No matter how much you’re technologically conscious, there are certain things that everyone who has a computer should deal with.
However, we don’t do it all in the most effective ways.
Here are 10 things that anyone can (and should) learn so that her or his computer still can be fast, safe and easy to use.
Maybe some things you already know, but if you’re an advanced user you can still forward this article to other friends which are terrified about any problems that may occur on their computer.
After all, more they know, the less you’ll be called to the rescue ;).
10. Set up a simple “backup” system
We all know that we have a reliable “back up” the data on our computers, but it’s still one of those things that we’ll take care of “someday”.
Setting a “backup” takes a few minutes. If you “backup” data to an external hard drive, you can use simple tools that are on your computer, such as Windows Backup or Apple’s Time Machine.
If your computer crashes, it’s the only sure way to recover your data.
In case your house or flat burns down where you have that external hard drive, or you got it stolen or simply you forget where you have put it, again you will lose data.
So you can use services such as Crash Plan to “backup” your computer online.
In this case, no matter what happens to your hardware and no matter where you are, you’ll still get your data back.
9. Speed things up by using shortcuts
One of the most interesting facts about computers is that they can do a plenty of things much faster than humans.
Say you’re looking for a particular word on a Web page. Rather than a full page scan and squint into long rows of letters, simply click Ctrl + F and type the word you are looking for.
There are lots of shortcuts like this.
For example, clicking the Ctrl + S to save the file you are currently working on. Ctrl + P to print command, and Ctrl + T is the command to open a new “tab” in the web browser.
At first it might seem a little bit complicated pressing more keys at a time, but after a few times you’ll wonder why you were using the mouse for such simple operations.
8. Protect yourself from viruses
Windows users have long known what kind of pain can cause viruses and other malicious softwares on the Internet.
However, the good news is that these pests are easy to avoid.
For a start it’s recommended that you learn the difference between viruses, trojans and other types of attacks, as well as something about the myths about them.
Then, install a good antivirus software to protect themselves (ex. Microsoft Security Essentials is solid one).
You can even get antivirus software for your smartphone, however, in the end, the best way to avoid viruses is to use your common sense.
That means, do not open the links that look suspicious, do not install programs from untrusted sources, and if there is a window that tells you that your computer is infected, make sure it comes from your antivirus software, and not from a fake web page.
7. Setting up a network (and solving Wi-Fi problems)
Understanding routers, modems, and other things that contribute to everything related to the network, looks scary and complicated, but it’s not that hard.
There are a few basic things you can do, and that will solve most of the problems you have with home networks.
Does your router constantly need to be “reseted”? Are you satisfied with the speed of your Wi-Fi connection?
Don’t forget that you need to find the perfect place for your router. So, although it looks ugly, don’t hide it behind your TV.
Routers should have open space around them, without walls and other obstacles. They should be located in the middle of the apartment (house) so that in all parts of the home you have an even signal.
Also, neighbor routers can interfere with your signal. Wireless routers can operate on several different channels.
To find the channel with less interference, you can use tools such as Wi-Fi Stumbler or Wi-Fi Analyzer to find the ideal channel in your home.
To avoid interference, also remove all the other things that can cause such as wireless telephones, microwave ovens, etc.
Using WPA password is a must so you don’t end up “stealed” by other people network.
6. Allow batteries to last longer
If the battery runs out on your phone or on your laptop it can be quite frustrating, but fortunately, you can do a lot of things to make the battery last longer.
Your laptop has a lot of built-in settings that concern the power with which you can play, and there are a few tricks for the Android and the iPhone, which will allow some extra time of your battery.
Instead of waiting until the end of discharge, lithium-ion batteries work best when they are a little empty. For a longer life of your battery it’s better if you discharge it when it’s charged some 50%.
Also, lithium-ion batteries don’t need to be 100% charged all the time. Better to stick to the rules of 40% – 80%.
However, if you charge the battery up to 100%, don’t leave it connected to the cable, once the recharge is completed. This is something that most of us do, but with time this practice will significantly degrade the length of the battery.
