If you still use Windows XP and your antivirus program is Microsoft Security Essentials, my recommendation is to uninstall Microsoft Security Essentials and install Avast in its place before April 2014. This is because Microsoft is reportedly not going to support Microsoft Security Essentials updates for XP after that date.
Avast is free and is now actually ranked better than MSE by some as of mid-2013.
If you have precious data on your computer, you need a way to make sure you have it backed up in case of fire, computer failure, theft, etc. If your hard drive goes bad, you will either have to pay a LOT of money to get the data back, or you just lose the data. (Hard drive failure is common, even with new computers.)
Here are some easy backup options:
Microsoft SyncToy is a free Windows program that allows you to back up files quickly and easily to an external drive or flash drive. You can get small flash drives that are at least 32 GB in size for a very reasonable price. You click the sync option and only the files since the last sync operation are copied over to your backup.
Online Syncing: If you have less than 5-10 GB of data and a good Internet connection, there are a number of online sync options available that automatically back up your user data. See this article.
Make sure you keep installation CDs for any purchased programs you use.
If you can’t read the product key on your Microsoft Windows registration sticker or CD, you should record the key somewhere in case you need to re-install Windows.
There are lots of possibilities out there for public or private file sharing and syncing.
Why use it?
File sharing enables you to share files, photos, and mp3 messages with others. For instance, you can upload recordings of assembly meetings to one of these services and then share the files with specific people from your assembly.
File syncing enables you to back up (!) the files on your computer automatically to an online server. If you change a file on your computer that is in a synced folder, the file will automatically be updated at the online server as well.
Then if you lose your computer, you still have your files! If you are away from home and don’t have your computer, you can access the same files online. If you modify them online, they will be updated on your computer when you get home.
Google has its own suite of online programs that function similar to Microsoft Office. They are not a replacement for Office (a bit buggy at times, and all the functionality isn’t there), but they do make online collaboration easy. Google drive is the location where these documents are stored, along with your synced documents.
Box has a slick way of displaying and playing mp3 files on your own website.
Warning! If you share your files with someone else, they may be able to delete them accidentally. Settings for giving people permission to do certain things vary between services. It is possible to retrieve deleted files, but Dropbox users (at least) must do this one file at a time (last I knew).