Benjamin Franklin wisely wrote, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
This holds true in all areas of life, including with your technological gadgets. My clients who observe good computing habits year-round typically don’t experience many problems between their regularly scheduled PC Tune-Up appointments.
In my last column, I shared with you the first three of seven common PC problems that I and my techs deal with daily. Today, I’d like to share with you the final four and offer helpful tips in how to avoid them.
Forgetting to Install Windows Updates
Cybercriminals and hackers attack your computer by taking advantage of security holes in your PC’s operating system.
The two latest ransomware infections – Petya and WannaCry – rendered hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide inoperable.
Those computers wouldn’t have been affected had those PCs been kept up-to-date with the latest Windows Updates.
PREVENTION TIP: Regularly install Windows Updates on your computer or set your computer to automatically do so.
Forgetting to Install Updates for Software Programs
Just as important as installing Windows Updates is installing updates for common software programs.
The critical ones to keep current are Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader, Adobe Shockwave, and Java. Most of these programs run in the background when you’re browsing various websites, so you may not even know about them.
If you don’t keep these updated, your computer is highly exposed to viruses and malware – because hackers commonly exploit these programs.
PREVENTION TIP: Regularly install updates for Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader, Adobe Shockwave, and Java. Be warned, tho, some pop-ups you receive prompting you to update these programs may be fake. It’s best to go to www.adobe.com and www.java.com to manually update these programs.
Downloading Programs From Unreliable Sources
You desire to use your PC for fun and games. A quick Internet search reveals an exciting new game you can download for free. So you do.
Moments later, your computer becomes infected with all sorts of extra programs and new toolbars fill the top of your web browser window. Your PC begins running slower. You’re greeted with pop-ups every time you try to access the Internet.
It’s extremely important to only download and install programs from reputable websites. Many websites offering free software contain malware, which can range from annoying to causing serious computer problems.
PREVENTION TIP: Only download software from websites you know and trust. Carefully read each screen during the installation process to make sure you’re not installing any unwanted or malicious add-ons.
Using Unsecured Wifi Connections
Unsecured wifi connections allow you to connect your laptop, mobile phone, or tablet without requiring a password.
While it makes accessing the Internet easy, it also exposes your personal information and files to others who are connected to the same wifi connection.
If it’s your own home wireless network that doesn’t require a password, you’re allowing anyone who’s near your home the ability to access your Internet connection and even your files. You could be held legally liable if they conduct illicit activity while connected to your Internet.
PREVENTION TIP: Secure your home wireless network with a password. Use caution when connecting to public wireless networks; avoid accessing banking and other personal websites on these connections.
When you apply these recommendations, I guarantee you’ll see your PC doctor less often.