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.