Quick Tips


Preventative Maintenance

A good way to avoid many common hardware and software problems is to have regular maintenance done. Just like a car, computers need cleaning, servicing and fine tuning to have them run at their optimum. To avoid more expensive repairs later on get your computer serviced regularly. At least every six months.

Backup, Backup, Backup!

Backup your data regularly. If you don t have an external Hard Drive or USB Flash Drive for backing up your data, get one now. Get a simple backup program that automates your backups or do it manually on a regular basis at the end of the working day. Everyday if possible. Attempting to retrieve lost data from a damaged hard drive is more time consuming and expensive than copying data back from your backup drive. Of course getting data from a corrupted or damaged drive is not always possible.
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Avoid getting Viruses and Spyware

One of the most common problems on  PCs today are viruses and spyware. Credit card details and other sensitive information can be stolen from you if you don t take care to avoid the pitfalls of online activities. Here are some tips to avoid these little nasties: The number one cause of viruses is file sharing. Downloading music and other files through Limewire and other peer to peer file sharing programs is a sure way to get a virus. Avoid dodgy websites. Porn, gambling etc.. Simple really. Don’t go to websites that are obviously suspect. AVG Antivirus, a great antivirus/antispyware program has a plugin that will warn of suspect sites in your google search listings. Read all popups carefully. There are many fake antivirus programs out there that don’t do anything but they take your money anyway. Do not open email from people you don’t know. If  it looks suspect or too good to be true then it probably is. Delete it immediately and permanently. Make sure you have an Antivirus program that scans email before it lands in your inbox.
Get a good Antivirus / Antispyware program. I have found the most effective program to be AVG Antivirus. If you have fairly conservative browsing habits and low volume emails coming in and intend it for private use only, get the free version. If you have a business, are online a lot and/or  have heaps of emails coming in get the full AVG Internet Security Suite. (I recommend AVG purely for three reasons. Firstly,  I know from experience that it works. Secondly it doesn’t slow your computer down like some of the better known antivirus programs out there. Thirdly its great value for money. Paid or Free!) Having said all of this, nothing is foolproof. These tips will help you prevent most viruses and spyware from infecting your machine but…..most importantly be vigilant.

Upgrading

Is your machine too slow or not capable of doing the things you want to do? In most cases, for most machines bought in the last few years, an increase in the amount of ram (memory) is the quickest, cheapest way to get better performance from your machine. Another great hardware performance upgrade is to replace your old mechanical Hard Disk Drive (HDD) with a Solid State Drive (SSD) to use as your Operating System drive and keep the old HDD as a data only drive. Cleaning out unwanted software, the Windows registry and stopping some startup programs can also boost performance. Getting a professional to do this is recommended. A new machine with all the latest bells and whistles is great but not always necessary.

Networking

The most important consideration for people networking at home or in business is to “keep it simple”. Avoid using separate routers, switches and modems as a solution. An all-in-one wireless modem / router is the best solution for most people.
Preferably one with reasonable configuration options so you have control over access to your router especially as far as wireless access goes.
Only use wireless networking if you have to. Ethernet cables are more reliable and easier to troubleshoot if you have problems.
If you are using wireless networking, setup security on your router or get someone to set it up for you to prevent unwanted access to your broadband or network