New year's computer resolutions

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Posted 26 December 2002

With the new year here we've had a look at the yearís most common problems put together a list of resolutions. If you can keep to these suggestions youíll save a lot of computer frustration and irritation. And you'll save the expense of paying people like us to fix the problems.

  1. Get a virus checker
  2. The most common problem for PC users is viruses. Even if you have a virus checker you need to keep it up-to-date. A free anti-virus with a reliable automatic updater is AVG.

  3. Donít open suspicious attachments
  4. An attachment with a pif, exe, bat or com attachment is almost certainly a virus. Even with the best anti-virus programs a well-designed virus can get through your defences. Weíve created a list of the most suspicious attachments to help you identify them.

  5. Keep your system up-to-date
  6. Itís rare to find software without bugs in the system. Windows users can update their system from the Windows Update site. Mac users can use the automatic software update feature or visit the Apple Featured Software site.

  7. Do not play with settings you donít understand
  8. If you donít understand what youíre playing with, then donít play with it. In particular, the video, modem and network settings can run your computerís day. If you must play with them, at least note what youíre doing so the technician knows what the problem is.

  9. Get the kids their own computer
  10. If you work from home letting the kids use the office computer is a big mistake. If they must use the computer, buy them a new one. To discourage them from using your computer, give them the best computer.

  11. Understand your Internet plan and keep an eye on the usage
  12. Not understanding your Internet plan can be a costly mistake. Know what your plan includes and how much it costs when you exceed any "free" limits. Every Internet provider has a way for you to check your usage, learn to use it.

  13. Note all passwords and store them securely
  14. You may not type in a password to connect to the net or check your e-mail, but you do have one. Losing a password can be a major problem, particularly when a technician is charging a $100 an hour while you try to find it. If you canít remember your passwords then write them down and keep them somewhere safely away from your computer.

  15. Save your work
  16. Every time you go to leave your computer, print or switch to another task, press the save key beforehand. If your software allows you, enable the autosave function as well. There is nothing more frustrating than losing a morningís work.

  17. back up your data
  18. Well there is one thing worse than losing the mornings work and thatís losing five years work. Losing data is a fact of life and it will happen to you. We covered backup options back in February 2001 and while the numbers have changed slightly (as well as LS-120 and Orb drives becoming history) the basics remain the same.

  19. Donít waste money on older computers
Like older cars you reach a point when it isnít worth repairing them. Any computer that is older than three years is not worth doing anything more than minor upgrades and repairs. If your computer is more than five years old then prepare to buy a new one.

Our thanks to Charles Wright of ABC 774 and the Bleeding Edge column for letting us shamelessly pinch his idea. One of our resolutions is to be a bit more original next year. The other is to update the website more often.

Happy new year.

PC Rescue Pty Ltd
Suite 236, 4 Young Street Neutral Bay NSW 2089
ABN 082 635 765
©Technology Publishing Australia, 2011