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Keeping Records

Still valid in 2016

Do You Keep Records? Some folks are fanatics at it, but most of us are procrastinators when it comes to keeping records

I've been inside lots of homes of my clients and I know some are fanatics for keeping records. One area that is lacking is keeping records of our computer. I have worked with some who don't know their passwords or registration numbers. Lets correct that.

Start by making a new document and save it as "Computer Records".

The first thing you need to add to this document is the specs of the computer you are using. If you have the original box, invoice, or a label on the computer, you can copy the data from that. The data you need will include:
The processor type and speed. IE: Intel or 500 MHz
Hard drive size (200 GB)
RAM (128 GB)
Other drives: DVD

If you can't find these records, click Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, System Information.
Then use the Alt Print Screen method described here to record the data. If you have changed any hardware since you bought the computer, the info on this page will differ from (or add to) your original data. One piece of information that may not show up here is the processor speed. You can determine it by watching the DOS screen as you start the computer, or enter the setup program for BIOS or using a program to do it. One of the best is at http://www.belarc.com/. You can print the records or add them to your document. See also Special Utilities

Then you need the registration numbers for your software. All Microsoft programs (and many others) have a registration number and if it is lost, reinstalling the program will halt until you enter the correct number. Most common are Windows, Office and Corel. If you don't know the number, you can survey the computer to find it. Early versions (95) displayed the number in the system properties dialog box, but since 98, the number is a 25 character number that does not display. To find it requires using a program called Regedit and looking into the Registry.

The really nice thing about the Belarc Advisor program is that it records all of your registration numbers. Especially important for Microsoft programs and any others you paid for.

What you look for with Microsoft programs is a number recorded on the CD case or on a label called a "Certificate of Authenticity". I write the number on the CD with a permanent marker to avoid losing it.

Many other programs require registration numbers. You need to make a list of installed software and any associated numbers. I have many downloaded programs that provide the number by e-mail. I recently went through my old e-mail and recorded all my registration numbers in preparation for a reformat and reinstall of Windows and all the software. This can happen if your system has become corrupted or the hard drive dies and needs to be replaced.

Now after recording the information, be sure to save the document and print a copy and file it with your permanent computer records.

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