10 Tips From the Computer Experts

Your computer manual doesn’t tell you everything you need to know. Let our experts reveal how to fix or repair the most common PC problems with no hassles.

Here’s the inside scoop from experts willing to share their best computer tips-from how to protect your PC to how to fix common problems.


  • Get protected. Make sure you have current anti-virus and anti-spyware protection, and set it to update at least once a day and run a full-system scan at least once a week.
  • There’s no free lunch. Downloading free music, movies and games from file-sharing sites can open holes in your system for others to exploit. Play it safe and use established services like Rhapsody, iTunes and Netflix.
  • Remember: Public Wi-Fi is public. If you don’t have a compelling reason to check your e-mail or bank account while sipping a latte at the mall, don’t do it. While you’re on a public network, even one that’s encrypted, a nearby hacker can capture your passwords.
  • Give it a rest. Turning off your computer when it’s not in use saves energy and clears out the RAM, or temporary memory, which would otherwise slow your machine over time.
  • Call your provider first. If you can’t get online, call your Internet service provider first. Connection problems can often be checked and fixed-for free.
  • If you want to see less of me, get a Mac. That’s what we use. “Macs are actually a little bad for my business,” says one expert.
  • Check the source. No, you can’t use your cellphone to pop popcorn. Next time an Internet rumour drops into your inbox, don’t just pass it on-check it out at snopes.com first.
  • Sometimes we talk about you-in code. If you hear “HKI error” (for human-keyboard interface) or “PEBCAK” (problem exists between chair and keyboard), we’re insulting you.
  • No jargon. If you don’t understand me, I’m not doing my job. Confusing tech jargon is a sign of insecurity, not intelligence.
  • Be nice. Please remember: We didn’t create the problem; we’re just trying to help you fix it.

  Read more tips in 10 Things Your Computer Person Won’t Tell You.