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Protect Your Computer

Friday, December 15th, 2006 by | Filed Under: Security Help
 
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Protect Your Computer

Have you noticed anything weird going on with your computer lately? Maybe it’s been running rather slowly or you’ve been receiving several error messages. Various other things could be happening too, but if either of those two things have been going on, it sounds like your computer is not up to par. When those sort of errors occur, it means that your computer is not running efficiently and it basically just means that it’s time to do some cleaning up!

I know we here at WorldStart have preached and preached about keeping your computer clean and safe, but I figured today would be the perfect day to remind you all about that. (You know, just in case you forgot!) A new year is almost among us and if you haven’t been properly taking care of your computer all year long, it’s time to start. You might as well make it one of your New Year’s resolutions!

Okay, okay, I’ll stop. You can do what you want, but just in case you do decide to listen to me, below are six common practices that you should do with your computer on a regular basis. There are obviously other things you can do too, but these are the most needed. They will help your computer to run at its best (for example, much faster) and error free. Let’s go!

1.) Make sure you have the most up to date operating system that you can. No, I’m not telling you that if you have Windows 2000 to go upgrade to XP. I mean to make sure you have the latest security patches updated on the operating system that you do have. It’s very easy to check on this. Just go to Start, All Programs and choose the Windows Update option. This will take you to a Microsoft Web page where you can run a test on your computer to ensure that you have the most recent updates. This is very important to do to keep your computer as safe and protected as possible.

2.) This next one is meant to help keep the contents within your operating system safe. I know you’ve heard this before, but be sure to have an updated antivirus software program on your computer. This is extremely important to protect your system against any threats that may come along (including viruses, worms and Trojans). You also need to run updates on this regularly. Depending on the software you use, download the updates even on a daily basis if need be. Do whatever you need to do to keep your system secure.

3.) The third most important thing is to know what actually is running on your computer. If you have knowledge of everything that’s there, you will be able to identify potential risks much easier. If you need to, bring up the Task Manager on your computer right now. (To open it, just press Ctrl + Alt + Del on your keyboard). Once there, look through the list of programs that are running. If you know you don’t need some of them, stop them. Most of those programs will be there from the time you boot up your system, so if you need to stop some of them, go to Start, Run and type in “msconfig.” From there, click on the Startup tab and uncheck any processes that you don’t think you need running. For some more help with this, read here.

4.) The next thing is to have a firewall on your computer. (Yes, I know you’ve heard this one before too, but it’s so important, I just have to mention it again). A lot of the antivirus programs come with built in firewalls. You can also get firewall software and install it on your computer yourself, but in case you don’t have one, you can always use the Windows firewall instead (and for free!) To get that, go to Start, Control Panel and click on the Security icon. From there, click on the Windows Firewall link to get it all set up and going. It will keep you safer, I promise!

5.) It’s also important to clean up your toolbar. If you have some programs in your toolbar that you don’t usually use, remove them. They don’t need to be sitting there taking up space. Getting rid of a few of these will help your computer to run faster.

6.) Here’s the last one! This is the one that includes several other things, but I’m just going to group them all into number six. You need to do complete maintenance procedures on your computer at least once a month, if not more often. These include such things as a defrag, disk cleanups and clearing out your Internet history files. Read here for just about everything you should do on a regular basis.

There you go! Hopefully this was a good reminder for all of you on what you can do to keep your computer as safe as possible. When you really think about it, you’re helping yourself out right along with your computer. You’ll both be happier in the end. Trust me on this one!

~ Erin

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