Good computer housekeeping will prevent many types of disaster. The two most important rules are:
- Keep your Windows up-to-date and
- Use protection
If you use your PC online – i.e. you connect to the internet, then like it or not, you are potentially under constant threat of viruses and malware that can render your PC useless without warning. Microsoft keeps adding fixes and patches to cover potential vulnerabilities as and when they are discovered. Keeping your PC up-to-date means making sure you select the option in settings to have Windows automatically download and install all updates.
Every two or three years Microsoft bring out a new version of Windows (currently Version 10). There is usually a compatibility check program you can run to make sure that this will work with your machine. I have to say that this is not always 100% fool-proof. So be aware that major upgrades can be the cause of a major disaster. Before carrying out a such an upgrade make doubly sure you have a disaster recovery file and up-to-date backups.
Do not use Windows unsupported versions. Both Windows XP and Vista are out of support and should not be used anywhere near the internet. These are easy targets for hackers and it is not only bad for you but such machines can be used as hosts for malware that then go on to attack other machines on the internet network. Once your PC is of a certain age where it can no longer run current versions it’s time to retire it and get a new one.
Protection means using both a reputable and up-to-date anti-virus program along with an anti-malware program. Some are better than others but all are better than none. Note – never use more than one of each of these type of programs as they may interfere with each other and can dramatically impair performance.
Again, most of these programs have an automatic update facility which should be kept on. Note – most AV and Malware programs require a current subscription. If you let this expire you may become exposed to threats that cannot be detected by outdated versions.