Friday, May 27, 2011

Top 5 Computer Tips

Introducing.... (Drum Roll!) .... Top Five Friday!

I haven't blogged at all this month, so in an attempt to get this blog back up to speed, I've come up with Top Five Friday!!! Every Friday, I'll compose a "Top Five" list of basically anything. This week, I've put together a list of my Top 5 Computer Maintenance Tips... things that I believe every computer user should do to take care of their computer.

1) Have virus protection.
I'll bet you've heard someone's tragic tale about how a virus infected their computer and wiped out everything, or made it painfully slow. It is sad that a perfectly good computer can fall victim to a virus, however, there are precautions that can help prevent this from happening. The most obvious precaution is virus protection!
There are many different virus protection programs: Norton, McAffee, AVG, and Avast are just a few of them. If you don't feel like spending money on virus protection, download Avast. It's what I use on my laptop and I haven't had any problems with it so far, in fact, it's identified a few threats on my computer. Don't leave your computer unprotected!

2) Don't run unneccessary programs.
You could say I'm a multi-tasker. When I'm at home, I run a lot of programs on my computer.
 I'll have Windows Live Messenger, and Skype on just in case someone wants to chat with me. Realistically, it's usually just my mom sending me a message from the next room. I usually have iTunes on, since I find it hard to function without listening to music. Of course, I have my Facebook open in my Internet browser, but I also have Twitter, Hotmail, Tumblr, and other random websites open on my computer just in case. A lot of the time, I'll have Microsoft Word opened as well, in case I want to make note of something. Of course, I also have Avast running in the system tray. 
I know that this is what my computer can handle, while still running at top speed, but if yours doesn't, close some of the programs running! Especially pay attention to what is in your system tray, which is located at the bottom right hand corner of your screen. The programs located here are continuously running, and you may not even know it. For a while, my computer was running slowly because I had Frostwire open in my system tray without even realizing it. Check out what you've got running and exit what you don't need to have open!

3) Don't download unnecessary programs.
About four years ago, before I had my own computer, my family shared one desktop computer, and that thing was so slow! We each had our own user account, which probably accounted for some of the problem, however, there was a bigger factor slowing us down.
My mom likes to play computer games. Zuma, Word Whomp, Hearts, Solitaire... she plays it all. Turns out she was downloading trials of tons of games, so she didn't have to play them online. Normally, this wouldn't be a problem, but she didn't uninstall the programs after she'd used the thirty day trial period. There were lots of trials on the computer, and they all wanted to load as soon as we turned on the computer.
The moral of my story is don't download programs that you don't need!  You'll fill your computer up with stuff that only works for thirty days, and then only takes up space. I'm not saying don't download anything, of course you want to enjoy your computer, I'm only suggesting to fill it with programs you enjoy and will use!

4) Start, Shutdown.
If you've never used a computer before, you might treat the power button like the power button on  a TV. 
Yes, you turn the computer on with the button... It's the only way to get it to turn on. However, you should never, never, never shut down the computer with the button. Yes, it sounds a little counter-intuitive but avoiding this will save your files and your computer.
If you interrupt your computer while it's in the middle of doing something, you'll likely lose whatever it is that you're doing. You could also harm the hard drive, and that just doesn't turn out well for anybody. Go to Start, then Shutdown!

5) Clear it out.
Okay, let's just make this clear -- I'm not suggesting you wipe everything off of your computer. I am suggesting that you wipe out the stuff that is not doing anything! And no, I'm not restating my second and third points.
When you delete something off your computer, it goes to the recycle bin. If you've never emptied your recycle bin, do it now! Though you've deleted your files, they're still being held in your recycle bin and are taking up space on your computer, so by wiping those idle files, you're freeing up more space. Space is good!
The same goes for your Internet browser. It keeps track of every site you visit, and holds it in the history. It also keeps cookies, little pieces of websites, that will allow them to load faster next time. Delete your history once in a while to get rid of these pieces that are saved on your computer. Make sure you're not clearing off stuff you want though... and if you accidentally do, I will not be held accountable! Haha.

Hopefully, these tips help you out with your computer, and if they don't stay tuned for next Top 5 Friday... you might learn something useful then!

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