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We are all guilty of not keeping our PC as safe as it should be: Here are a few tips to help keep yours free from viruses and crashes.
Number One: Be Smart About Downloads
Be smart about what you download. Being safe online is not only about watching who you give your credit card or address to, but also what programs you download and the source from which you download them. When you google search for a program, the official manufacturer's site is not always the first result. Downloading programs from unverified sites can cause a virus or malware to make its way onto your computer, or worse, so be safe and take an extra minute or two to verify that who you are getting the program from is really the original producer.
Another way that programs can hitch a ride on to your machine is through other programs. When you install a program, you might notice the pre-checked boxes that install other programs in addition to the one you want. Unchecky is a great program to help keep unwanted software from finding its way on to your machine.
Number Two: Check Your Virus Protection
Make sure that your virus and malware protection is functioning. When you buy a new PC, most of the time it comes with what is referred to as "bloatware." Bloatware is software that is pre-installed on a system before it hits the shelf by the manufacturer. This software comes from software producer signing deals with the PC manufacturer, and most of the time, the programs should be removed. But let's get back to the issue at hand. More often than not, a virus protection program is part of the bloatware. What's wrong with that? The virus protection software is set to run a trial of the premium level of protection. After the trial expires, you are no longer protected, which you may have seen with Norton or McAfee popups that warn you that the trial has expired. Most people ignore this warning and carry on as normal. Don't be one of those people. Make sure that your PC has some kind of virus protection.
Number Three: Back Up, Back Up, Back Up
Keeping back-ups of your files can be a great way to keep data safe in the event of a full system failure. You can get an external hard drive from most office supply stores, or you can order one online. There are many different types of drives, so do your research. Some require wall power, and some can power through your PC, so be sure to get a drive that has enough space to fit everything that you wish to save. This could save you from having to get a second external drive.
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