Top Tips

Maintaining a Healthy PC and Home Network

The following are a selection of tips for maintaining a healthy PC and wireless network, including internet security, safer web-surfing, data backup and regular servicing.

Internet Security

If you are using your PC to access the internet it is imperative that you have a good, up-to-date, anti-virus software program running on your computer. Every year tests prove that there is one particular Anti-virus program that is more effective at detecting viruses and either preventing them from installing on your PC or removing them if your computer is infected.
Although there are some very good, free Anti-virus programmes available, these versions tend not to offer the same comprehensive protection that you receive with a fully licenced version. If you have more than one computer it can be advantageous and cost effective to purchase a license 3 for more PCs and has a one year subscription to the definition updates.

Unfortunately, there is no single Anti-virus program that can completely protect your PC. Neither is it sensible to install more than one Anti-virus program with real time protection on your PC, as they tend to conflict with one another and cause additional issues. However, having an Anti-virus program installed, keeping it up-to-date and regularly running scans will dramatically reduce the possibility of infection and counteract the negative impact of even a quite serious infection.
Removing viruses once a computer has become infected is both costly and time consuming. We run any infected PC through a comprehensive 20 step process that includes at least 8 different Anti-virus programmes to ensure that an infected PC is free from viruses.

If your PC is running very slowly, cannot access the internet and you are unable to scan your PC using your installed Anti-virus program, it is very possible that your computer is infected.
If you would like us to do some preliminary checks for viruses and malware on your PC, please give us a call.

Safer Surfing

A good Anti-virus program installed on your PC will dramatically reduce the risk of your computer becoming infected with viruses and malware but unfortunately it's no guarantee. In order to reduce the risk further it is essential that whilst you are surfing that you do not inadvertently "invite" a virus onto your PC. The simple solution to this possibility is to never click "yes" to anything that you do not understand or recognise.

If whilst surfing a box appears with a yes/no option that you don't understand or think is relevant, then click on the cross in the top right hand corner to close the window. If it is a window claiming that your PC is infected with viruses (and it is not associated with your installed Anti-virus program) or it claims that your PC has issues or needs speeding up, then there is a high chance that it is a rogue program that either wants to install viruses on your PC and/or get you to enter your credit card details to "resolve" the problem.

In this situation the best resolution is to immediately disconnect your PC from the internet before attempting to close the pop-up window and then re-booting your computer before re-connecting to the internet.
It also wise not to download anything you are unsure of, click on any link in an email that you instinctively feel wary of, or use a website that has not been verified by other surfers as safe. The riskiest web-sites to use are adult sites, illegal download sites and children's free game sites. Be extremely suspicious of emails that either ask for your account details, inform you that you have won a lottery jackpot or invite you to take part in a get-rich-quick scheme. These emails should be immediately deleted!

Finally, if you want to help protect your children from viewing adult images whilst surfing it is worth investing in some internet filtering software that blocks potentially inappropriate images and activity. Windows includes some internet filtering options and many Anti-virus programs also include Parental Control Management.

Data Backup

Backing up your personal data is one of the most important but most often neglected aspects of good computer maintenance.

According to statistics the leading causes of computer data loss are:
Hardware or System Malfunctions - 44%
Human Error - 32%
Software Corruption - 14%
Computer Viruses - 7%
Natural Disasters - 3%

Whatever the cause, data loss occurs more often than you might think which is why it is essential that you backup any documents, pictures, emails, contacts or music that you wouldn't want to lose. A virus, hardware or software issue can result in the immediate loss of some or all of your precious data. Data recovery following the loss of data is not only very costly but it doesn't always necessarily work.

The simplest solution is to have at least one copy of your irreplaceable data on either an inexpensive external Hard Drive or Cloud Backup solution. Regular backups can be scheduled using the built-in Windows backup utility, specific backup software or the program that is pre-installed on most external hard drives.
If you have any questions regarding backing up data or data recovery, please do not hesitate to call us for some advice.  

Regular Servicing

Just like your car, it is a very good idea to regularly have your computer checked over and tuned up. An annual Service, Health check and Performance Tune-up for example can help identify underlying problems, highlight upgrades that will increase the computer's performance and extend the useful life of your PC.

A regular service means that your PC can be in tip-top condition, running faster and more efficiently and could even save you money in the long run...

Network Troubleshooting

Many network and internet connection issues can be solved simply by following one of these solutions: 

Problem: Cannot access the internet from any computer on the network.
Possible Solution: Turn off all computers on the network and unplug the power cables for the modem and router (this may be a single device). Wait 10 seconds and plug the power cable back into the modem. Wait 60 seconds, and then plug the router power cable back in. Wait 30 seconds and power on the computers on the network.
Problem: Cannot access the internet from a single computer when other computers on the same network can.
Possible Solutions: Turn the computer off and then back on. Try an alternative web browser if you have one installed. Try moving the computer and the router closer together. Try connecting the computer to the router using an Ethernet cable (often a yellow cable supplied with the wireless router).
Problem: Sudden, intermittent loss of wireless connectivity, weak signal or drastically reduced speed.
Possible Solutions: Try moving the computer and the router closer together. Try to ascertain whether there is interference from appliances such as microwaves or cordless telephones. Try connecting the computer to the router using an Ethernet cable. Telephone your ISP to see if there are any service issues.

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