Below are a few tips:
1. Stop at the first sign of trouble
2. Don’t panic.
3. If there is a blocking or error message, write down what it says before you do anything else, and try to figure out what the message means. If you can, google what the error message says, even if you have to use a different computer to do so. Or use YouTube how-tos.
4. Track what you try to do; take screen shots or screen casts if you know how (use Evernote Skitch, Jing, Camtasia, Gadwin, Snagit), or write it down in detail.
5. Try turning the computer off and back on.
6. If you are in a program that doesn’t do what you expect, google the name of the program plus a few words related to your problem/goal.
7. Stick with it, don’t give up too soon.
8. Ask a techie friend for help.
9. If you have to call the techie who makes the big bucks, be sure you can tell them exactly what happened and what you did about it.
To prevent problems:
Don’t open attachments in email.
Be careful about downloading freeware.
Save often – don’t just save to desktop, and know where your computer auto-saves documents (use ‘save as’).
Backup your backups frequently.
Know how to ‘undo’ in whatever software you are using.
Use in-software ‘help’ tab or button.
Note: Many of these ideas I learned from Helen Linda’s presentation at the NE Library Conference I just attended.