The new school year is coming, which can often mean new computers for you and your children. This can be an exciting time, but it can also go very bad if you don’t take the right precautionary steps up front.
So before you rip off the plastic cover and boot up the shiny, new, expensive machine, there are a few steps you can take to prevent against viruses and reduce the resolution time should your computer act up. Don’t let your time and money go down the drain by not being prepared! Here are five quick tips to make sure your new computer lives a happy and healthy life.
1.) Create a Ghost
Most computers do not come equipped with a large host of features right out of the box. They usually have a base platform that allows the computer to operate in the way that you desire, but there isn’t much else there. This is the perfect time to create a ghost of your virus-free computer.
Ghosting allows you to preserve your computer in its original state by creating a backup copy of your system for future use. In the event that your software becomes corrupted or you have a need to begin from scratch, you will be able to start over with a clean slate. Ghosting will save you a good amount of money and time in the event that something goes wrong with your computer. Both Windows and MAC have back-up capabilities built in to the systems.
2.) Install and Run Antivirus Software
The first thing you should ever install on a new computer is antivirus software. Many computers that are produced by larger manufacturers will come pre-installed with antivirus software. If this is the case, be sure to run the provided program and have it complete a full scan of your computer. Once the scan is complete, make sure you set up the program to regularly scan your computer for harmful files. This will help keep your computer clean and help prevent any data loss due to unwanted malware.
Windows Defender and Security Essentials are great options if you have a Windows-based machine. Having this software in place will keep your computer running smoothly and save you countless hours of trouble in the future.
3.) Back Up Your Data
Your computer may be running fine right now, but should it struggle in the future, you will not want to lose all of the files, documents, email, and other forms of data that you have accumulated over the years. The best way to keep your data safe is to set up a regular back-up schedule. Most operating systems come preloaded with an automatic back-up assistant that will easily allow you to keep your data safe. Make sure you have your computer backed up on a regular schedule so that, in the event your computer experiences problems, your data will be safe.
The best place to store backup data is on an external hard drive or USB stick, and a trusted remote off-site location is even better. Your computer’s internal drive may be convenient and cost-efficient, but if your data is important to you, an external solution is the best way to go. Services like Dropbox, Google Drive and ShareFile, which have automated syncing solutions with good security track records, are great options and have free tiers (based on the amount of data you store with them).
4.) Update Your Software
Software packages such as Windows, Java, Flash and web browsers are constantly being updated to address newly found security flaws. Hackers heavily rely on outdated software to gain access to your computer and personal information. Being proactive about securing your computer’s software is critical to staying safe.
5.) Browse Smart
Be intelligent about where you visit online. Do not fall into the trap of mindlessly roaming from link to link hoping that you won’t stumble across a malicious site. Exercise caution and use discretion. If a site looks suspicious, it probably is! Antivirus software is extremely helpful, but it can’t stop everything. The more websites you visit that contain viruses the more susceptible your security system will be. Sooner or later, something will get through. Be intelligent about where you are visiting and what you are downloading!
Purchasing a new computer is an exciting and fun experience. However, new computers are most at risk and vulnerable to attack the minute they leave the packaging, which is why you must take the proper steps to secure your machine if you want the experience to be frustration free.