6 Common Mistakes Computer Users Must Avoid
If you've had a computer system for any real length of time, then it's more than likely that you've had at least one encounter where your system has failed to boot or your hard drive has crashed. In instances like that, we can lose, virtually everything we ever saved on our computer systems, especially if we have no back up measures in place.
Such situations are not the kinds of things the average user thinks about. As most are oblivious to the kinds of catastrophes that can occur, until they occur. It's only the more experienced users that are away of such, and thus, make the necessary provisions, to safeguard themselves from such occurrences, when they do happen.
It's for this reason, why it's so important that you learn about the various measures that you can implement to protect your system.
Below is a list of the biggest mistakes that your average computer user will make. Many of which may or may not be immediately apparent to you. Thus, knowing these things will put you in the best possible position, in the event something unexpected occurs on your system.
1. Use Ransomware Protection
One mistake that a great many computer users make, is not having some kind of ransomware protection on their system.
Ransomware is basically a kind of malicious file that once it gets on your system, will locate and block sensitive information on your computer behind an encryption. Thus, in order to access this information, you will have to pay the virus creator, hence the ransom in ransomware.
This is without a doubt, one of the worst situations that could occur on your system, but it is preventable, if you know how. The most effective thing that you can do, is use antivirus software, which will prevent any ransomware viruses from getting onto your system. There are a number of tools that you can use, some specialist's anti-ransomware tools that you can look into, and also a built-in Windows feature called Controlled Folder Access.
This built-in Windows feature is highly adept at keeping your system safe, and works excellently well in conjunction with Microsoft Defender. It's advisable that you use both, but at the very least Controlled Folder Access, to protect you're most sensitive data from hackers and malicious files.
2. Net Restarting Your System
Any time your system appears to act up, maybe things start to move very slowly, and there's no explainable reason for it, the first thing you should try is a simple system reboot. Rebooting your system is one of the most effective ways of fixing a great many problems that occurs on your system. Some of the things that you can fix on your system, with a simple reboot include:
Programs running slower than usual.
Applications using up considerable amounts of memory.
Internet connectivity problems.
Blue screen of death errors.
3. Not Backing Up Your Computer
Hard drive failure is one of the most disastrous things that can occur on your system that is only made worse, if you have no backup plan in place. To keep your data safe, all you need to do is either utilise cloud storage or purchase another hard drive, whether internal or external. Alternatively you could go with a flash drive, if you intend to backup only smaller documents.
When you have your backup system in place, it should carry out regular backups on your behalf, providing it has enough storage space to do so.
When it comes to using something like a flash drive or external hard drive, you will need to manually plug them in, at the appropriate time, so that the backup can be carried. This may be once a week or once a month, ideally, you want to have as many backups as possible, but you don't want to overdo it.
Of course, there's nothing stopping the flash drive or external hard drive from failing. However, with cloud storage this is minimised. You can use the cloud to backup literally everything, and it works considerably faster than other backup methods. Thinking about backing up your tablet or your phone, then cloud storage is something you may want to consider investing in.
Just be sure to keep track of what's being backed up, and have some understanding of how to restore this data, in the event that you need it.
4. Not Keeping Your OS Up-To-Date
Developers are constantly releasing new updates for their software, and for good reason. These reasons may include, for fixing bugs, adding new features, patching known security vulnerabilities, and to make ones system more secure. When you neglect to keep your operating system up-to-date you essentially leave your system out to be exploited. One of the best things you can do for your computer system is to have Windows Updates set to automatic.
5. Constant Use of Disk Defragmenter
If you're on one of the latest Windows operating system, then you don't need to think about defragging your hard drive, this is because your OS is configured to do it automatically. You should only consider doing it manually, if your hard drive is unusually fragmented. And this should only be done on standard HDDs. Your later SSD drives do not need to be defragged, nor do they benefit from the process in any way, as data is stored much differently on them.
6. Using the Power Button to Turn off Ones System
If you simply press the power button, then it will run through the shutdown process. However, if you hold the power button down, then it will perform what is called a hard shut down. This will abruptly shut your computer down, closing any files and programs in the process. This is not a recommended way of shutting your system off, as it can result in data corruption, loss of data and even hardware failure.
You may find certain discussions on the net stating that there's nothing wrong with powering your system down in this manner. But the reality is that they are very much wrong. You should only ever use a hard shutdown in cases of emergency.
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website (Compuchenna).