Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
PC Fear Factor: The Ultimate PC Disaster Prevention Guide Paperback – October 24, 2002
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
From the Author
PC Fear Factor is a comprehensive, uncompromising end users guide to PC disaster prevention and recovery. It is written in clear, non-technical language that anyone can understand. It provides detailed, step-by-step instruction on how to prevent most computer disasters, and how to recover quickly, easily, and completely from unavoidable disasters.
Aimed at home users, PC Fear Factor addresses computer disasters you have come to know and hate disasters caused by computer viruses, hackers, and hard disk crashes as well as self-inflicted computer disasters (who among us has not trashed their computer by making some ill advised change?) and the ever-popular Twilight Zone disaster the disaster of mysterious unknown origin.
Computer disasters are gut wrenching experiences. Anyone who has ever seen his digital photographs, spreadsheets, or MP3s vanish into cyberspace can attest to this.
The central theme of PC Fear Factor is simple but powerful: that personal computers are unstable equilibriums, naturally prone to disruption and disaster. With each passing year, our computing environments become increasingly more complex and more prone to failure.
Any change to your computing environment - even the most seemingly innocuous one -can disrupt your computers unstable equilibrium. By definition, when an unstable equilibrium is disturbed, disaster follows, because the system does not return to its previous state of equilibrium. If you are not prepared to deal with such disasters, your computer has become the worlds most elegant but expensive paperweight.
Most people never consider the terrible impact a computer disaster will have on their lives until it is too late. If you have been fortunate enough to avoid a computer disaster up until now and have done nothing to prepare for such a disaster, you are computing on borrowed time.
PC Fear Factor is designed to put you back in control of your computing environment. I hope you enjoy the book!
From the Back Cover
What would you do if the hard drive containing a year's worth of financial data and your wedding photos suddenly stops working? What would you do if Internet hackers run off with your credit card numbers and rack up several thousand dollars in 1-900 calls? Most people never even remotely consider the possibility of a computer disaster, but instead take it for granted that their computer will always work. Inevitably, disaster strikes in various forms, from hardware failures to hackers, fires, floods, and even simple human error. PC Fear Factor: The Ultimate PC Disaster Prevention Guide is the first line of defense in keeping safe from these all-too-real situations. This book provides non-technical computer users with the ability to prevent computer disasters wherever possible, and the ability to recover from unavoidable disasters quickly, easily, and completely.
Top customer reviews
The book's objective is to help users prevent avoidable computer disasters and to recover "quickly, easily, and completely" from unavoidable disasters, thereby taking total control of their computing environment.
This book shows you how to protect yourself against every computer disaster imaginable, including viruses, hackers, mechanical failure, self-inflicted computer disasters cause by "ill advised" changes to your computing environment. The book also addresses the most frustrating type of disaster of all: disasters of "mysterious unknown origin." Having been in aggravating situations where my computer suddenly stopped working for no apparent reason, I am thankful that this book provides solutions for such disasters.
The book is geared for non-technical home, home office, and small office users of personal computers. It addresses all three currently supported consumer oriented versions of Windows: 98, Millennium, and XP. The author goes to great lengths to provide solutions for each flavor of Windows.
Mr. Luber's main premise is one that I can identify with: that personal computers are unstable equilibriums, naturally prone to "disruption and disaster." He makes a compelling case, explaining that our computing environments are growing increasingly complex with each passing year as use more applications - applications that often conflict with each other or hardware components, or worse, trash your system. (The author even provides examples of applications intended to solve problems that actually cause problems in some cases.)
In addition, the author argues, we place higher service demands on our computers and have more computers than ever before, effectively multiplying the chances of a computer disaster that results in the loss of irreplaceable data. Mr. Luber also notes that we store more valuable data on our computers than in the past, so that the impact of a computer disaster is far worse than it was a few short years ago. This is certainly true in my case, as I have several gigabytes worth of digital music, photographs, and other critical documents on my computer. I never realized how vulnerable I was or contemplated the thought of losing that data until I read this book.
The title of the book is somewhat misleading. This book isn't about creating fear - it's about creating awareness and providing solutions.
The author lays a foundation of knowledge and need in the opening chapters, explaining why it is crucial that users take control over their computing environments to prevent computer disasters. Mr. Luber explains technical concepts in clear understandable English and using non-technical analogies that are very helpful, such as comparing the physical and logical structures of your computer's hard disk to an office building.
