MAKE FREQUENT BACKUPS!
you have important documents, pictures, financial records,
or information stored on your computer, you need to make
frequent backups. Computers, especially the hard drives
that store the information, have a finite life. If you wait
long enough, someday your information won't be there. Also,
there are tens of thousands of computer viruses out there.
Many of these can damage, alter, or destroy your data. For
some people, the information on their computers is even
more valuable than the computer itself. Setting up a backup
system is not difficult, and can be very easy to implement.
Backups can be made to a floppy, CD-R, Zip Disk, or even
another hard drive.
Use Antivirus software.
the threat of Computer viruses is sometimes overstated,
having, and using an Antivirus tool is very important. A
virus can come from a floppy disk, CD-ROM, a program downloaded
from the Internet, or even an infected e-mail message. A
good Antivirus program will find, and often remove most
viruses. It is also important that you update the virus
database frequently. The way Antivirus programs work is
that they contain a database of known viruses, and look
for these. However, new viruses are coming out every day,
and an out of date database won't detect these new viruses.
if you have Antivirus software, it is VERY IMPORTANT that
you make sure the virus definitions are up to date. Many
people hit with viruses had Antivirus software, and assumed
this protected them. An Antivirus program can only find
a virus it knows about. The 'Virus Definitions' is the database
of viruses your Antivirus program knows about. The older
this database, the less valuable it is. Many Antivirus companies
sell updates to these databases. If your computer came preconfigured
with Antivirus software, and you've never looked at it,
chances are very good you have little or no protection from
Use Anti-Spyware Software.
people think that Antivirus software will protect them from
all the harmful things from the Internet. Unfortunately,
Spyware is considered a different category from viruses.
What is Spyware? Spyware is a general term for software
that is installed on your computer, either without your
permission, by tricking you to install it, bundled with
another program you install, or often without your permission,
by merely going to the wrong website. Spyware does all kinds
of bad things, from tracking where you go on the Internet,
to forcing advertisements to be displayed on your computer,
often even if you're not on the Internet! Usually, Spyware
is very poorly written, and can make your computer crash
constantly, make it run very slow, or prevent you from getting
on the Internet. Fortunately, Spyware can usually be completely
removed with a good Anti-Spyware program. We recommend Ad
Aware and Spybot. Both are available for free, and can be
downloaded from our Downloads page.
Do you have a Cable Modem or DSL? You need a firewall!
most people have some risk the moment they are connected
to the Internet, those with high speed connections are particularly
at risk. Hackers can break into your computer and steal
information, leave viruses, and even delete your entire
hard drive. They can also do these things to someone else,
using your computer as a gateway. This could make it look
like it was you that damaged somebody else's computer.
Don't ignore problems.
you have any weird problems, or strange error messages?
Does your computer start making strange noises? If you suddenly
get an error message repeatedly, or if your computer keeps
getting more and more strange problems, this could be a
symptom! While these symptoms can have many causes, these
problems often get worse over time. It is almost always
better to fix these problems sooner rather than later.
Use a Surge Protector.
people already understand the importance of having a surge
protector, and thankfully most people already have one.
However, most of these surge protectors protect ONLY the
Computer. The modem, connected directly to the phone lines,
also needs a surge protector. If, after a lightning storm,
you suddenly get a 'No Dial Tone' message while trying to
connect to the Internet, odds are good you'll need a new
modem. A good phone line surge suppressor will help protect
your modem. Also, if you own your cable modem, you'll want
a surge suppressor for your Cable TV line as well.
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