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Static electricity buildup disappears with a touch

The Baltimore Sun

Regarding static electricity and the need to ground yourself (when working on a computer), does this only apply to touching anything inside the computer? Also, is the chassis nothing more than the body of the computer?

- Fernando Commodari

I usually touch the side of the chassis to make sure that I'm getting rid of any static buildup. For folks who want to be really careful, you can buy grounding straps. These things fit around your wrist and a wire attaches the strap to a ground. Static is, of course, much worse in the winter and in extremely dry climates at any time of the year. If the room is carpeted, that's an added static danger.

I had to take my PC in for service. It wouldn't boot. I got a message that "a file in XP was corrupted." The tech said that he'd have to reformat the hard drive and reinstall XP. What caused this, and is there anything I can do in the future to prevent this?

- Coy Bennett, Dallas

There's not just one cause. A hard disk going bad is the leading cause of this problem. Since the tech isn't recommending you replace your disk, he must think it's OK. Viruses, misbehaved programs or a sudden loss of power or a power surge can also corrupt files.

Bill Husted writes for The Atlanta Journal Constitution.

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