Simple suggestions to keep your computer running smoothly
Beginners in computing might find the following companion sites more useful:
For those who are afraid to upgrade to Windows 8.1, I have good news. Just click on the following link and check it out yourself.
Common sense plays an important role in virtually everything in life. That includes use of computers. If you just use common sense, you can avoid a lot of computer problems or computer malfunctions. Unfortunately, some people, for reasons not known to me, do not use common sense and then run into problems with their computers. I am, therefore, writing some do's and don't's in this chapter which are all basically common sense things. You can skip this chapter if you have good common sense. If not, please read on.
1. Delete all old files and folders, that you don't need anymore, from your computer. This will free up disk space and remove disk clutter. Please remember that just deleting something puts it only in the Recycle Bin and your disk space is not freed up. Delete them from the Recycle Bin also to recover disk space. If you are unsure that you will never again need those files, then leave them in the Recycle Bin (which can be easily restored to their original location again). But such files/folders should be as few as possible, and you should review them at least once every month and decide whether you should still leave them in the Recycle Bin or you should permanently delete them.
2. Remove all programs that you do not use anymore or you never use. Use Windows Add/Remove prgram to do this or use the program's uninstaller if it has one. Never "delete" a program. These days when you buy a new computer the dealer or the manufacturer installs many programs for free in it. Many of them are just trial versions, and they cease to work after a few weeks or months unless you pay money to use them. Some are bare-bone versions of full programs and to enjoy the full benefits of the program you must pay money to download the full version. These are all sales gimmicks and I remove them at once. Of course, if you need and use something that you got for free and if it is still working, by all means keep it. Removing unused/unwanted programs will not only free up disk space, often it saves conflicts between files. The cleaner your computer is, the better will run.
3. By the same token, do not download any program from the Internet even if it is free! These days advertisement in the Internet is so strong (and often convincing) that you think you need it and download a program which you would have never done had you not seen the advertisement (and lived without it very well). Downloading unnecessary programs (such as Windows washer, computer checker, registry cleaner, third-party disk defragmenters, etc.) not only eat-up your disk space but may cause computer crashes, infect your computer with viruses or other malware like spyware unless you know well what you are doing. I know of newbies who as soon as they learn how to download a file from the Internet, indiscriminately start downloading programs from the Internet (like a "cool" screensaver) and then in no time run into trouble. Also, even for good and useful programs, please always download either from the software's official site or from renowned and wellknown sources like Download.com or Tucows etc. Always stay away from dubious sources.
Let me add a valuable suggestion here. Inspite of all the precautions and meticulous care, the unexpected and undesirable can still sometimes happen and they usually happen at the worst possible time. You might suddenly lose some valuable work or some files in your computer might get corrupted for unknown reasons. Instead of pulling all your hair out, it is better to have a data recovery software handy for such unforeseen circumstances. It might just prove to be a life saver at times! Please keep this suggestion in mind.
4. I am sorry to say if you visit pornographic sites, your computer in no time will be infected with virus, spyware, etc. Why do you think those site owners provide you with free adult entertainment in the form of pictures of half-naked women in sexy poses? When you visit those sites they plant (or at least try to plant) spyware in your computer to steal your personal information like your surfing habits or even more serious things like stealing your passwords, social security numbers, credit card numbers etc. Common sense. Use discretion.
5. Of course, do all maintenence work discussed in details earlier and download and install Windows updates as soon as they are available. Similarly, get updates of your anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall programs regularly, and scan your computer for viruses, spyware etc. at least once in two weeks (or earlier). The threat from these things is real. Please do not ignore these advices.
6. Never be tempted to install several programs in your computer at the same time. It is always better to install only one program at a time and try it out for a few days (or at least for a few hours) to make sure the program is not causing the computer to malfunction in any way. Install the second program only after making sure that the first program did not make any conflict between files. If several programs are installed at a time and then it is discovered that the computer is malfunctioning or it is crashing, it is very hard to pinpoint the offending program. If you install only one program at a time, and the computer starts behaving strangely, you know for sure which is the offending program and you can remove (uninstall) it.
7. While installing any new program, always make sure you have closed all open programs in your computer. You can easily avoid a lot of problems in the future by following this simple rule. Also, always restart you computer after installing a new program and before you start to use it.
8. Never turn off the power of your computer without shutting down Windows properly. Click Start, then Shut Down, then in the Shut Down Windows dialog box, select Shut down, then click on OK.
9. Never plug-in your computer with an electrical outlet without using a good surge protector. Invest in a good surge protector to protect your computer equipment and your data. The danger of electrical surges is very real.