The DO NOT Computer Tip List

Do Not Computer Tip List Poor advice spreads as easily as good advice, and sometimes untrained instincts can lead you down the wrong circuit when it comes to a computer.  So here is a DO NOT computer tip list: things you should avoid doing that could harm your machine.

1) DO NOT defragment* your hard drive too often.  Do it only if you are deleting a lot of files that are large, like photos.  Defragging too much creates unnecessary stress on the hard drive and can do more harm than good; it reduces the life of the hard drive.  If you aren’t deleting lots of files, defragging once every one or two months is sufficient.  (*Defragmenting: When you delete a lot of files, it leaves data gaps in the hard drive. This process removes those gaps so that your data can be accessed more easily and quickly.)

2) DO NOT install Windows hardware updates.  You DO NOT need the latest and greatest updates, contrary to what you may have heard from others.  Windows security updates are good; but hardware updates often cause more problems than they solve.  Install them at your own risk, as many cases of improperly installed updates have caused computer corruption.

3) DO NOT click randomly and quickly in continued succession if your computer is not responding—like opening up a program or page online.  Most times, the computer is doing something in the background (something of which you are unaware or don’t see visually).  Let the computer do its thing.  Clicking rapidly will not help it load any faster, and might, in fact, confuse the computer, causing it to freeze up or crash.  Practice patience, and failing that, use CTRL + ALT + DEL for a force quit option.

4) DO NOT open attachments from someone you don’t know or that seem suspicious.  Viruses can be spread by e-mail, but only if one opens the included attachment or the web link.  You won’t get the virus if you open the e-mail alone, but you very well could if you open the attachment or click a link in the e-mail.  If the subject line of the e-mail is the supposed sender’s name, but all that appears in the body is a web link or attachment, mark it as spam and delete.

5) DO NOT leave your computer connected to the Internet if you believe you’ve contracted a virus.  This also applies for programs on your computer that use the Internet, like e-mail, music players, or chat programs.  They may not work anyway, but the longer your computer maintains an online connection, the more a virus can infiltrate the machine.  Unplug your Ethernet cord, turn off the Wi-Fi, and/or shut off the computer completely.

And the final, ABSOLUTELY-DO-NOT-super-bonus:
6) DO NOT install more than one antivirus program.  Most people wonder how in the world they contracted a computer virus; doubly so if they run TWO antivirus programs, but that’s probably where the problem lies.  If you have Norton, you don’t need McAfee, or vice versa.  Two can cancel each other out.  Pick the one you like best and stick with it!

Abiding by these DO NOT tips could help you avoid making common mistakes that put your computer at risk.  We want our customers to have a more satisfying, and certainly less frustrating, time working with their computers.  Share this DO NOT Computer Tip List with your friends!

(Taken from a WEEU Radio Broadcast on 4/11/13)

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