Keeping a diary of your computer can be a valuable asset if something goes wrong. Imagine for a moment consequences if your hard drive failed or worse, someone stole your computer. And whilst having a reliable and recent backup is an essential step on your way to recovery, having a diary is a major advantage.
If you use a computer for your business then like me your computer has probably become a tool that you rely on. I am in internet business and frankly without my computer I am out of business. Picture consequences to your business and your livelihood if suddenly you arrived home to find place on your desk where your computer was a blank space.
Thieves love computers. They are reasonably portable, and readily salable. If owner stores all their CDs in an attractive rack close by, that's easy to carry away too, and all better price.
So why would you keep a diary, what is a diary, what does it contain?
Why keep a diary?
Let's assume worse case; you're computer is stolen. Replacing it is reasonably simple; a visit to local PC shop and in all likelihood a far better (and cheaper) machine than you had before. But now you have new computer home, how are you going to set it up so that you can have all of things you had before? Your email messages for example, that proposal you were writing for Monday's deadline, and that E-Book that you're halfway through and will make a fortune in six months time.
You'll have probably had a dozen or more projects in progress (can you remember what they all were?). What about your web site and software you use to make changes to it? And there may be accounting records for debtors, inventory and purchases.
Most backups don't include software. Backups are almost invariably copies of data files. My message is that as well as restoring all of your data, you also need to restore your 'software environment'. Without this you can't work with your data.
So purpose of a diary is to keep a track of what your software and hardware environment is made up of.
What is a diary and what does it contain?
I have a simple notebook in which I enter changes that are made to physical computer (it's hardware) and but especially changes or additions to software. There is a single page for each component (software and hardware of machine).
For example if you needed to install a new software program then you would create a new page heading and make a diary entry of purchase. This would include name of software product, version, and where it was sourced, date and payment method. Some software has a serial number so this should also be recorded. And if you register software also keep a note of date and method of registration.
The source of software might have been purchase of a CD from a shop in which case recovery is a simple matter (assuming you've kept CD somewhere safe). But if you download software, or CD was stolen with your computer, then getting another copy and reinstalling can be difficult and frustrating.