Techies and computer enthusiasts are at an undeniable advantage in keeping their computers running smoothly. They know how to get the basics right and stand a better chance of fixing a machine without assistance when it goes wrong.
However, you don’t need to be a computer expert to follow some sensible practices that most techies follow. This article presents five of these and explains how to learn from them.
Let’s get started:
Remove the “bloat.”
Buying a new computer often comes with all kinds of pre-installed software you probably don’t need. It’s fair to say that this problem is WAY more prevalent with computers running Microsoft Windows than on Apple Macs. (As an aside, some manufacturers of Android smartphones and tablets are also increasingly guilty of this practice of installing unnecessary software, )
There are various reasons for manufacturers doing this. Sometimes, they want to push novice users to use their software when, in reality, they have a choice of all kinds of third-party products. Sometimes, the manufacturers work with a specific third party to promote a product.
Either way, all this bloatware usually does is get in the way and slow a computer down. The solution is to uninstall everything you don’t need. It’s your computer, and it’s up to you what you have running on it.
Encrypt the hard drive.
It usually comes as a big surprise to non-technical people that it’s laughably easy to access the data on a computer, regardless of whether there’s a complicated password set. All anyone needs to do is remove the hard drive and plug it into a caddy device or another computer, and everything’s right there.
The solution is to, so anyone who lays their hands on the hard drive will only see garbage if they don’t have the encryption key.
Apple Macs and Windows computers running a “Professional” version of Windows have full disk encryption instantly available in FileVault or BitLocker, respectively. Alternatively, you can use a third-party program like VeraCrypt to encrypt the hard drive. Once your campaign is encrypted, you needn’t worry so much about your data’s security if your machine is ever lost or stolen.
Use a VPN service.
Once used primarily to create a secure way for teleworkers to connect to their corporate systems, virtual private networks (VPNs) have evolved. They are now widely sold as subscription services to vastly improve online privacy.
You can connect to the Internet anywhere with a VPN on your Mac, Windows PC, or mobile device. This opens up access to TV and media services from all locations and stops sites from blocking you due to where you are. VPNs encrypt your traffic, so you’re not advertising all your activity to your internet service provider (ISP). Using a laptop and VPN also makes it far safer to use public Wi-Fi hotspots.
Techies who care about their privacy use VPNs routinely – it’s well worth considering doing the same yourself.
Studiesfor computer users not to back up their data yearly. If you’re one of those people, inevitably, you’ll eventually live to regret it when you become the victim of a drive failure and lose some valuable files or photos.
Modern operating systems all come with easy-to-use backup procedures, which allow you to backup data to an external hard drive. Dozens of online backup services will enable you to store data in the cloud safely. An estimated 25% of people lose data yearly – but this is easily avoided if you return regularly.
Consider extending the warranty.
Hardware warranties for computers are often very minimal, especially for low-end machines. Commonly, a contract may only last one year and require your computer to be “returned to base” – without it until it’s fixed and returned.
While techies may not bother much about a cheap PC or laptop warranty, it often makes sense to cough up an expensive model. If you’ve spent a four-figure sum on a computer, only for the screen or motherboard to fail when it’s 18 months old, you could end up with a huge repair bill. In The Big Bang Theory episode, Sheldon Cooper jokes, “AppleCare always pays for itself.” Plenty of tech enthusiasts would agree!
Following these tips won’t turn you into a technical expert overnight, but they will let you come closer to the trouble-free computing that more technical people enjoy.