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Chapter 10

Tune Your Computer

Like a soldier cleans and polishes her rifle to keep it in working order, you need to care for your computer. While operating system manufacturers have tried to create the self-cleaning, maintenance-free computer, power users know they have to take PC upkeep into their own hands.

Hack 81
Save Your PC from Malware

"The scourge of personal computing in recent years has been malware: malicious software that installs itself without the user's consent and undermines the computer's operation for nefarious purposes, from identity theft to aggressive advertising to common vandalism."

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Hack 82
Clean Up Your Startup

"When it comes to computer slowdowns that get worse over time, one of the biggest culprits is software installations that plant themselves in your PC's login sequence and start up automatically with your computer."

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Hack 83
Undo System Configuration Changes

"You installed unstable software or made a configuration change to your PC that broke things left and right. Don't worry - all is not lost."

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Hack 84
Truly Delete Data from Your Hard Drive

"The only sure way to securely and permanently delete sensitive files--like a customer database, secret company documents, or personal photos you don't want the guy who buys your hard drive on Ebay to see--is to overwrite them several times with new data."

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Hack 85
Firewall Your Computer

"A home PC connected directly to the internet--especially with an always-on broadband connection like cable or DSL--is a prime target for malicious software attacks."

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Hack 86
Free Up Hard Drive Space

"Hard drive space is cheap and plentiful, but you don't have to run out to buy a whole new drive the minute you start pushing your current disk's space limits."

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Hack 87
Resurrect Deleted Files

"When you delete files from your computer's hard drive, the data is not actually erased. In reality, the space it occupies is marked as available for your operating system to overwrite with new data."

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Hack 88
Recover Files from an Unbootable PC

"Few moments in computing are as heartbreaking as when you turn on your trusty PC only to receive that bone-chilling message: Boot sector corrupt. Config.sys missing. Disk cannot be read."

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