How to maintain your computer to keep it running smoothly
Maintaining the health of your PC is critical to making sure it runs well and functions properly. Unfortunately, there are some threats that can damage your computer’s health. The major threats facing your computer are viruses, malware, ransom attacks, and damage from unreliable power and user behaviour.
Viruses pose a major threat to the health of your computer. When your PC gets infected by a virus (or viruses), its performance will start to decline. You will often notice your machine takes a long time to boot up and perform tasks. Your computer might start freezing up and crashing too. Also, some viruses are so severe that they can corrupt your operating system and even ruin your hard drive. Therefore, your PC must have anti-virus software to protect it from viruses.
Malware infections pose a little different threat than viruses. However, they can still cause similar problems for your PC’s performance. A lot of malware promotes advertisements (spam) to users when they go online. Unfortunately, if your computer gets infected with a lot of malware, its performance will slow down. Also, identity thieves create malware to steal personal information from your computer. For example, malware can record your usernames and passwords for things like online shopping and bank accounts. Luckily there are some precautions you can take to avoid malware infections. Make sure your anti-virus software includes protection from malware too. Don’t download free programs like games and screensavers unless your security software can verify that the programs are safe. Uninstall any programs that you didn’t install and weren’t included with your computer’s software.
Hackers create ransom viruses that can lock you out of your PC and keep you from accessing your data. The hacker will then charge you a fee (ransom) to unlock your system. However, many victims never recover their data, even after paying a ransom. Therefore, you should either use the Windows Firewall — or buy a security software that includes a firewall — which will help prevent ransom attacks from taking over your computer.
Unreliable power can threaten a computer’s performance. A power surge can destroy your PC’s hardware (power supply, motherboard and electrical components). A power surge can occur from a lightning strike around your home as well as from your electric company. A blackout, while your computer is running, can damage your computer’s hard drive. Also, brownouts (low-levels of electricity) can damage your PC while it’s running. Therefore, you should protect your computer from electrical problems by using a surge suppressor and an emergency backup power source.
The last major threat to a computer’s health is damage caused by the user. For example, if you force a shut down instead of properly shutting down your PC, you can damage the hard drive just like a power outage. Also, if you plugin or unplug devices while your PC is running, you can destroy the port’s electrical circuit – and possibly ruin the motherboard. If you are a smoker, don’t smoke near your computer, because its fan will suck in the smoke and eventually damage the electronic components on the motherboard. Never keep drinks near your PC because a spill will damage the electronic components.
In short, when your computer’s health becomes jeopardised, it starts to run slower, freeze up and even crash (blue screen). In fact, some threats are so severe that you will no longer be able to use your PC. You must maintain the health of your computer by using comprehensive security software that includes protection from virus and malware infections. Also, use a firewall to cut your risk of ransom attacks. Never plug your computer directly into an electrical outlet. Instead, use a surge suppressor and backup power supply to protect your PC from power surges and outages. Make sure that you don’t do anything that will damage your computer like smoking, forcing hard shutdowns, installing or removing external devices while the computer is running, or spilling drinks on the computer. By taking those precautions, you can decrease the major threats to the health of your PC.