Owning a computer isn’t the hassle free experience some novice users expect it to be, and in some cases, you actually have to work hard to keep things in check, especially if you do more complex things on your system or if you store valuable information on it. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the various common security problems that people have to deal with today, as well as the remedies to some performance issues that you might come across, as you’ll likely have to spend at least some portion of your time battling problems to ensure that things keep running smoothly.
Clean Up Your Hard Drive
A cluttered hard drive can cause various problems for your daily use of the computer, more than simply preventing you from storing important data. For example, your operating system may not be able to optimize its operation correctly (because it has insufficient space for “swapping” files, an important procedure). Or, your hard drive may become fragmented, leading to long loading times when you need to access any files stored on it. The point is, the more you leave your hard drive unattended, the more problematic this is going to be for you in the long run, and in some cases you may not even have an easy solution if the problems have stacked up too heavily at some point.
Keep Your Software Up to Date
A common mistake that even some more experienced users make is to ignore the constant prompts they get for software updates, leading to a state where their system is full of potentially compromising programs in all places. It can be difficult to even know where to begin when you need to recover a computer from this state, and exploits in outdated software are one of the most commonly used attack channels by malicious operators. Make sure that you don’t give them this opportunity by keeping everything in check on a regular basis. Most modern programs make this very easy for you too, by constantly reminding you that they’re in need of an update, so all you have to do is follow up on those prompts and don’t ignore them.
Clean Your Registry
If you keep installing new applications all the time and don’t bother cleaning up your registry, this can eventually develop into quite the problem. Windows relies on a properly structured system registry in order to function correctly, and while the system may do a few things itself to keep things in line, that’s often hardly enough when you consider the big picture. Especially in cases where you keep installing and uninstalling new applications all the time, something which can degrade the performance of the system as a whole in the long run quite noticeably. In some cases, you may not even have any option but to completely reinstall everything, and when you rely on a large number of custom applications with special settings, this can be a huge pain that takes a very long time.
Check for Viruses
This may sound straightforward and obvious, but the truth is that many people pay too little attention to this aspect of their systems’ security until it’s too late. Viruses don’t have to be obvious or invasive in order to be dangerous. It’s rarely like in the movies where you get a large blinking “YOU’VE BEEN HACKED” popup on your screen. Rather, the effects are often subtle, designed in a way to arouse the least possible amount of suspicion in the user until the virus has accomplished its goal. And that goal may often be to steal your bank account details, personal information, communication history, and more. A modern virus can actually be quite devastating to the typical computer, especially for people who store a lot of valuable information on their systems. Make sure that this doesn’t happen to you, and be attentive at all times. A little vigilance can go a long way, and you don’t have to be experienced with technology to make sure that you stay on the safe side. It mostly boils down to applying some common sense to most situations you encounter, and thinking before clicking any suspicious links, even ones you received from friends and family.