December 09, 2019 4 minutes to read ∙ 800 words

Ask Techie: A Software Update Crashed My Computer! What Should I Do?

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Welcome to the latest installment of our monthly Q&A column, where a panel of experts answers your questions about using technology in your law practice.

This month we answer readers’ questions about separating your personal Facebook profile from your law practice profile, and how to recover if a software update crashes your computer.

Q: Should I have two separate Facebook profiles, one for my law practice and one for my personal use?

A: Yes. Absolutely. One hundred percent. The only reason not to have a specific Facebook profile for your law office is that you are trying to wind down your practice and don’t want new clients. Facebook is free, it’s used by almost 2.5 billion people, and there is a growing trend toward consumers’ researching businesses on Facebook. As for having a separate account, there are two key reasons to do so. The first is that business accounts on Facebook are able to do different things and contain additional information that is essential for consumers looking for businesses. The second reason is that you are not your business; what you want to post personally is not necessarily always what you want to post for your law practice.

Techie: Jordan L. Couch, GPSolo eReport Contributing Technology Editor, Palace Law, jordan@palacelaw.com.

Q: A software update crashed my computer! How can I get it working again?

A: Starting with Windows 7, Microsoft has included in the Windows Operating System a System Protection feature as one of its Recovery Options. System Protection works by creating snapshots of your system, creating a Restore Point for each snapshot. Each Restore Point allows you to roll back any changes made to the system—such as updates to Windows, system files, applications, system settings, and more—to a Restore Point. This is especially helpful if an update or other software installation goes awry. Using a Restore Point, you can restore to the most recent Restore Point or an earlier Restore Point, but only if the feature is turned on. Often System Protection is turned off by Windows updates, so you should not assume that it is working. In my opinion, you should always make sure that the Restore Point feature is turned on for your Windows computer.

As with most things relating to technology, you need to trust but verify. In Windows 10, you can check the status of System Protection, Configure System Restore (i.e., Restore Points and rollback to a Restore Point). To launch the Recovery panel:

  1. Click the Windows Start button.
  2. Type Recovery, which should show the link to the Recovery window in the Windows Control panel.
  3. Click the Recovery icon, which will launch the Recovery panel.
  4. Click Configure System Restore to open the System Protection tab.
  5. Check under Protection Settings on the System Protection tab to see if System Protection is turned on for your hard drive (usually the C: drive).
  6. If it is not or you want to check or change the restore settings, click the Configure button.
  7. Make sure that Turn on System Protection is selected under Restore Settings. Under Disk Space Usage, you can allocate how much of your hard drive you want to allocate for storing Restore Pints. The larger the space, the more Restore Points saved and the further you can roll back settings. However, you do not want this space to be so large that it limits your ability to store documents or to install and update software.
  8. Once you have made your selections, click the OK button.
  9. To create a manual Restore Point, click the Create button at the bottom of the System Protection tab.
  10. This will open the Create Restore Point dialog box and will ask you to provide a name for the Restore Point. I tend to name my manual restore points for the what is being updated. For example, if I am updating SnagIt, I will call the Restore Point “Pre-SnagIt update” so I can easily identify what I did right after creating the Restore Point.
  11. Click the Create button, and Windows will create your Restore Point.

One very important caveat: Restore Points only work on system and application files; they do not save changes to or deletions of your documents such as word processing, spreadsheets, PDFs, etc., so you cannot use them to roll back to an earlier version of a Word file. To protect your data such as word-processing files, spreadsheets, PDF files, etc., you need to implement a backup strategy, which can also include backing up your system and program files as well as your data.

Rolling your system back using a Restore Point can also be done from the System Protection tab using the System Restore button. For a step-by-step tutorial with images on creating a Restore Point and how to roll back to an earlier point using a Restore Point, check out this guide from How-To Geek.

Techie: Nerino J. Petro Jr., GPSolo eReport Contributing Technology Editor, Erickson Group, nerinopetro@cencomtech.com.

What’s YOUR Question?

If you have a technology question, please forward it to Managing Editor Rob Salkin (robert.salkin@americanbar.org) at your earliest convenience. Our response team selects the questions for response and publication. Our regular response team includes Jeffrey Allen, Wells H. Anderson, Jordan L. Couch, Ashley Hallene, Al Harrison, and Patrick Palace. We publish submitted questions anonymously, just in case you do not want someone else to know you asked the question.

Please send in your questions today!

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Published in GPSolo eReport, Volume 9, Number 5, December 2019. © 2019 by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association. The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the American Bar Association or the Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division.