Important Geek Info Which Non-Geeks Need to Know

One of the occupational hazards of working in technology, is that users stop listening to you the minute that the technology that you fixed starts working.

Sometimes I get so tired of repeating myself that I give up.  Until my wife reminded me that many people don't listen because they simply don't understand what the tech's are telling them.  So.

I'm going to try to tell you what other geeks are telling you, and I'm also going to try to tell you WHY it's important.  

1: Obscure login's and passwords are often worth gold - therefore keep a record of them.
Why? - You may not need a specific login frequently, but when you need it, you need it, like, RIGHT NOW.  You may think you remember it. You may think that "It's just the same as that other username and password."  And you may be wrong.  
Put it in a notebook, or even better a doc or XLS and password protect the file.
Now instead of a bunch of passwords to remember, you only need to remember one.
This can save hours of time, and hours of by-guess-and-by-golly frustration.

My wife's question was "But where do I store this info?  My email's been hacked already once."  Any place which can be secured will do.

2: When you buy software, you're not paying for the box, or the disk, you're paying for that little product code you used to "activate" it.

Without a product code for activation, your software will stop working after 60 days.

Yet many people lose track of the product code, or even (gasp!) throw it out.  You may have paid a couple of hundred for that code.  Need it again? Get out the credit card. You'll be buying it all over.

Got a camera phone? Take a picture of the product code, then store it somewhere safe.  Product code for Windows?  It's on a tag on the computer. 

You could just look for free and open-source alternatives to that expensive payware (see the rest of the site).

3: Backups are always a pain, but always worth it. 
Think of it like changing the oil on your car.  Make a periodic backup of your files, off of the computer.  Every version of Windows 7 and Windows 8 has backup software built in, all you have to do is have a backup destination.  There are also special locations for various files, which you can select and add to your backup.

Most of the file's you're interested in are in the C:\users folder in a subfolder named for your profile.

I usually back up My Documents, Desktop and Favorites folders.
In most software, under "Tools" or "Settings" there should be an option called "Export".  It'll let you create a file that you can back up and keep safe.