For many people, owning a computer is similar to owning a car. If you’re already scratching your head and thinking “how so?” here’s an explanation of the similarities.
Millions of people own cars, but millions of car owners have no clue about how their car works. If you own a car, you probably know how to drive it very well. You know you need to fill the tank with gas. You know you need to take it for regular servicing, but maybe that’s all you know. Why? Because that’s all you need to know.
Now, let’s get back to the subject of computers. Millions of us own those too (probably more of us own computers than cars). If you own a computer, you probably know how to navigate your way around your programs and files. You know you need to keep it plugged into the mains or charge the battery. You probably know if it’s a Windows computer or an Apple, but that could well be all you know. Why? Because that’s all you need to know.
We Leave It to the Experts
Those of us who aren’t DIY car mechanics or computer nerds rely on experts to advise us if we ever need help with more than the basics. If our cars break down, we take them for repair, if we have a problem with our PCs or laptops we take them for computer repair.
At this point, all the DIY car mechanics and computer nerds reading this article are smiling wryly. Why? Because they know that the rest of us probably spend a lot of money on computer repairs and car repairs, while their home grown expertise saves them money.
A little knowledge goes a long way though. This article won’t turn you into a computer nerd overnight, but it will clue you in on a few tips that will save you money on computer repairs. Prevention is better than cure and, just as there are ways to keep your car running well (topping up the oil, taking it for service, putting the right fuel in it), so there are ways to save your PC or Apple Mac from expensive computer repair.
4 Ways to Avoid Computer Repair
The following simple tips will help to keep your computer safe from many of the problems which can result in the need for computer repair. You won’t need any special expertise to follow these hints, as long as you know how to download something from the internet or install software from a CD. These tips will also help to keep your computer files free from damage and corruption, which would otherwise result in data recovery expenses.
1. Make Sure You Have Anti-Virus Software Installed
If your computer already has an anti-virus program installed, make sure it’s activated and never turn it off. If you don’t have it, then go out and buy some anti-virus software or search the internet for a free application to download. A number of the free anti-virus programs available online are very good and will adequately protect your computer from viruses. Remember too, that you need to regularly update your anti-virus software for it to remain effective.
New viruses are always appearing and are one of the most common causes of damage to computer software and files. A good anti-virus program will save you from computer repair and data recovery costs resulting from a virus attack.
2. Invest in a Surge Protector
Power surges are another factor which can result in sufficient damage to require a computer repair. No household is safe from occasional power surges and just three or four nanoseconds of increased voltage are enough to damage components in your computer. A surge protector carries those bursts of excess voltage safely to earth. You only need to plug the surge protector into a mains power outlet and keep your computer plugged into the surge protector. Investing a few dollars in one of these devices will potentially save you a lot of computer repair expense.
3. Install or Activate a Firewall
If you have a computer running Microsoft Windows, the chances are you have the Windows firewall already installed. All you need to do is make sure it’s switched on. You can check the firewall status in your Windows control panel. Mac computers also have built in firewalls which you should ensure are activated.
By combining an active firewall with anti-virus software, you pretty much lock down your computer against viruses and attacks from hackers attempting to access private information. While the firewalls bundled in Apple and Windows operating systems are capable of protecting your computer, there are also third party firewalls available (both chargeable and free) which provide more than the basic features of packaged software. Don’t forget too, that if you do ever need a computer repair, to check that your firewall has been activated when you get your computer back.
4. Don’t Open Email from Anyone You Don’t Know
One way that attackers try to get malicious software into your computer is by way of email. Most of us receive high volumes of junk email, it’s hard to avoid. Malicious emails though, will often appear very innocuous and are usually disguised as something you will feel the need to read. If you don’t know and trust the sender of an email, just delete it and empty your deleted mail folder.
Many people think there’s no harm in just opening a mail. The truth is, harm can come to your computer if you open one of these mails, even if you don’t click on any links or download any attachments. Be safe, not sorry and delete right away. One click on the wrong email header and you could be heading for expensive data recovery and computer repair costs.
If the Worst Should Happen
There are many other ways to help prevent your computer from needing repair, but the four tips above serve as an entrée. More will be revealed in future articles. In the meantime, if the worst should happen and you do require a computer repair, be sure to take it to an honest, trusted and reliable professional.
If you’re in the New Jersey area, anyone who has dealt with Dave’s Computers can attest to the honesty and professionalism inherent in their service. To arrange for a quotation, give Dave or his staff a call on 908-428-9558.
by David Molnar