What You Should Know About Your Computer
It seems to be a universal feeling: when we have a computer or a tablet or laptop, we look for ways to make them run faster and smoother so we can keep using them until they literally bust in our faces. And we do a good job of making them last longer than their projected lifetimes! However, it seems we need a degree in working with software to even try to fix any problems that crop up, so to make things a little easier, there’s some tips and tricks to learn.
Information is made accessible by computers, but what if the computer is the problem in the first place? So, there’s been a few touches into tech care tips for your household before, but now, let’s go a little more in depth into the wily ways of our modern technology. Here’s the things you definitely need to know about your tabletop as a computer user.
Learn What to Keep and What Not
If you have a Windows computer, then you’ll probably be used to the amount of free software the computer comes with when you first startup, or that automatically installs when you first try to use a program. However, a lot of the time you don’t need this stuff, and just because it comes with the computer doesn’t mean it’s important to the functioning.
It’s commonly referred to as ‘crapware’ in the tech community, and it lives up to its name. A lot of developers like to give their apps away for free as they’re not out to make people pay for their apps, as they often don’t have the target audience in order to generate revenue. They take up far too much space, and keep taking it with every new line of code that gets installed if you use a new program. Keep an eye on them and your computer is likely to stay clean and safe for a lot longer.
It’s also just good practice to do regular cleanups of your PC. Try doing a disk cleanup every now and then using your inbuilt system, as this will clear files away that you don’t even realize you had on apps you usually can’t access.
Similarly, you can do this manually! If you don’t need any documents and the like anymore, get rid of them, and be sure to delete all temporary files. These can be found in the temp file of Windows (C:\Windows\Temp), and don’t worry about any errors or alarms that pop up when you do, they don’t actually mean anything!
Have Some Backups!
As soon as you get a computer you should aim to set up a backup for it. You don’t want to lose any files, or to have them go missing when you store them in the cloud, just to remember you hadn’t quite set up the backup yet. It’s a killer, and extremely annoying, and you have no idea what you may never see again when it comes to your files.
It won’t take long, and can be used at your leisure, so if you haven’t set up a backup, let this remind you! A few minutes out of your day to make sure you can find any file when you need it most is incredibly useful and time saving.
Use your system’s own backup creator if you want to use a USB or something that isn’t directly stored in your PC, as it’s simple and often just a quick file transfer. However, these can fail a lot, and even lose our files as every time we plug them back in, there’s a chance something can get wiped upon removal. Try backing up online to access your files from anywhere, even when you’re not at home! You don’t even have to pay for space, which can often add up to costing an arm or a leg, as plenty of free hosting sites exist (just be careful of microtransactions).
Use Shortcuts on Your Keyboard
Shortcuts are such a simple yet effective idea, bless whoever came up with them. If you’re on Windows 10, there’s a lot of shortcuts already installed that you can hit up immediately. Here’s a quick list of the most useful ones:
- Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V – copy selected items, and then paste them elsewhere.
- Alt+F4 – close whatever program you have open at the time
- Windows Key+X – open the start menu with all the admin shortcuts you could ever need
- Windows Key+E – open the File Explorer
- Windows Key+L – lock the computer
As you can see, the Windows key has many uses. You could actually just press it with any number of other keys just to see what it might do for you in your exploration of your new system, or if you’re just getting to grips with an old one.
You can assign hotkeys as well! If you use an application a lot, and there’s no particular assigned key, make your own to bring it up in half the time it usually would appear. Create a shortcut for it if you don’t have one, and then right click on the shortcut and choose ‘properties’. Then, find the shortcut key box, which is at the top, and type in the combo or key you want to use to access it in the future. Windows has so many hidden functions it really needs to advertise!
Know What Malware is Out There
Here comes the big guns: malware, short for malicious ware if you weren’t sure about that. Malware exists in multiple forms. There’s viruses, trojans, hacking attacks, and various other methods. We usually only hear about one or two, and thus we need to know more.
There’s the very common adware, which targets us with popups when we visit websites, and they’re often packaged in with versions of software that can be downloaded for free. And thus, they’re easy to get downloaded into your system. Adware often comes hand in hand with spyware, which is a lot more dangerous. We won’t know it’s happening, but it’s made to act in the background and steal our personal information. The same goes for ransomware, in which our computers are held hostage by malware until we either pay up or do something else they want.
We need to keep an eye out for content that doesn’t seem legit, which is easily done. You need to make sure you’re not clicking on any links that you don’t know, and thoroughly vet anything you want to download to your system. Similarly, invest in some software that’ll keep these intrusions at bay for you. They come in month or yearly packages, and can sometimes be a bit pricey, but that’s worth it. However, we don’t have to fork out for antivirus software, and plenty of free versions exist. Just make sure they’re reputable, or come recommended, and monitor your PC.
Just remember that if your computer does get bogged down with a virus that crashes your system, be sure to take it to a computer repair shop. You probably won’t want to fix the problem yourself due to the amount of jeopardy involved, and the professionals are there to help.
Navigate the Internet Safely
It’s a bit of a symbiotic relationship between internet users and the hackers that can plague us. The internet is what brings a lot of crashing, freezing, and a whole world of viruses to our doorstep. Without it however, we’d be nowhere. To make sure we stay safe online, first of all, makes sure that the browser you’re using is completely up to date. This way you won’t automatically opt out of any notifications about shady websites or sketchy downloads.
So, use your common sense. Everyone has safety instincts, and thus we should always pay attention to them when it comes to using the internet. This comes in the form of misspellings in the titles or web addresses, as that’s just poor web development and may indicate that a site has been cloned, or just a fake site in the first place.
Even when you’re hovering over a link, there’ll be a text box that appears in the bottom left hand corner of your screen. This will show you the true destination of a link, so make sure you pay attention to it when it appears. You’ll need to check whether the link is actually what you would expect the site to take you to, and not elsewhere!
Using a computer properly can take a lot of time to learn to do, but everyone is on their way to it. It’s all part of coding yourself into the modern day of technology, and will help you get to grips with future expectations. It can also help you handle any new updates that come out, and makes sure the inbuilt anti frustration features are fully realized by you. We all hate it when a computer doesn’t do what we tell it to, so learn how to speak to it!