Keep It Regular

Keep It Regular

You’ve probably heard over and over again the things you should do or actions you should take to keep your computer safe and secure. That’s all great, but aren’t all of those things a little hard to remember on a day to day or a month to month basis? Wouldn’t it be nice to just have a list to print out to remind you when those things need to be done?

Well, wait no longer. Below is a list of some of the things I thought of that everyone should do on a regular basis. These are things I do to my own computer as well, because it’s just that important!

Ok, to get started, one of the more obvious practices is that you should run an antivirus scan at least biweekly, if not every week. Now, I use the Norton antivirus software, but there are several options out there, with most of them working in a similar way. Most programs will allow you to set up a time for the scan to run, so you don’t have to worry about running it manually each time. If you want it to run at 4:00 on Friday afternoon, it will just automatically do that for you, with no hassle. The antivirus programs also have certain boxes that you should keep checked in case of a problem. For example, in Norton, you can choose to have the Auto-Protect on all the time, as well as, have it start automatically every time Windows starts up. In Norton, you also have options to go through on how you would like an infected file to be taken care of. You can choose to have it repaired, have it quarantined if the repair failed or deny any access to the file itself. These are just a few of the choices you get along with an antivirus scan. Just take some time to browse through the Options with the antivirus software you use.

Along with the above tip, you should also run your Live Update scan regularly too, so you don’t miss any of the updates the program has to offer. I, for one, run my live update each morning before I check my e-mail here at the office. It only takes a few minutes and it’s just a simple way of ensuring the computer is safe before all those junk e-mails come rollin’ through.

Next, another smart thing to have on your computer is an adware/spyware program. This isn’t as serious as viral protection, but it is very important. Programs such as SpyWare Killer or Acronis are good starts to this protection option. There are also programs such as SpyBot or AdAware out there to help keep you safe. You should also consider getting some sort of a firewall program like ZoneAlarm.

Now, on to some more! There are several things you can do to your computer to clean up space. For one, you should run a disk cleanup pretty regularly to make sure nothing is eating away your space. To do this, click on the My Computer icon on your desktop and look for the C: drive. Right-click on that and choose Properties. This will bring up a pie chart of how much space is being used and how much you have left. It has all kinds of information there for you regarding your disk space, so you can check and make sure you have the appropriate amount of disk space left. You just click on the Disk Cleanup button and let it run. You may be amazed at how much stuff that will remove from your computer. It may all be unnecessary stuff that you didn’t even know was infested on your PC! I had a problem with this awhile back. It may have been something some of you have faced before too. I kept getting a little pop up box down in the bottom right hand corner of my screen that said something like “You are running on an extreme low amount of disk space. Please remove items, etc.” I didn’t understand, because all I had on my laptop were some school files and things like that. There was nothing major and definitely nothing that could take up that much space. I went to the Disk Cleanup spot several times and no matter how much stuff was removed from my computer, the warning bubble kept popping up. I finally found out that I was somehow using around 48 GB of space and I only have 52.3!!!!!! I was just floored. There was no way I was using that much space. So, I took my PC to a friend and he was able to get all the unnecessary files off and now I’m only using 7.37 GB and I have 44.9 GB of space left. What a change, huh? There was some sort of program that was multiplying itself and it was just eating up all of my space. So anyway, the moral of the story is to check your disk space regularly to make sure something like this isn’t getting ahold of all your space.

Another thing you can do to clean up some space is go through your Add/Remove programs (Start, Control Panel) and clean up some of the unwanted items in there. There always seems to be some sort of program or attachment that you don’t need, so you might as well get rid of it and use the space for something else, right? The Add/Remove list also tells you when you last used a program, so it’s easy to tell if you should get rid of it or not. If you haven’t used it in the last month or so, I say,”Get it outta there!”

You should also go through all your files (I know, that may take awhile) and clean some stuff out of those too. I know there’s several things on my computer that I don’t need any more, like school papers I had written or some pictures or music files. That sort of stuff is safe to delete off your computer, if you’re sure you’re never going to need it again. It will just free up some space for you and help your computer run smoothly. You don’t have to go do this weekly or anything, but every two or three months may not be a bad idea. You can also help your PC by deleting old e-mails completely off your system. If you’re never going to read them again, then why waste the space? Getting rid of all of those forwards you get and things like that will help your e-mail program and your system work better. Make sure you delete them from your deleted folder as well, not just from your inbox.

There are just a couple more things you can do to keep your computer safe, secure and running smooth! If you surf the Internet a lot, clean out your Web browser history often and delete your cookies and files. This task is simple. Just go to any Internet browser, click on Tools, Internet Options and under Temporary Internet Files, click Delete Cookies and Delete Files. Then under History, click on Clear History. This gets rid of the history of all the Web pages you’ve visited and all that comes with those. It’s a good idea to do this every so often.

You can also clear up unused icons on your desktop. I know I used to have tons of icons sitting on my desktop that I never used. I never knew how annoying it was until I cleaned mine up and now I just have one row of icons and that’s it. I can see that picture of my dogs that I have as my wallpaper much better now! You can put all
of these unused icons into their own folder or you can just delete them for good. That’s up to you! Either way, it’s a good thing to do.

One last thing! It’s also a good idea to empty out your Recycle Bin when you get a chance. After you’ve deleted all this stuff from your PC, you’ll want to make sure it’s gone permanently by deleting it out of your Recycle Bin too. Just find the Recycle Bin icon on your desktop and right-click on it and choose Empty Recycle Bin. It will throw away all that junk for you!

Well, there ya go. There are just a few practices you can do to keep your PC up and running well! You don’t want it bogged down with all that junk, so help it out and clean it up! It will serve you better too!

~ Erin

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