Your computer is likely one of your most important possessions even when you don’t realize how much you depend on it until it malfunctions. Whether you use it for work or for play, from time to time, you will find yourself looking for someone to repair your computer. The frequency of such visits to the local computer repair shop can be drastically reduced if you take certain easy precautions.
A computer breakdown can be a devastating experience, especially if you lack the understanding or skills needed to fix the problem. If you are well-informed about computers, these issues will not seem too daunting to address. The problem is that too many people, even seemingly experienced computer users (the I’ve-been-using-computers-since-1995 type) hold misleading ideas about good computer maintenance practices.
I know some people have favorite misconceptions that they cling to. Be it ‘Drinking Beer Causes Belly Fat’ or ‘Bats are Blind’ or ‘Drinking Alcohol Will Keep You Warm’, or perhaps that fresh misconception forming in your brain right now that ‘this author must be a tippler’, misconceptions are generally hard to change. To guide you on this whole computer maintenance business, I’ve put together a few misconceptions you must abandon if you are to make the best use of your computer.
#1: My computer does not need maintenance because it is working fine right now
This right here is the commonest misconception that most computer users fall victim to. Bear in mind that computers are just like cars. If you don’t regularly service your car, change the oil and oil filter, and carry out other maintenance tasks, it will break down someday and force you to spend more on repair than you would on maintenance. Lack of system maintenance is the major cause of system crashes and the consequent loss of valuable files.
To prevent from incurring huge repair bills, computer maintenance should be done daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly. Daily system maintenance routines include updating antivirus software, updating operating system, and installing security patches. Weekly computer maintenance regime will include full system malware scan and system backups; while monthly or quarterly ones include hard disk drive integrity tests, memory tests, disk defragmentation, and so on.
Your computer repair guy should offer to help you automate certain maintenance tasks like virus definition updates and system backups. If they don’t offer you these services, you need to find someone else because they are either inexperienced or gaining from your computer problems.
#2: My cousin is a computer wizard and can solve this problem.
Another very common misconception. Being good with computer applications does not translate to knowing how to tweak the registry or being able to debug kernel (like during a “Blue Screen of Death” system crash in Microsoft Windows). Frequently, customers walk into our computer repair shop in Uyo with a sorry-looking friend, relative, or neighbor who was only trying to assist.
If someone does not repair and support computers for a living, it is highly unlikely that he can help you as technology is fast advancing and constant learning and practice is required to master it. And importantly, in technology, incomplete knowledge about how systems work always poses a threat; your part-time computer guru probably only knows enough about computers to be dangerous.
#3: My computer is virus-proof – I have an antivirus program installed
Many computer users believe that just because they have an antivirus software installed on their system, no virus can break in. We can sympathize with those who make this error, especially newer users – after all, the name antivirus itself suggests it is virus-proof and every last one of them markets itself as having the final say on exterminating viruses.
The fact there is that these antivirus programs are good at protecting against viruses that exist already and are captured in their virus definition databases. But they cannot stay ahead of the game one hundred percent of the time. There are viruses that exist right now that didn’t exist when you began to read this guide and such viruses may elude your antivirus software and attack your system.
New viruses are released every day and it takes time for antivirus companies to analyze these new threats and programme a defense against them. During this interval you are vulnerable to these new viruses which typically attack and disable your antivirus thereby opening you to all the older bad guys floating all over the internet. Your best line of defense, however, remains keeping your anti-virus software up to date at all times and exercising caution when using the internet or external storage devices.
#4: Formatting always removes all the viruses
In addition to erasing data, damaging or hijacking your computer and stealing your information, viruses can actually write themselves into the boot sequence of your computer.
Called boot sector virus, these sneaky little nasties mean you no good, putting their own codes and commands into your computer’s boot sector, loading onto the computer every time it starts, and eventually spreading to other readable disks. Booting issues and start-up problems, an unstable system, hard drive errors, and many more issues may arise when a computer is infected. In this instance, simply formatting and reinstalling the operating system may leave the virus to continue its evil ways.
A way out, completely reinstalling the boot sequence in the hardware, requires an advanced understanding of computers, and because of this, most folks usually contract a professional computer technician to repair the damage.
#5: Every malicious program is a virus
The moment your computer starts acting funny and won’t let you work smoothly, the first thing that comes to your mind is “Yay, I’ve caught a virus!” Many PC users consider every type of malware a “virus”, whether virus, spyware, adware, worm, Trojan, rootkit, backdoor, scareware, ransomeware, etc. Although all these infections harm our computers, either attacking the computer programs and files or a user’s confidential data, they are not the same and behave quite differently.
The generic name for these hostile and intrusive programs is malware (combination of the words “malicious” and “software”). It helps to know, at least a little, about these digital parasites and how they work in order to be better equipped to outsmart them.
These are some of the commonest misconceptions every computer user should be wary of. Your computer is doomed if you ignore them – so do so at your own peril. If you are already a victim, you will do well to undertake a bit of research, comparing services, and sounding out satisfied customers before choosing a computer repair technician.
Do you know of any other rampant computer maintenance misconceptions? Have you had a related experience? Feel free to mention them in the comments section below. Compute. At ease!