You can fully discharge batteries once a month. Now maybe this sounds contradictory, but most modern batteries are called “smart batteries” and can indicate how much time remains before the battery runs out.
Therefore, most manufacturers advise to “calibrate” the battery.
And finally, keep the battery in a cool place because the heat is not only dangerous for your processor, but for your battery as well.
5. Access your home computer from anywhere
Have you ever gone out with your laptop and realize that you left something important on your computer at home?
One way to solve this problem is to use a service like Dropbox so your files go with you. However, it’s also nice to know how to use your home computer from anywhere.
With a simple application you can login to your home computer from another computer and use it as if you were sitting at your desk at home, whether you need a file that you forget or join a program that’s not on your laptop.
Windows users can use a multitude of options, and one of the best ones is the Remote Desktop Connection application that is built into Windows.
This will provide a high level of control and doesn’t require any additional software installation.
Hamachi is also a simple program with the help of which you will create a virtual private network (VPN) in a short time.
TeamViewer, UltraVNC, TightVNC (also available for Linux) are also tools for remote computer access.
As for the Mac, iCloud is available and you can also use the TimeViewer tool.
4. Keep your computer in top shape
Maintenance of computers in the last few years really have become confusing.
Between defragmenting, cleaning temporary files and other tasks, computer maintenance has almost become as hard as a car maintenance.
Fortunately, there are also some tools to help computer maintenance. You just need to do a few things to keep your computer running correctly.
One of the most important things is to install security patches on regular base. That will keep your Windows safe and stable.
Also, regularly clean the Temporary Files and carefully uninstall unnecessary programs (Add/Remove Programs from Windows is fine, but the program Revo Uninstaller is even better).
As for the Disk Defragmenter, Windows Vista and Windows 7 users don’t need to do this because the defragmenting is done automatically.
Also, don’t play too much with the Registry.
3. Share files between two computers
If you have some files you want to share with a friend who sits next to you, but your flash drive has mysteriously disappeared, here’s how you do it.
After all, even without it, it’s very easy to share files between two computers over a wireless (or wired) network.
In any case, you can use a memory stick. If not, use some of the publicly available services such as Dropbox.
For sharing across the network directly from computer to computer, first you need to configure Windows to the option.
Go to Control Panel, then Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center. Click on Change Advanced Sharing Settings and make sure that network discovery, file and printer sharing and “Public folder sharing” (the first three options) are turned-on.
Then you go down the list and turn off password protection and click the “Use user accounts and passwords to connect to other computers”.
This is the easiest way to connect with other computers.
If you share files across Macs, make sure that the Guest account is enabled on the Control Panel > User Accounts > Add or Remove User Accounts > Guest Account.
2. Easily locate your lost or stolen gadget
You never know when you might lose your phone, laptop or other gadget.
iPhone has a simple anti-theft system called “Find My iPhone” that will help you track the lost mobile.
However, there is another application called Prey.
With the help of this application you can track almost any notebook or smartphone that you’ve lost or have been stolen from you, and you can even get a photo of the person who uses it.
If you lack a camera, CameraTrace service can also help you to find it. Of course, one of the first tasks in such cases is to ensure that all your data on the gadget are locked.
1. Keep your personal informations safe
Unfortunately, the Internet isn’t always a safe place, which means everyone has to find a way to make his private data secure.
Make sure you use a strong password, remove personal information from your photos and other files, and never use open public Wi-Fi networks without protection.
More informations they have about you, the potential attacker will surprise you easier online.
So, use a strong password (long combination of numbers and upper and lower case), don’t use the same password for more than one service (for example, the same password for e-mail, Facebook and bank account), and regularly change passwords.
That’s the minimum you can do to keep your passwords secure.
In addition, when searching the Internet use the HTTPS protocol whenever possible, or wherever you share your private information with a service on the Internet.
When you’ve finished with one service (ex. Facebook) don’t just close the browser window, but be sure to log out.
With all this, it’s good to be familiar with viruses, Trojans and other malicious programs on the Internet.
Be suspicious about strange emails, don’t click on suspicious links, and don’t send your personal information to any site that doesn’t use HTTPS.