Monday 20 February 2012

Tech Advice - Protect your computer

Our own AVRL Systems Support Team (we call them our computer gurus) has some advice to share:

By following a few simple guidelines, you can maintain your computer and keep it running smoothly.  There are many programs that claim to be the only one that you need to protect yourself, but we have found that using a combination of a few, each one taking a different approach to spyware is actually superior. A nice thing about the programs we are highlighting is that they are all free for individuals to use.  Many of them also have more functionality such as automatic updates and scheduled scanning that can be unlocked by purchasing a license.

Step 1: Make sure you have an updated virus scanner.

There are some very good free antivirus programs that actually work better in some ways than the paid versions that may have come preloaded on your computer when you bought it.
  These companies make their money through licensing deals with large businesses and corporations.  The free versions are restricted to personal use only and may have some limitations that the paid versions do not such as the ability to scan only certain parts of the computer on a schedule. 

***Please note that you should not install more than one Antivirus (AV) program on your computer. Make sure you uninstall any existing AV completely before you install a new one.

Microsoft Security Essentials offers comprehensive virus and malware scanning with free updates, as well as real time scanning of files and email.

Step 2: Empty cache and clean up TMP files
Web caching is the caching of web documents (e.g., HTML pages, images) to reduce bandwidth usage, server load, and perceived lag.  Whenever you visit a webpage, your web browser stores a snapshot of the page in its memory. This helps to improve browsing because it means you don’t have to download the page every visit.  Temporary files or TMP files are created when an application needs to store some temporary data.  Programs which use large amounts of data, like video editing software, may need to create many TMP files to keep the program running smoothly.  They are usually deleted automatically by the parent application (the software, game, application) that created them; however there may be instances when these files are not removed from your computer and takes up unnecessary space.

 CCleaner is a small and efficient program that scans the hard drive and gets rid of these temporary files.  It can also be used to clean up old unused entries in the registry, and to control what programs are run when your computer starts up. There's a video tutorial here.

Come back on Wednesday for steps 3 & 4! 

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