These are the LAROKE "Rules", "Guidelines", and "General Procedures" I use when configuring PC hardware and software.
There is no "magic" here just good, common sense, rules of thumb.
LAROKE Rules, Guidelines, and General Procedures
("Lawyer stuff" in a nation with more lawyers than the rest of the world combined, disclaimers are sadly necessary)
NOTICE OF LIABILITY: All information presented herewith is provided on an "As Is" basis, without warranty or the implication thereof. Neither LAROKE Microcomputer Consultants nor the individuals associated with the preparation of the information supplied herein shall have any liability to any person or entity with respect to liability, loss, or damage caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by the instructions contained within this presentation.
RULES "There can be only One!"
The LAROKE Cardinal Rule: Make Backups a Religion! You cannot go too far wrong if this is the only rule you follow.
Naming Conventions: When naming "objects" that will be accessed by software from different operating environments (i.e. DOS, Windows 3.x, Windows 95), use names that can be understood by all the different software applications. In this example, DOS is the "lowest common denominator" or most restricted environment. If, for instance, in a Microsoft Networks environment you can give a PC a name with a "space" in it like "Computer One". Windows 95 programs will have no problem with this. However some programs that are not Windows 95 aware will "choke" on a name like this when establishing a network drive or printer mapping. Some programs interpret the mapping to end after "Computer" and the word "One" and whatever follows it to be some kind of parameter instead of part of the mapping path. I found this out the hard way when setting up a client's system. A better name in this situation would be "Comput_1" (alphanumeric characters and underscore limited to a length of eight).
Network Drive Names: Since you can have drives designated A: through Z: on a MS-DOS based operating system, I like to use the International Civil Aviation Organization Phonetic Alphabet when setting network drive "Sharing Names" or "Shortnames" to distinguish them from local drives on a PC. I find this to be more readable when viewing a drive-mapping designation. The names I use conform to the New International column in the table below:
Take care of the Documentation first: When you first get new hardware or software, do the documentation. fill out the registration forms. Record serial numbers and place in a safe place (where you can find them again). When I install hardware and software, I fill out a maintenance log with all the important info as I go along. Sometimes, I get lazy and don't follow this procedure when I work on my own equipment, and I usually end up regretting it.
Connection Labels: When setting up a PC, and when adding external peripherals to a PC, take time to label both the cables and the connectors with written descriptions. This allows you to quickly disconnect and reconnect the computer in the future.
Anti-static Precautions: Before handling circuit board components and working in an open, disconnected, PC, discharge any static electricity by wearing a anti-static wristband, or touching the PC power supply. Also touch the power supply often if not using a wristband to prevent static charge buildup.
Testing: When I add a hardware component or change jumpers, etc., I usually leave the case open for testing. When using this method be careful not to touch components when the power is on.
Installing Software: When installing software for Windows, it is good to get into the habit of closing all other programs. Many installers for Windows software applications like to have the Windows environment all to theirselves, and other programs running in the background can cause lockups. Well-behaved installers will inform you to close down other programs and give you the opportunity to do so prior to continuation, but don't count on this good behavior.
Installing Downloaded Software: After installing downloaded software, store a copy of the original downloaded file(s) in a safe place, in case you have to install the program again sometime in the future, and the download is no longer available online.
Moving Software Between Computers: When moving software from one PC to another, Make sure the installation on the new computer is working properly before uninstalling or erasing the application from the old machine.
Making an Emergency Boot Disk: It's good practice to prepare the Emergency Boot Disk with the drive it will be booted from. On occasion, a diskette formatted by one floppy drive cannot be read by another due to slight misalignment problems. Preparing the boot disk with the same drive it will be run from tries to avoid this "gotcha".
LAROKE Microcomputer Consultants
Issued Saturday, April 26, 1997
Updated Saturday, September 13, 1997
copyright © 1997 LAROKE Microcomputer Consultants all rights reserved