Practice Defensive Computing

Today’s tip is really simple: PRACTICE DEFENSIVE COMPUTING

1. Anti virus software can be great. It can give you a great visualization as to the threats on your computer. Some anti-virus programs will even interact with your browser to give you advanced warning on dangerous websites. However, do not place ultimate faith in your anti-virus. Anti-virus is not an excuse for bad decision making.

2. Don’t install anything you didn’t go looking for first. Microsoft Windows updates, Mac OS updates, Firefox, iTunes, and Chrome updates all happen in the background (most of the time) and are not updates that should be viewed with skepticism. However, when you get updates for other 3rd party programs — view those notifications critically. They may be fake. I am not telling you DON’T UPDATE ANYTHING. I am stressing exactly the opposite message. You need to keep everything that you regularly use updated. If you have really simple needs — then it is imperative to keep as few applications as possible that require YOUR INTERACTION for updating. If you get a pop up that notifies you to update a piece of software other than the "standards" that I listed above — cancel out of it if you are unsure. Your responsibility does not stop there. Please go to the website for that piece of software and verify if there really is an update. Download and install that update if available for your system.

3. It’s really important to remove unused applications that have not used in a long time (years) and will never use again. These programs likely have not been updated. These programs can cause compatibility issues and even stop your system from working. Stale applications may also allow for security issues.
On a Mac >> Go to the Applications folder >> You can drag any unwanted applications to the Trash
On Windows 10 >> Go to Settings >> Apps & Features >> A list of installed application populates below >> Click on the name of an unwanted application > Click Uninstall >> Follow the process
On Windows 7 & 8.1 >> Go to Control Panel >> Programs and Features >> A list of your installed applications will appear >> Click on the name of an unwanted application >> Click Uninstall >> Follow the process
*Key note: On both the Mac OS and in Windows: There are default applications that cannot be removed.

4. Final point for today: I know a lot of my clients are getting older. Keeping track of all of these updates can be extremely frustrating. The one simple solution to all of this is using a Chromebox (desktop) or Chromebook (laptop). These are simple computers that cost between $300 and $500. They do not run Windows or Mac. They run Google’s Chrome operating system. Chrome devices are self updating and if they need to be reset, they can be reset in 5 minutes.
*Update: My advocacy for Chromebooks and Chromeboxes is nothing new, but there has been an encouraging development as of late. A New York based company now makes software available to convert an existing (generally Windows based) computer into a Chrome based device. There is no cost for the software. I think if you are frustrated by maintaining your computer — you should consider this solution. Your computer tutor / consulting can gladly help with this.