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How to Keep Your Computer Running Safe and Secure

by Mike Hodge

You may have seen some of these suggestions before, but no matter how simple they may seem, it is important to follow a few simple procedures that will save you lots of time and trouble in the future. Many people wait until their computer has almost slowed to a crawl before they take any action, and by then, it will become a pain-staking process to rid your computer of all the "bugs"

 Defragmeting your hard drive

When you install software, create files and other data, your computer will store it in the quickest way possible. This will cause some files to be separated and stored in different places on the hard drive. When you attempt to retrieve data, the hard drive will search for all of the fragmented files, which will slow down your computer. It is a good idea to defragment your disk weekly, or every two weeks at the most. With Windows XP, Click on the Start Menu, all programs, and look for accessories. When you go to accessories, ther will be a drop-down menu where you can click on disk defragmenter. It's simple from there; just follow the instructions. If for some reason, you can't find the disk defragmenter on the start menu, click start, my computer, then right click on the hard drive. (Usually this is Drive C) Click on Properties on the drop down menu, and in the dialog box that opens, click on tools. You will see the disk defragmenter there.You will also see disk clean-up which is another good program to run.

Virus and Spyware Protection

This is a must! New viruses are released on the internet almost daily, and your computer can become infected when you are surfing the net. Some of the spyware and malware writers are hacking legitimate sites and installing a tiny (1px) image which will download their spyware on your computer when you go their site. There are plenty of free software programs that will handle this. AVG Anti-virus and Adaware SE, are two good programs. Not only are they free, but updates are also free. Always keep Windows updated by checking on Microsoft's site, or by automatic updates. Firewall Protection Windows SP2 comes with a firewall, so if you have not enabled it, you should do so. Whenever a program that it doesn't recognize tries to access your computer, a box will pop up to ask for your permission to allow the program to run. A firewall is one of the best things to keep your computer safe and secure. You can also find free firewall software by doing and internet search

Un-installing Software and Applications

Whenever you install applications on your computer, the registry will make a log. Over time, this can slow your computer down. Many programs come with un-install processes, but whenever possible, remove the program from the Add or Remove Progams from the control panel. Consider using a registry cleaner to clean your registry, but be very careful. If you delete the wrong files or processes, you can damage your computer, and maybe render it useless!
Try to make a habit of following these procedures, and your computer should run faster and be more secure. Also, Microsoft has a program called One Care Live, which will check for viruses, remove unnecessary files, defrag your hard drive, and give your computer a tune-up.

Just Starting out on Computers? This Article is for You!


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