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Home System Administrator

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Who is the home system administrator and exactly what does he need to do? Perhaps we could best answer that with an analogy ........ Computers are much like cars. Each has three types of people who use them.

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  • Each has users who look at the scenery and listen to the music … but who do nothing to keep things running properly. We call such people ‘passengers’.
  • Each needs people to make repairs when something goes seriously wrong. Car owners call such people mechanics, while computer users call them technicians.
  • Finally, each needs somebody to handle the day-to-day maintenance. For cars, this includes putting fuel in the tank and air in the tyres; we call this person ‘the driver’. For computers, it includes installing new programs and defragmenting files, and the person who does this is called ‘the home system administrator’, or ‘sysad’ for short.

In government and corporation offices, sysads are usually IT professionals. In homes there are two types of syads,
  • People who call in a technician or buy a new computer whenever their computer needs attention; or
  • People who learn how to look after their computers

This manual is for the second type of person; it provides essential information for all home sysads.

The Job of the Home Sysad

  • In most homes, the main job of the home sysad is not just to keep the family computer running; it is to keep it running for as long as possible. The family computer is often a fairly major financial investment which, with proper care, can remain useful for five or ten years or more. This is quite unlike governments and many businesses, which replace their computers every year or two.
  • A second job for the home sysad can be keeping the computer safe on the Internet. Actually, this is a job for the entire family - for everybody who uses the computer.

The Internet is a very dangerous place, in many ways as dangerous as driving a car on the road. Just as motorists have to learn how to drive, learn the traffic rules, and then learn to look after their cars, so all Internet users have to do much the same. Nevertheless, while Internet security may be everybody’s job, there are usually some security tasks which the family will leave to the home sysad.

Scope of this Manual

This workbook is written specifically for the home user. It assumes that the user will be using the computer exclusively for domestic, hobby and leisure purposes. Also, the workbook deals exclusively with the issues of looking after Windows XP. Quite simply, this is because, at the time of writing, most home users use XP. Finally, this manual makes no attempt to teach everything there is to know, nor to cover every essential skill. Rather, its aim is provide some insight into the tasks of the home system administrator, and to help you learn some of the more commonly needed skills. If you want to know more, we recommend buying a comprehensive XP guide such as “XP for Dummies

Click here for the next page of the workbook.

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