Computer Do’s and Don’ts
- Do Use an Antivirus. McAfee and Norton are most common and user friendly. Don’t let your subscription expire – Renew Each Year! Microsoft offers a free Antivurs called Security Essentials. Be sure to set a weekly scheduled scan and let it run when scheduled. Never install programs on a computer without installing an Antivirus first.
- Don’t Download Programs from the Internet. Purchase the CD (or keep an external copy of the download). If something happens to your hard drive- you’ll have the CD needed to restore the program. Beware of music (mp3) players, instant messengers, screen-savers and games. For instance, many free music programs will install a virus when you install the program, or when you download the music. They can cause your computer to lock up or completely shut down. Downloaded programs that instruct you to turn off your Antivirus before installing – are probably not a good idea. Follow the directions to turn off your antivirus ONLY on a purchased product, when you truly cannot install the program when the antivirus is running. (Try turning off the firewall for 15 minutes, instead of completely turning off your antivirus.)
- Don’t purchase from a website that doesn’t start out with https: - the “s” following the http in the URL address stands for “secure”.
- Do have a technician cleanup and backup your computer at least twice a year. A computer used for business – should be maintained at least quarterly, if not monthly. A home computer should be cleaned at least every 6 months, and backed up monthly. Your tech can install a program that backs up your data, using DVD’s, thumb drives or an external drive. Keep the backup in a fire proof safe or offsite.
- Do keep your old computer, and use it for downloads or surfing. Be sure to backup this computer as well. And set Restore Points prior to downloading or opening something fishy. Make sure this computer is protected with a current Antivirus as well as Spyware programs. If you receive an email that you are unsure of, you can always open it on this computer. If and when this computer dies or refuses to restart, no tears are shed.
- Do lockdown your wireless router. Leaving your wireless router with the default settings may make it easier to access the internet, but it also makes it easy for anyone within several hundred feet of your house gain access to your internet connection and your data.
- Do have a Battery Backup Unit. Battery backups, can keep your computer running for 10-20 minutes, depending upon the size (350W, 500W, etc). If the power does go out for an extended period of time, save all your data, and shut down the computer then turn off the battery unit. This will save on the life of the battery (and gives you ample time to save your data). If you have frequent power outages, you should replace the unit every 1-2 years. Most units have a built in “battery low” LCD light. If that light illuminates, replace the battery, or the entire unit. Only plug your computer and monitor into the actual battery sockets. Printers, calculators, desk lamps, etc. should be plugged into the surge protector side of the unit.
- Don’t leave your computer on overnight. Leaving your computer on for an extended period of time can shorten the life of your computer. Leaving your computer on also gives hackers plenty of time to figure out a way to attack your computer (if you don’t have it locked down properly). If you are in an office environment, other employees could “accidentally” download programs, or visit harmful websites, after you’ve left the office. Leave it running only if you have a designated computer for nightly backups, or if you have your Antivirus set to run on a certain night of the week.
- If you own a Laptop, buy a Fan! A laptop fan/stand can extend the life of your investment.