Top Ten Computer & Virus Myths

Virus Myths NinjaThere are a lot of myths and misconceptions out there about viruses and computers.  Here at PC Ninja, we believe in spreading our knowledge to keep our customers informed and help you avoid trouble and maintain your computers.  Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of the Top Ten Computer & Virus Myths.

GENERAL COMPUTER MYTHS:

Myth 1: Whenever your computer notifies you of updates, you should install them all.
FALSE!  Not all updates are necessary or even wise.  Security updates, yes, you should almost always install.  Software updates may or may not be applicable to you, so read through what is included and decide if it’s relevant for you.  Avoid hardware updates.

Myth 2: You should turn your computer on and off regularly to let it rest.
FALSE!  Every time you turn on a computer, the hard drive has to work quite hard.  Unless you going away for more than a few days, it’s perfectly fine to leave your computer on all the time, but let it go into sleep mode or hibernate when not in use.

Myth 3: When computers slow down, it means that they are old and should be replaced.
-FALSE! Running newer or larger software programs on an older computer could lead to slow performance, but replacing or upgrading a particular component (memory, operating system, CD or DVD drive, etc.) may suffice.  There could also be programs running in the background or even malware on the computer.  A tune-up may be all you need.

Myth 4: Anything you delete from your hard drive is gone forever.
-FALSE!  While moving documents to the trash may remove them from your folders, the data itself is preserved in the hard drive of the computer.  Likely this will not cause a problem for residential users, but if you have highly private or secure information on the computer, you may need high-level deletion services.

Myth 5: Running your laptop battery down to zero before fully recharging is the best thing to preserve its life.
-FALSE!  The more often you use your laptop, the more wear will occur on the battery, but it is not necessary to let it run down to zero before recharging.  You can plug it in and recharge at any time, which should not affect your battery life.

VIRUS MYTHS:

Myth 6: If you have an antivirus or anti-malware program, your computer is safe from ever catching a virus.
-FALSE!  Even though it is wise to have antivirus software like AVG or McAfee, there is no 100% guarantee that your computer will never contract a virus.

Myth 7: Apple or Mac computers cannot get viruses.
-FALSE!  PCs may be our specialty and more prone to viruses, but only because they have been in use longer and are more common than Macs.  However, as Mac products are on the rise, virus writers are developing codes that can affect these machines as well.  Be on your guard.  If you are considering purchasing a Mac, don’t let this misconception be one of the reasons for doing so.

Myth 8: By opening a spam e-mail in your inbox, you will automatically contract the attached virus.
-FALSE!  Just by clicking on the subject line and opening up a spam e-mail, your computer will not contract a virus.  It probably will do so if you click on a link included in the message.  That said, if an e-mail looks suspicious (e.g. the subject line is the name of a contact in your address book) immediately putting it in the trash or marking it as spam is the best thing to do.

Myth 9: You will know almost immediately when your computer is infected.
-FALSE!  Virus creators depend on trying to make viruses not-so-easily traceable.  Some can be obvious if your computer completely shuts down or has many strange pop-up windows or ads, but others go undetected, and may cause your computer to run more slowly over time.

Myth 10: If you have a virus, you can just reinstall Windows and copy everything back.
-FALSE!  Once your PC is infected, reinstalling Windows and copying your files from a backup drive could re-infect the computer all over again.  First the virus must be cleaned out, and all documents and data should be scanned to make sure they are free from viruses.  Depending on how infected the PC is, it may or may not require an operating system reload at all.

Knowledge is power!  Don’t be misled by these virus myths and misconceptions.  Apply the facts in your daily computer usage, and share them with your friends.

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