Q. A techie know-it-all in my office tells me I should create an emergency start-up disk. However, he’s also the kind of guy who wears a belt and suspenders—right? So should I ignore him?
A. Ignore him at your own risk. Even techie know-it-alls who wear belts and suspenders are right some of the time.
When it comes to computers, you can’t be too safe. After all, your professional data are stored on it, and there’s going to be a time when you hit the power button and the computer will grind away but nothing will appear on the screen. That’s when you wish you had made a start-up disk.
OK, the sermon is over. Now, let me tell you about a start-up disk. When an operating system is first installed on a computer, a screen usually appears that strongly suggests you prepare a start-up disk. Unfortunately, when you take delivery of the computer, the operating system is usually already installed and unfortunately no one advises you about that option.
So now’s the time to correct that serious omission; it takes only a few minutes.
First, locate a blank, formatted floppy disk. Open the Control Panel (Start, Settings, Control Panel) and double-click on Add/Remove Programs (see below, left).
Select the Startup Disk tab and click on the Create Disk button (see below, right).
Just follow the screen instructions. When finished, label the disk Startup Disk , add the date and put it in a safe place—but not so safe that you’ll forget where you put it.
Now if ever your computer fails to fire up, just slip in the disk and hit the power button. The disk contains all the essential files for getting the computer under way.