I believe that if the worst happens with your computer you should have an organized plan to get you up and running as quick as possible.
The worst to me is a full reinstall of the operating system , applications and documents.
First , can you find your operating system disk , if you received one with your computer , if not many computers have a "F Key " trigger at start up to reinstall the operating system and bring the computer back to the point when you bought it.
You should keep your operating disk and your application discs ( office etc ) all together with any relevant instruction manuals.
Make sure you also have the installation keys for all your applications.
So here is the order in which you should perform your recovery.
- Install your operating system
- Connect to the internet , make sure you have your user name and password for your router and or internet connection
- Log onto ONLY Windows Update if you have a Windows machine
- Perform all updates , and reboot and check until there are no more to install.
- Then install your antivirus solution and update that until it is stable.
- Install your applications and check again for updates after installing
When you have no more updates and everything is installed you have the foundation for a stable computer system.
Here is where you could as a great backup solution is to take an image of the hard drive.
An image will allow you then to restore your computer to this exact state in the future if things went wrong again.
A good free program for this is DriveImage XML which will enable you to take a " snapshot " of your drive.
Read the instructions and make sure you can do an image restore and that you are comfortable doing it.
Once your system is restored then restore the backup of your documents.
Remember that organization and a plan will help you take some of the pain out of the process.