Install as little software as possible. You'll have fewer
software conflicts, an easier-to-manage system, and more disk
space available for your own stuff. Unfortunately, this advice
clashes with the reason why computers were invented in the
first place: to run software.
Install more RAM. Yeah, everybody says it, but its true.
If you can't stop buggy programs from leaking memory, you
can at least give them more memory to leak. How much RAM do
you need? According to a scientific survey of experts, you
always need n + 16 MB, where n equals the amount
of RAM you have now.
Periodically flush your system. One of the surprising things
BYTE learned while researching this article is that an apparently
large number of users reformat their hard drives and reinstall
all their software on a fairly regular basis. Even some companies
do it. Some do this as often as twice a year. It seems drastic,
but they claim it significantly improves reliability and performance.
Run as little as possible. Do you really need to have five
different applications open at once? Sure, it's convenient,
but they'll squabble like naughty children over resources,
and they increase the frequency of page faults (i.e., memory
accesses that force the system to retrieve virtual pages from
disk instead of from RAM).
Don't be a beta booby. Public releases are all the rage,
but remember: "Beta" means "buggy." If
you have a compelling reason to test some beta software, install
it on a system you don't need for productivity. To do otherwise
is like pasting a "Crash Me" sticker on your back.
Buy good hardware. A brand-name motherboard , no matter where
it is made, is more reliable than a cheap generic one, and
the cost difference isn't huge. Spend a few dollars more on
things like cooling fans and power supplies. Buy the kind
of SIMMs your motherboard supplier recommends. Buy good cables.
Little things matter.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Stable systems are stable
because they don't change much. (Duh.) Don't upset a system
by endlessly tinkering with it - unless tinkering is your
hobby or you get paid to write about your adventures, as Jerry
Run diagnostic programs. This is especially important if
you've been suffering from system-stopping crashes because
each calamity is sure to leave broken files and other debris
on your disk. You can use the diagnostics that came with your
system (the disk tools included with Windows and the Mac aren't
bad) or a third-party utility.
If it's broke, fix it. When a system keeps crashing, don't
shrug it off. If a particular program seems to be the problem,
look for patches on the publishers web site. If there aren't
any patches, consider upgrading to a newer version of the
software or reverting to an older version. You might even
consider switching products. If your system crashes for no
apparent reason, try a diagnostic and repair utility, such
as Fist Aid Deluxe, Norton Utilities, or RealHelp. If you're
desperate, try Tip 3.