The author explains what tools you will need to prevent and recover from computer disasters. He recommends specific products and provides detailed, step-by-step instructions that anybody of reasonable intelligence can follow. I already had two of the software applications recommended in PC Fear Factor, and the book does a better job of explaining how to use them than the vendors' own documentation! The author even explains deficiencies in the tools and advises the reader on how to work around them.
The book is extremely readable and well written, and is laced with unexpected, droll humor that enabled me to learn and laugh at the same time. The author weaves many pop culture references into the discussion, and the device makes for a very entertaining as well as informative book. More than once, I found myself laughing out loud at a hilarious comment inserted almost incongruously in the midst of a serious discussion about cyber-terrorism or disaster recovery. Part of the pleasure in reading this book is that these sudden injections of humor take you completely by surprise.
The book also includes many real-world examples of computer disasters, including one that befell ex-Beatle Paul McCartney.
The book includes two important chapters for those of us who are about to purchase a new computer. One chapter explains how to avoid a computer disaster before you purchase the computer, and another chapter explains how to minimize the chances of disasters during the life of your computer by following a structure and a process for putting your new computer into service.
The author also includes two chapters that help you prepare for unavoidable computer disasters, such as a hard disk crash, and one chapter to help you recover from such disasters.
Mr. Luber integrates the book with his web site, which is really helpful because the book contains dozens of important links to web sites. Rather than require readers to manually enter these links, the author provides a page on his web site where you can access all of the links, chapter by chapter, page by page. The links are also kept up to date as they change. The web site is well designed and as easy to use as the book. You can even contact the author through his web site. (I asked the author a question and received a personal reply!)
Mr. Luber also focuses on the administrative side of things - putting effective procedures into place that all members of your family should follow to minimize the chances of a computer disaster. He notes the importance of educating and training each family member, because it only takes one weak link to cause a computer disaster.
The think I like most about the book is that it covers each topic in depth. Many books gloss over topics at a high level. Not so here - all of the information you need for disaster prevention and recovery is right here in one comprehensive, readable, entertaining book.
One word of advice, though: don't look at the cover without sunglasses.
Perhaps if you are a computer guru who delights in reformatting his hard disk and rebuilding it from scratch, you may not get a lot out of this book. For us mere mortals, who I suspect comprise 95% of the people who use computers, this book is a godsend.
I use computers every day, and although I am an expert in the applications that I use, I am not a computer expert. Mr. Luber's formula for defensive computing has enabled me to gain total control over my computing environment. Thanks to this book, I no longer have to worry about losing valuable data, or having my hard disk trashed by a computer virus or poorly written software application. I compute with impunity, secure in the knowledge that I can recover quickly and easily from any type of computer disaster.
If Mr. Luber is a bit paranoid, I say better to be too careful than too careless. If I had been as "paranoid" as I should, I could have prevented several disasters over the years.
Mr. Luber talks nerdy to me in language I can understand. He explains complex technical subjects better than any author I have read, and has a writing style that is as entertaining and interesting as it is informative.
Here are just a few of the dozens of useful things I have learned from this book:
1) If you restore your system from a hard disk backup, your computer is now more vulnerable to virus infections and hackers, because you are restoring your computer to the date in time the backup was taken. This means that your virus signatures and Microsoft security updates are out of date. Mr. Luber tells you how to fix the problem after restoring from a backup.
2) When you take your computer in for repair, you should backup all of your data, delete it from your computer (including your email messages and account information), and then use a disk scrubber to prevent somebody in the shop from recovering the deleted data. I never realized how easy it was for somebody to do this until I read this book. Mr. Luber provides detailed instructions on how to do this.
3) Don't use the power switch on your surge protector to turn off your equipment - the surge protector affords no protection if it is turned off.
4) Norton Antivirus automatically updates your virus definitions, but normally only does so once a week. If you really want to achieve maximum protection with Norton Antivirus, you need to run Norton's Intelligent Updater daily. Else, you may be exposed to some viruses for up to a week. Again, the author shows you how to do this.
My only criticism of the book is its title and cover. I think Defensive Computing would have been a far better title than PC Fear Factor. I suspect the author was trying to appeal to the television crowd. And the cover, while eyecatching, belies the serious and useful content, in my opinion. I probably would not have picked it up based on the title and cover. Fortunately, I heard about the book purely by chance when I heard the author on a local radio show.