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How to Handle a Computer Crash

If your computer suffers a system failure, this guide will help you work through the pain and stress and recover lost data with ease.


  • Step 1: Back up information Back up important documents and information to an external drive at least once a month. This will lessen the blow of a system crash.
  • Step 2: Walk away Walk away from your computer after a crash. Take a deep breath and don't panic. Return when you are able to think clearly and make logical, stress-free decisions.
  • TIP: Don't hit or yell at your computer. Sweet-talking your computer won't help, either.
  • Step 3: Wait for tomorrow Wait for tomorrow if you suffer a computer crash late in the day or at night. Give the computer -- and yourself -- a break.
  • Step 4: Restart computer Restart the computer and undo everything you did up until the crash including uninstalling programs, deleting downloads, and unplugging a new device.
  • Step 5: Turn it off Turn off your computer if it won't boot. If there is an error message asking you a question and you don't know the answer, don't guess, but don't turn it off, either.
  • Step 6: Call an expert Call an expert if your troubleshooting leads nowhere. Often it takes a professional to discover the real problem with special software.
  • FACT: In September 2008, heavy trading on the London Stock Exchange caused a computer crash that froze the markets for a full day.

You Will Need

  • External drive
  • Patience
  • Computer expert

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