I’m Leo Notenboom. Talk to you then – bye, bye.
- Can my image backup of Windows XP be used on my Windows 8 computer? - Backing up, particularly with backup image software, is for recovering from a disaster. It can also be handy when moving to a new machine, but probably not in the way you are thinking.
- One Reason Why You Don’t Need a New Computer - Buying a new machine is a common knee-jerk reaction to a bad malware infestation. And it's wrong. Not just a little wrong - it's very wrong and unnecessary.
- How Should I Back Up My Computer Before an Operating System Upgrade or Reinstall? - Step one to an operating system upgrade? Create a full system image backup of up your entire machine! Step one to a reinstall? The same.
- How do I recover my data from a crashed computer? -
As long as the problem isn't a damaged hard drive, you may be able to access your data with a Linux CD, or even better, a backup recovery CD.