You don't have to be a technical expert to play an important role in maintaining the health and well-being of your computer. This page provides you with a game plan for personal computer maintenance. Our suggested methods of secure computing include:
Microsoft Windows Updates
Windows Update is a Microsoft service that provides updates for the Microsoft Windows operating system and its installed components. An optional feature provides updates for other Microsoft Windows software, such as Microsoft Office. Windows Update provides your PC with security updates, drivers, service packs, and feature updates. You can turn on Automatic Updates to continuously check for downloads and automatically install updates.
An anti-virus application is designed to defend your computer against malicious software, or malware. Malware can include viruses, worms, Trojans, hijackers, dialers, and other code-based intrusions that vandalize or steal your computer's contents. To be effective your antivirus software needs to run in the background at all times, and should be kept updated to recognize new versions of malicious software. Most personal computers are sold with an anti-virus application pre-installed. Take a moment to investigate your anti-virus software and discover how to perform manual or automatic updates.
Spyware is a type of unwanted software that is installed on a computer without an owner's knowledge. Spyware tracks personal or sensitive information, such as internet surfing habits and frequently visited web sites. Spyware interferes with your ability to control your computer by adding unwanted components to your browser, redirecting web browser activity, changing your internet homepage and changing computer settings, often resulting in slow connection speeds and a loss of Internet or program functionality.
Most computers do not have anti-spyware software installed on them when they are purchased. It is advisable to install an anti-spyware program and update it regularly. Recommended, and free, anti-spyware programs include MalwareBytes, Ad-Aware and Spybot.
If your computer is running more slowly than normal or is taking longer to execute basic processes, it may be experiencing registry errors from unnecessary or corrupt registry files. A computer registry is a database that stores settings and options for your computer?s operating system. It contains information on the computer?s hardware, its operating system software, most non-operating system software and your personal settings. Errors in your computer?s registry may be caused by installing and removing software, online purchasing, peer-to-peer file exchange and participation in online games. The registry is the central record keeper of your system, and if this record keeper gets damaged in any way, your whole system is affected.
A registry cleaner is a software utility that removes redundant or unwanted items from the computer?s registry. A registry cleaner scans the registry and targets unnecessary items in order to delete or repair them. An average user should use a registry cleaner every six months to maintain optimal performance. Recommended, and free, registry cleaner utilities include RegSeeker and Abexo.