Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Computer Tips 101

I'm good with PC computers, but I don't know very much about a MAC. I haven't worked on a MAC since I was in High School - which was a very long time ago! Sorry MAC users! But from what I hear, your computers run pretty smooth without too much fuss! Lucky!!

Everything I know is self-taught and mostly trial and error, so I'm not like a computer major or anything. But I do alright. I know a few tricks and tips and for years, I've cleaned up my family and friend's computers.

There are a few pretty basic things you should know about your PC to keep it healthy that I'd like to share with you:

You don't need an anti-virus.

You do need a firewall.

You should "clean-up" your computer at least once a month - preferably once a week.

Everything you need to do this you can get FREE.

So stop buying all that crap software Best Buy and other stores has sold or tries to sell you. It's loaded with spyware and that is a prime reason your computer has slowed down to a crawl!

Your computer is like your car - it needs maintenance. Your car needs gas to go; your computer needs to be cleaned to run smoothly. It's not hard - I promise! In fact, nowadays programs have become so advanced all you need to do is sit back and click "ok"! Alright, I might be exaggerating a bit but it's really very easy to upkeep your PC.

Okay, the following programs are the ones I use - and they are completely free and more importantly, they work!

Firewall: Agnitum Outpost Firewall
Computer Cleaners: CCleaner (Crap Cleaner) and Spybot: Search and Destroy (you never can have too many good ones)
Anti-Spyware: SuperAntiSpyware Free Edition or Spyware Doctor (you really only need one)
Browser: Firefox

After removing all the so-called "helpful" junk Best Buy sold you, install these programs and follow the on-screen instructions to use them. If you have any problems, each program has it's own helpful FAQs and guides. Using these programs will go a long way to help keep your computer running smoothly and will stop it from becoming bogged down.

Make sure to either manually check for updates or give the programs permission to preform the check. Always try to keep your security software as up-to-date as possible!

Don't install any toolbars! Ever!! Even if they don't have spyware, they will slow your computer down! Resist the temptation!

As for the browser, I prefer Firefox over Internet Explorer. It's faster and more secure. I've got to admit that IE has gotten better over the years, as a matter of fact it's copied a lot of Firefox's customizable features, but FF is still my personal choice. I would recommend you take Firefox out for a test drive and see how you like it!

You're probably wondering why you don't need an anti-virus. Well I've learned that even the lightest, smallest program out there will cut your computer's speed down by 25% to 50%. Look, if you're not downloading "questionable material" or going to, uh "mature or the like sites", then you don't need an anti-virus. It's just baggage. If you decide to rid yourself of your clunky anti-virus, then make sure to tell your household - just to be sure they know that you'll know if they disobey your strict instructions to stay away from all those aforementioned sites! I haven't had an anti-virus for almost a year and nothing has happened to my computer. In fact, it's very fast! It was pretty fast before I decided to get rid of my anti-virus, but I was looking for ways to make it faster - without adding additional hardware. For me, trashing the anti-virus was the answer!

BTW: I don't have to tell you NOT to open email you don't know who it's from, right? Everyone knows that, right? Okay - just making sure!

Next, make sure - sure - sure to clean your computer at least once a month!!! It's very important! I would actually recommend once a week, but once a month is better than not at all. If you allow your computer to become sluggish and slow, and do nothing about it, eventually it'll crash - then you'll spend a small fortune getting it fixed or get it in your head you need to go out a buy a new one. Avoid doing that prematurely!

I have a theory that there's a "big conspiracy" between computer companies and software companies. Computers come pre-loaded with tons of software that's chock-full of nothing but pure spyware. Most of the software isn't even the full version anymore - so after a while you can't use them. But get this, unless you've uninstalled them - they are still on your computer running in the background and slowing it down! So what happenes? You break down and end up buying the software thinking it'll speed up your computer. But buying the software doesn't help - in fact it slows your computer down even more! That continues until you get fed up and bring it in to an over-priced Best Buy computer tech, or your computer crashes, and 2 years later you're in the store buying a new computer again.

It's a vicious cycle! {sigh}

What I'm telling you how to do would normally cost you around 300 bucks (or more) - 'cause that's what you'd pay a computer tech to do the exact same thing - once it's gotten past the point you can't do anything about it! In fact, they'll probably use some of the same programs! Once they've fixed the crash problem, they will run security/maintenance/anti-spyware programs to clean up your computer - guess how long that will take them? Minutes. And you'll pay dearly for each one.

I can't fix a computer once it's crashed. If the dreaded "blue screen of death" comes up - I'm stumped. I don't know how to correct that problem. So I've learned to avoid the "blue screen of death" - at all costs!

To avoid that scenario, run the programs I've listed. Simple, huh?

POST-IT-NOTE: Clean up all your shortcuts!! Do you really need 50 icons on your desktop? How many of those programs in your "Start" menu do you actually use? Get rid of ALL the icons on your desktop except your "trash can". Remove ALL the programs in your "Start" menu that you don't use everyday! You haven't deleted them off your computer - they are still there - you're just removing the "shortcut" to that program! If you've uninstalled a program (and I recommend uninstalling a program if you don't use it!), always make sure you've deleted all the shortcuts for that program off your computer! Too many shortcuts slows your computer down too and removing them is a quick and easy way to boost your computer's speed.

Think about it this way, say you pick up something in your closet and on the door of your closet you leave yourself a note reminding you exactly where the item is in your closet. Then you leave another note on your bedroom door, and another note on your ice box, another one in your purse, one on your front door, one in your car - and so on. Well if you followed all those notes back to the item in your closet, it'll eat up all kinds of time before you actually find it. In the end, all you really needed was one note - or none at all. That's kind of what your computer is doing. It's leaving "notes" all over the place to find one item. Multiply that by how many programs you have installed (don't forget Windows - that's one big program with tons of shortcuts), and all the websites you've visited - then the clutter on your computer becomes massive. It will continue to build, slow your computer down, and finally crash it if you don't run a quick maintenance cleanup at least once a month!

You know, after pondering the situation a bit, my PC gives me very few problems. It pretty much does what I ask it to without any fuss - so I guess you could say it's a MAC in spirit!

If y'all liked this post, let me know and I'll make it a regular (maybe monthly) post.

Have fun!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

YES!! For us computer illiterates..I constantly complain about my computer because it is SOOO slow and it locks up all the time. Downloaded the CCleaner and it is so much better!

Thank you:)

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