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COMPUTER TIPS

  • Virus Protection
    You must have Anti-Virus protection today ! There are too many viruses out there to infect your PC. McAfee, Norton, AVG, and TrendMicro are some of the popular ones to look into. For a free online scan visit www.trendmicro.com
  • Spyware Prevention
    What is Spyware ? Spyware is a new age class of infections, that are borderline viruses. They usually are  "aggressive marketing" tactics, that install or change your computer setup without your permission, or awareness, so they can sneakily force advertising directly to you. However, it usually results in annoying popups, slow computer operation, and intermittent problems, such as shutdowns and lockups. If you are experiencing these symptoms, visit www.spywareinfo.com for more information. A very good program to detect and prevent spyware is from Webroot, called SpySweeper. Visit their website at www.webroot.com for more information.
  • Practice Safe Web Surfing
    Be careful where your surf and what you click on ! Most problems related to surfing can be prevented by taking care not to go to unknown sites, and closing unknown popups. Music downloads, free screensavers, and free programs can harbor infections once they get in your PC. Be very careful not to click on links that want to download something or "test" your computer. If you don't know what it is, stay away from it! Go to sites you trust. If you must venture out into the cold world, make sure you have adequate protection in place. A good antivirus and antispyware scanners are a must, check to see that they are working and up-to-date, set to scan all activity. Firewall and critical Operating system updates should also be installed and active. 
  • Backup your Hard Drive
    One of the most neglected tasks for the computer user is backing up your important files! As hard disk capacities grow to enormous sizes, it is increasingly harder to keep up with backups. However, since hard disks can fail at anytime, you need to make adequate and periodic backups of your files. The best device to do this with is the External USB Hard Drive. This device is relatively inexpensive, and is essentially a portable hard disk. Some units even come with free backup software. Just plug it in and do your backups, then you can easily transport the files to another computer, or take it with you for safe keeping.
  • Clean your Computer
    Computers get dirty over time, and can clog openings which prevents airflow through the case. If the airflow is heavily restricted, internal temperatures can soar inside, and may cause thermal breakdown, which means something fries in the computer. This can be a costly computer repair, so check your computer for buildups of dust and dirt every 6 months. If really clogged, carefully remove the dust with a old brush and vacuum it out. Be very careful not to damage any components. Never wipe the inside with a cloth or drop objects onto the circuits.
  • Shut Down your PC Properly
    Always turn off your computer using the software control in the operating system. Never unplug your computer while running ! This can cause the hard drive to fail or blow the power supply. If the computer is locked up and won't respond to the software shutdown, then wait 5 minutes to ensure no hard disk activity, then press and hold the power button until it turns off. Restart the computer and see if everything is working normally. If problems persist, consult computer assistance.
  • Add Battery Backup Protection
    Gone are the days of just plugging your computer into the wall socket ! You must atleast have a good surge protector, but even better is to have a Uninterruptible Power Supply or UPS to buffer the wall power to your computer. Power failures and brownouts are always a possibility, and your computer can be easily damaged. The addition of a UPS unit can save your computer and your work during short power interruptions. Simply plug in your Computer, Monitor and any other critical computer accessory (such as internet access boxes, routers, and computer switches) to maintain normal operation during power problems. UPS's range in capacity, however a cheap one for $40 is adequate for most home and small office uses. Make sure you do not plug in any device that exceeds it's power rating such as a water cooler, power tool, or even a laser printer. These devices draw too much power for the UPS.
  • Update your Operating System
    Make sure you keep your Operating System updated to protect against known security holes that might invite unwelcome invaders. Microsoft has been very diligent in providing online updates for all their operating systems. Use your "update" feature in either Internet Explorer or your programs menu to check for any necessary Critical updates.
  • Protect your Online Connection
    With everyone getting continuous internet connections, with the lower cost DSL and Cable plans, it is very important to make sure you are protected. The most important type of protection is known as a firewall. Firewalls regulate the incoming and outgoing traffic between your computer and the internet. It helps to prevent intruders from gaining access to your computer, and to prevent infections from communicating to the outside world from your computer. A very popular device, known as a DSL/Cable Router is a great addition to your computer environment. These devices can have two levels of protection to isolate you from the internet world, built-in firewall, and NAT, or Network Address Translation.

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