This article is prompted by my main computer crashing three times in three days (which has never happened to me before). By crashing, I mean the dreaded so called “Blue Screen of Death.” If you do not know what that is, that is a good thing. If you do, then you know exactly what that means. It means your computer boots up with a blue screen with an error message and will not run correctly. So, I have a few hints that might help all of us computer users to recover when that happens.
First of all, it is always good to run system restore, especially when your computer has been reinstalled with a clean operating system.
Second, it is good to have your documents and such not on your main C: drive, but another drive. Use a program like Dropbox or OneDrive to keep your important documents in the cloud (with the local storage on your second drive). If you need or desire, you can also add encrypting software for added security. You can also have a removable hard drive that has these documents as well (duplication of your stored files is good).
Third, in Dropbox or OneDrive, or you can use a USB disk, make an install folder with the name of the program you will want to install should a crash happen, along with the install files as well, for example: Office 2016. This way, when you start reinstalling programs, they are all in one spot. Additionally, one trick I use is to put a document file in the folder with the install key or code, this saves looking all over the place for keys and codes.
Fourth, use a good password program like Dashlane (there are a number of others), to store and save your passwords. You can print this out and keep it in a safe place.
Fifth, once you have your computer running well with all your needed programs, find a hard drive cloning program and clone the system drive (the main boot drive). If a crash happens, you can just swap out the main drive with the cloned one. You can then reformat the removed drive and clone the operating system back to it. For me, this is the simplest and easiest way to back up your computer. Actually, having two cloned disks, and alternating updating the drives is my preferred method. It is easy, fast, and simple (and there are lots of good free cloning programs available).
Sixth, having a rescue partition installed on your main boot drive (like One Key Recovery), can help when your computer is starting to have problems. You can also find software to install a rescue partition in a different location than your boot system disk. Many versions of windows will also allow you to refresh your operating system, you may lose your installed programs, but if they are in Dropbox or OneDrive, you can just reinstall them.
Finally, you can have good system restore files, a backed up partition, a cloned drive, and it will not work correctly. My cloned drive somehow did not work (in the past many times it has worked great), system restore would not come up, and my installed rescue partition did not work. If your hard drive fails, of course, these things will not work as well, (but the cloned drive should have worked).
I had to do a complete reinstall of my system, fortunately, my data files, stored on Dropbox (personal and install files) and OneDrive (Vail Voice files), were intact, minus a few files that did not get placed yet. Once I got it up and running, I cloned the drive, made a system restore point, and saved a recovery image. I understand that for many this is easier said than done; however, most computer repair shops are very skilled in doing these things should you need assistance in this matter. Additionally, there is lots of information on the internet on how to do these things.