Friday, July 09, 2010

What Do You Know About Computers?

Seven Things Every Computer User Should Know. Let's see how I do...

1) Keep all your data backed up.
I'm good at this. I have an online backup of my most important files, a back-up drive, and I regularly use a third online backup for vital stuff. Anything I can easily download again isn't backed up, and that means I don't actually need much room on my backup drive and online backup. All very good.

2) Have recovery discs for each computer you have.
Um. Well. I used to have recovery discs. I don't think I have one for my current computer. Hrm. Maybe I need to make one.

3) One antivirus at a time, please.
Yup. Only one installed on my machine. And when I decide to try a different one, I always completely remove the previous one. Having two anti-virus programs on your computer is worse than having none.

4) Don't install tool bars, they're bloatware that will slow down your internet speeds.
Not just bloatware. A lot of spyware hides in toolbars, and some innocent sounding toolbars are just ways to infect your system. Never install a toolbar unless you are required to do so for your job, and even then ask about it first. I did a lot of research into toolbars for a writing job once, and the long and short is that toolbars are useless. They eat up your memory and computer speed at best, and damage your system at worst. I never put any toolbars in my browsers. They aren't worth the risk.

5) "Free" stuff can be expensive.
Always read the label folks. Make sure that free music you are downloading isn't actually a virus delivery package. A lot of pirated material includes viruses or spyware. Run a check on anything you download that should have cost you money. This doesn't apply to open source software *IF* you get that open source software from the source and the source is trustworthy... so, yeah, it applies to open source, too. I'm careful with my downloading, but even a careful person can get hit with a virus. Don't download pirated stuff unless you are willing to risk your computer (and a visit from law enforcement). I do a lot with Open Source software, but I always check all my downloads. It's the one you don't check that gets you.

6) Computers don't like liquids.
This is pretty much a no brainer. Don't physically damage your system. I'm careful with my computer whenever I can be, but it still takes some abuse.

7) No computer is immortal.
Ah, don't we wish! I need a new computer, as does hubby-Eric. But the money situation doesn't allow for it, so we wait and hope that our old machines will last another year.

Overall I think I get a B or B+. I'm not a moronic computer user, but I'm definitely not a power user. I can fix most minor problems, but major stuff frustrates me immensely. It has to be pretty bad before I'll take my machine to a shop or call in the Geek Squad.