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Check Off It's not always easy to put things in order. And we often don't know what we need until given the benefit of hindsight. You know the expression? Hindsight is 20-20.

Here are listed a few things that we often wish we'd done.

  • Make sure you have an operating system CDROM.
    This means that you need to have in your possession a CD of your version of Windows. Many times computers ship with Windows installed but you don't actually get a CD. YOU WILL NEED THAT CD ONE OF THESE DAYS. Pardon the caps. But we wanted to make sure you get the point. One of these days you will need to either reinstall Windows or install a component not already on your computer. Don't wait until you are in the middle of a printer installation to find out you are missing your Windows CDROM. Don't let the computer company not give you a CD. Demand it.

  • Try not to do business with 800 pound gorillas.
    There are many 800 pound gorillas in the computer world. Try not to do business with them. Do the least amount of business with them that you can. They are big. They often have the cool, easy to get stuff. An 800 pound gorilla can be very friendly and very nice and seem like they have your best interest at heart. Always remember that an 800 pound gorilla only has its interest at heart first and most -- period. When ever possible march to the beat of a drum that is not being hit by the 800 pound gorilla.

  • Connect to the internet.
    If someone is "helping" you get your system up and running don't let them leave the room until you can connect to the internet.
    • Find and start dial-up networking.
    • Browse to a webpage.
    • Send a piece of email (to yourself is good)
    • Receive a piece of email (like the one you just sent yourself).

  • Learn a few basics
    • Create a folder (such as c:\download or c:\incoming)
    • Download a file
    • Find a file in Windows Explorer
    • Open a Zip file.
    • Copy a piece of text
    • Paste a piece of text
    • Copy of file
    • Paste a file in another directory
    • Create a shortcut
    • Change you screen resolution