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One thought to keep in mind before making any major changes to your system is what to do if something goes wrong. By major changes I mean adding new programs mostly but really anything that you do that is possibly going to change system files or result in the loss of data should be considered. Adding new hardware comes to mind. Updating a driver or changing settings are both good examples. In order to be able to recover from what seems like a disaster, set a restore point. This essentially takes a snapshot of important settings and keeps them safe so that you can restore them. Here's the process:
Left click Start, then all programs, then accessories, then system tools and finally system restore. (you can hover the cursor over menu items and they'll open also).
Click the little circle to the left of where it say's "create a restore point" and then left click on next.
Enter useful information here, such as the date and a hint as to what you are doing (2/4/06 - installing firefox) and then left click create
In the event of a breakdown of your system, repeat step 1 above and then leave "restore my computer to an earlier time" selected and follow the process by left clicking next and then selecting an earlier date and look for comments that indicate the point you want.
Windows XP is set up to automatically create these restore points at given times and you can restore from any point on the calendar. This process does not effect email or other personal files.
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