5 Tips for a Fast, Reliable, and Secure Computing Experience
1) Get a Solid State Drive
Many computers today are being held back by the use of a conventional hard drive. Replacing your hard drive with a solid state drive can breathe new life into your computer and unlock the potential speed that was being hobbled. Use cloning software to maintain all your programs, settings, and data.
2) Keep your system up to date
DON’T IGNORE UPDATES. They are important. Every day there are new vulnerabilities found in software. Hackers can exploit these vulnerabilities to access your data or take control of your computer. Keeping your computer up-to-date helps keep these it secure. Update Windows once a week. Also regularly check for updates to Java, Flash, Adobe Reader, and your web browser (Chrome, Firefox). Macs need these software updates as well. Don’t assume you are immune just because you use a Mac.
3) Avoid 3rd party “optimization” software
There are thousands of programs on the internet that will promise you a lightning fast computer….just DOWNLOAD NOW!
Don’t download now. It won’t help. Best-case scenario, the program will tell you some useless information and try to get you to buy the “Pro” version to clean your computer up. Worst-case scenario, you just downloaded a virus that gave hackers access to your system. There are extremely few 3rd party tools that actually do any good, and even those are not usually worth messing with. Windows itself does a pretty decent job keeping your computer maintained. You just need to keep it up to date, as mentioned above, and avoid installing programs from unknown or “Googled” sources.
4) Get a good router
Internet speeds are influenced by a lot of factors, but many people don’t realize how much their performance is being affected by the router they have installed. I often find a person paying for internet speeds that their router cannot support. I also often find people using a low-quality router when they are having problems connecting to WiFi at home or streaming to their Smart TV or media device. There are some really nice routers out there, but before you spend $300 on one, make sure it is really what you need. If you stick in the $60-$100 range, you will get the best bang for your buck.
5) Backup, Backup, Backup
Need I say more? I will anyway.
Data loss is not a matter of if, but when. If you are still using a hard drive in your computer (instead of a solid state drive), your computer is just a ticking time bomb. All hard drives fail and sometimes they fail in such a way that all your data is lost. But even solid state drives need to be backed up. Don’t procrastinate getting a backup solution, and NO, a flash drive that you keep in your pocket is NOT backup (my wife has washed mine many times). Also NO, Dropbox is NOT backup. You need a true backup solution like CrashPlan. For best results, backup to multiple destinations (the Cloud and an external hard drive). I even backup my backup. You just can’t be too careful.
For individuals, the most devastating data loss is typically pictures. All other data can be reconstructed or replaced, no matter how much time or pain it takes. Pictures cannot be retaken. For businesses, data loss can be a catastrophic scenario. I once was called to a dentist office that had completely lost their entire patient database and dental records. They had no backup setup. Their discussion quickly turned to retirement. I also once went to an accountant that had a devastating CryptoLocker virus that destroyed all the data on their server. Fortunately, they had a backup that had been correctly configured and we were able to get them back up and running within a couple hours. Please backup your data. Get a professional to verify it is backed up correctly and securely.