The vast majority of us spend a large part of our time on a computer. Whether it’s at work, home or anywhere else. The truth is that computers have become a very important part of our lives. They make our lives and jobs easier to manage and enjoy. However, in many cases, a lot of us end up doing things that can end up damaging our computers. But just what are those things.? Also, how can you make sure you don’t do let it happen to you.? Here are 12 things to to do to avoid messing up your computer.
- Not Using An Antivirus
The worst mistake anyone with a computer or laptop can make, is using them without any antivirus or anti-spyware program. In fact, you can say the same about those that use a tablet or even their smartphones. The truth is that these days, hackers are growing smarter and more mischievous each day. Using a computer without an antivirus program leaves you, your computer and your personal information vulnerable. You can equate using a PC or computer without an antivirus as someone using a house without a front door or a lock on it. Antivirus programs can easily detect harmful websites and other files. If you cannot afford one, you can get one such as Avast or ZoneAlarm, for free.
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- Surfing The Net Without A Firewall
In the same manner that using your computer without an antivirus is not recommended, so is not having a firewall. A firewall goes a step beyond an antivirus. Its main purpose is keeping hackers out or blocking unauthorized access to your computer. Many harmful websites out there will send pings to your PC the minute you visit them. The same goes for phishing or harmful emails. Once they see that you do not have a firewall, their next step is to move in and steal your personal information. In some cases, they may even highjack your device. You can get a free version of a firewall, just in case.
- No Surge Protection
Nothing can physically destroy your computer faster than not using a surge protector. It will also end up destroying your data as well. Surge protectors are not just useful during electrical storms. They can actually help with issues that interrupt the electrical circuits. Using another appliance on the same circuit may cause a surge. There are several other things that can do it as well. You probably spent a great deal of money on purchasing your device. In addition, your work and files are priceless. Isn’t it worth it to spend a few extra bucks to safeguard them with a surge protector?
- Not Backing Up Your Data
When it came to backing up their data, people had countless of excuses as to why they were not doing them. However, in the days of so many cloud services, massive external hard drives available and other options, there are no excuses. You should be backing up your data all the time. You should be doing it continuously. The truth is that the most important thing on your device is your data! Many people wait until their computer breaks down to regret not doing so. Do not wait until it is too late and backup your data now.
- Not Updating Your Protection Programs
So you are very smart and have an anti-spyware or antivirus program on your PC. Perhaps you have both. You may even have the triple crown and also have a firewall. What you don’t have though, is the latest updates on all of them. Some people don’t bother to update any of their protection programs on their device. But that is a colossal mistake. New virus and threats are created every single day. Although you have a good anti-virus program running, it means nothing without an update. If a new virus is not known to your software program, how can it know to block it? Make sure you update your programs continuously and frequently.
- Installing Programs
We all like to try out the latest new programs out there. Some people even go a step further and download programs on beta phases. However, not all free programs are helpful or good for your computer. That is why they are free! In many instances, a lot of programs you find free on the internet actually can end up costing you. Some contain malicious codes. Others are so poorly created or written that can end up crashing your system. Be sure that any program you install is fully licensed and in final release phases. Remember, some programs will not be completely removed even after you delete them.
- Run System Tools
The same way your vehicle needs regular check-ups and tuneups, so does your computer. It is very important to take advantage of using the system tools found on your PC. These include ‘Disk Clean-up’ and Disk Defragmentation.’ These programs help to clean up cookies and temp files left behind. Also, defragmentation helps to free up space and speeds up your computer.
- Use Utility Tools
If you surf are constantly surfing the internet (like most of us) then you need to use utility tools. Each page you visit, every file you download, leaves behind a trace. These temp files can add up and slow your computer down dramatically. They can also take up a lot of space. Just like Disk Clean-up and Defragmentation, they are very useful. In addition to helping you remove temp files, they will also clean unwanted files. The place where many malicious programs and code tend to reside is in temporary files. A great tool to use is CCleaner. In addition to cleaning temporary files, it also removes invalid Windows Registry entries.
- Update Programs And OS
Not keeping your operating system or programs up to date can cost you. For one, it can leave your device vulnerable to virus and other hacks. Secondly, it can cause instability and system crashes. They call these updates ‘patches’ for a reason. That’s because they often patch something that was wrong in the original or old version. Make sure you have the latest update on all your programs (especially browsers) and OS.
- Using Easy Passwords
Although a lot of us love to use easy to remember passwords such as our names, they can spell trouble. Hackers love people who make the mistake of using names, dates and words that are easy to decipher. Having a strong password can make it harder for them to hack your system and personal info. There are many programs out there specifically meant to crack passwords. If yours is an easy one, then chances are it will be cracked and hacked easier than a strong one.
- Opening Emails And Attachments
Most of us receive thousands of emails every month. The vast majority of them are spam or unwanted. However, spammers are getting smarter and craftier each day. Many emails are now sent in forms of legitimate and official looking emails. They can appear to be from a bank or credit card company. A lot of them will also look as if they come from someone you know as well. Those emails often contain attachments or links. These will send you to a place which can steal your info or give you a malicious code. Also, attachments can end up being a Trojan or virus. If you don’t know who the email is from, and it contains an attachment, do not open it.
You may also want to check out11 Tips On Identifying Spam, Spoofing And Phishing Emails
- Downloading Files
Everyone loves freebies. The Internet is full of free programs, software and files. Some people looking to save money, will use P2P or Torrent sites to search for freebies. Whether it comes via a song or video, there are many out there. However, there are many things you need to be weary of when downloading these free files. Hackers are known to insert Trojans and malicious codes into them. Once you install them into your system, your computer may never recover. Be sure to run all files, programs or software by your antivirus program first. Only download and open files from trusted sources. Lastly, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.