Geeks advice for a new computer: part 4

April 27, 2006 at 9:25 pm (Links)

How to keep your machine running well. If you think of your computer like your kitchen, it will help a little. In your kitchen, there are lots of fun things to do, and all sorts of cool gadgets and toys. BUT, as in your kitchen, there are less than fun things that MUST be done to keep it sanitary and easy to use. Things that should be done daily, like washing dirty dishes. Things that should be done weekly, like scrubbing the floor; things that should be done monthly, like cleaning behind the refrigerator; and things that should be done immediately when a symptom appears, like fixing the garbage disposal or cleaning up spills. There are also rules that need to be followed, like don't carry the rat-dog around while you are cooking (don't ask, sore subject), wash your hands before handling food, and "if it's too hot to touch, it's too hot to taste". Following those rules in your kitchen will keep you healthy. Following a similar set of rules on your computer will keep your computer happy.

Immediate Tasks:

If you notice a significant difference in the speed that your computer is operating, reboot & run your antivirus and spyware scans (make sure the signatures are current)

Any kind of hardware error message should be treated as a potential infection FIRST, and then diagnose the hardware (or call your support geek for help)

Windows GPF, BSOD, (or whatever the nom-du-semaine for windows faults is) can usually be corrected by rebooting. If they happened when you were using a specific function of an application, it's a good idea to reboot, and try the same function again. If the error continues to occur, stop doing it – and report it if you like.

Weekly Tasks:

Run a full virus scan, and full spyware scan. Also, check for windows updates if you don't have that automatically configured.

Monthly Tasks:

Back-up any important data that would cause you to cry like a little girl if it got lost. Manually create a system restore point. Run a full defragment on your hard drive(s).

Perpetual rules to follow:

If a browser window pops up and says that your pc may be infected, close the window, don't click yes or no.

Don't click on links in email messages or download attachments unless you KNOW who sent it, why they sent it, and what it is.

The Nigerian prince trying to get money out of his country is a scam. Bait them at your own risk.

Don't install apps that you don't know what they do – and read the license agreement for warning signs. Anything that says it will "display relevant informational advertising that you may be interested in" should throw up a red flag. If you think an app may be OK, search for the name of the app and the word 'spyware' in your favorite search engine. Keeping nasties off your machine is always easier than removing them once they are there.

And speaking of nasties- Many sites catering to peoples base nature also spread viruses, spyware, and popups. This includes warez sites as well as others.

Be careful out there



  1. Mark said,

    Good advice to follow. I really ought to back stuff up more… or at least once. As far as System Restore goes, I’ve found that turning it off saves a lot of disk space. At least a gig’s worth, maybe more. For newer computers it may as well stay on, but for older comps I just turn it off.

    Nice emphasis on user responsibility, too. For all the good tools out there, it all boils down to whoever’s at the keyboard.

  2. capitalggeek said,

    The amount of space that system restore uses is configurable. I have mine set to about 650Mb – a small price for the functionality. It can be set higher or lower as a percentage of total disk space. Obviously there are some configurations where you would not want system restore at all.
    I don’t usually use system restore on machines that are used for games and internet only, as they are usually due for a ‘nuke-n-pave’ by the time that a restore point is needed.
    You really can’t make things idiot proof, as there are so many ingenious idiots. Truly irresponsible people should probably stick to the old MAC os – It’s hard to destroy the machine, but equally hard to make it do much of anything useful.

  3. Tanya said,

    Hey! I like rat-dog….and think he should be carried around all the time whilst cooking! lolol

    Thanks for the reminder of stuff that I should be doing weekly, monthly, and well, you know! ~~grin~~

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