This week’s tech tip is a simple PDF checklist we’ve been using at Creativetechs for several years now. The next time you have someone work on your computer, print out this checklist and keep it handy. Before you let your tech leave, go through this with them to make sure everything important is still working properly.

Mac OS X Post Tune-Up Checklist (PDF)

We developed this checklist years ago to help ourselves avoid missing important details while working on our clients computers. Based on the positive feedback from last month’s Mac Maintenance Checklist, we’ve decided that the last week of each month we’ll feature a form, checklist, or other tool that designers can use to get the most out of their existing computer tech support.

Before the Work.

Before you let a tech sit down to do major work on your computer, we strongly recommend discussing two important questions. This applies whether you use an outside vendor or an in-house IT department.

#1: Has this computer been backed up?

#2: What is going to be different when they are done?

These two questions effectively boil down to understanding why the work is needed, and keeping you safe if anything unexpected happens. If the answers to either question concern you, this may not be the right time to do major work on your computer.

After the Work.

The rest of this form is a quick checklist of things you should check before you let your tech leave. We suggest you perform these checks yourself. The tests here should only a take a couple minutes to run through and can save hours of lost time later.

Test your Email. Before you let your tech leave your desk, make sure that your email is working. Can you still send and receive email? Is your address book still there? Do you still have access to all your old and filed mail?

Test your Network. Make sure your computer can still access the web. For in-house designers, make sure you can still get through the corporate firewall. Test sites that require secure downloads such as online stock photo agencies. Also log onto the important server volumes you need to access while doing your job.

Test your Fonts. This is very important for designers. Since this checklist is an internal Creativetechs tool, there are a couple items that may be unique to the way we set up a designer workstation. But whomever you have work on your computer, make sure to open several current projects and confirm that all your needed fonts are working properly before you let them leave.

Test your Ability to Work. This is somewhat of a catchall category. Run through the types of tasks you’ll be using your computer for over the next couple days. For example, make sure you can print from your major applications. Techs are notorious for missing drivers for scanners, PDAs, or other peripherals, so test all those odd devices connected to your computer.

Confirm your BACKUP! This checklist started with a question about backup, and that’s how we’ll end it. Always make sure your backup system is still working properly after any major work. It is easy to miss, and terribly important to catch.

Tip: If you don’t have a good backup system in place, get one!

That’s it. Hope this helps.

Note: While we received a lot of positive email about the Mac Maintenance Checklist, not many people linked to it. Anyone want to rectify that by Digging it for us?