How to Survive the Worst PC Disasters

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PC disasters.
Illustration: Edwin Fotheringham
When it comes to computers, sometimes things go south...and sometimes they go to Antarctica. If your computer won't boot or your data's gone astray, panic is soon to follow, and you might find yourself making things worse in your haste to solve the problem.

To prepare for that inevitable day, save this article: The next time some piece of hardware or software decides to take an unexpected vacation, pull out and consult our handy guide to see how to deal with some of computing's most devastating debacles.

Of course, this advice won't solve every tech-related problem you may come across, but it includes some neat tricks that you may not have thought of, such as freezing a bad hard drive to get it to boot one last time so you can retrieve your data, baking your wet mobile device in an oven set on low to make it functional again, and putting a delay on your outbound e-mail so you have a chance to reconsider the flame you just wrote.

If you're interested in a particular problem, here's a list of what we've included in the following pages:

  1. Your computer won't boot
  2. You just told off the CEO in an e-mail and instantly regret it
  3. No PCs show on the network
  4. Your identity has been stolen!
  5. Your Net connection is dead
  6. You're being sued by the RIAA/MPAA
  7. Your device just got doused with water--or worse
  8. You're inundated with pop-ups when you boot your PC (adware/spyware infestation)
  9. You deleted a critical file--and have no backup
  10. Your hard drive has crashed
  11. You forgot your Windows password
  12. Your presentation just croaked

For more in this package, be sure to check out the following items:

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