In the MSP world, we see technology problems that come in every shape and size. While some of these issues are somewhat inevitable, many of them can be avoided. Here are some common mistakes people make that can cause more harm to their computer than they are probably aware of.
9 Common Mistakes that can Ruin Your Computer
Wanting the latest versions of software definitely has its perks. You know that the latest standards in compliance and security will be in place, UIs and overall usability are better, and they are overall just better at their core objective. Beta applications are usually free and give you a chance to sample new features and technologies before they are released to the general public. But, there is a reason they haven’t been released to the public yet: they are still being tested. The more applications you download, the more you risk downloading one that either includes malicious code or is poorly written and causes your system to crash.
Plugging a Computer Directly into a Wall
Plugging your computer directly into a wall without any kind of surge protection is a mistake that can physically destroy your computer. Everyday power surges that result in the electrical current being interrupted and then starting back again can cause damage to your electronic devices. This doesn’t always look like a full power outage or an electrical storm. In fact, power surges often are nothing more than someone turning on an appliance, such as a hair dryer, that is plugged into the same circuit. Protect your systems from this kind of damage by making sure that your computer is always plugged into a surge protector, and not directly into the wall. You should actually follow this advice for all of your major electronics, not just your computer. If you want to go one step beyond that, get an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) which is battery operated and keep you supplied with power in the event of an outage.
Surf the Internet without a Protection
Many threats that exist to most users today come from the Internet. You have to make sure that your system is protected from these threats, even if you think you are only browsing safe sites. Make sure that you have a firewall, antivirus, and anti-spyware programs installed and configured. Yes, even your home Wi-Fi needs a firewall. Some modems or routers come with a firewall built-in, but you still have to make sure it is turned on.
Failure to Run Updated Antivirus Programs
We have said this before, and we will undoubtedly say it again: outdated Antivirus is useless. Every time a software vendor releases an update to their antivirus it comes with patches and additions that enable it to protect modern threats. Malware and other threats evolve fast. In fact, as we reported in our blog post about IT Security Myths, the AV-TEST Institute has registered more than 110,000,000 new types of malware so far this year. Between October and November of this year, 11,000,000 new types of malware were reported. Just in case anyone thinks that is a typo, 11,000,000. Keeping that in mind, how well do you think antivirus that was last updated two years ago can protect you? Hint: not very well.
Operating on a Full Disk
Operating on a completely full disk is bad disk management. There is no way that it won’t make your computer run significantly slower, if it can run at all. A completely full disk can make it extremely hard for your computer to be able to find the information you are requesting from it. Even if you are very good at deleting files once you are done with them,
Operating on a Badly Fragmented Disk
One of the risks of installing and uninstalling lost of programs is disk fragmentation. Disk fragmentation occurs because of the way information is stored on the disk: On a new, clean disk, when you save a file it’s stored in contiguous sections called clusters. If you delete a file that takes up, for example, five clusters, and then save a new file that takes eight clusters, the first five clusters’ worth of data will be saved in the empty space left by the deletion and the remaining three will be saved in the next empty spaces. That makes the file fragmented, or divided. Because the file is divided, the disk’s read head takes longer to retrieve it because it has to pull parts from various locations.
Yanking a Chord out of Your Computer
This one seems like common sense, but chords come in many shapes and sizes. Some just click into place, but others are actually screwed in. If you just yank out the chords you run the risk of damaging the chord, or worse, damaging the port on your computer. This could make it so that you could no longer use that chord port, and depending on what the chord is, make it very difficult to operate.
Clicking on Things You Shouldn’t
All the security systems in the world cannot combat you clicking on malware or spam and essentially inviting hackers into your system. Before you click on anything that is a pop-up or an email that you don’t recognize, you should verify the source. Keep in mind that these items are designed specifically to trick you into thinking they are legitimate. But once the virus is in, its all damage control after that point.
Blocking Air Vents
All computers have air vents that are used to dissipate heat. Blocking these vents can cause your computer to overheat, which can do quite a bit of damage to your systems internal components. Make sure you know where the vents on your system are and that are is properly circulating through them. Even if the position of the vents is fine, these vents can very easily get dirty. Check out our blog post to learn more about how to clean these vents to make sure that they can continue to circulate air properly.
Make sure you know how to avoid these mistakes. And above all, make sure that your data is backed up, so that if one of these or any other problem were to occur with your system, you would be able to recover your information.