If you do nothing else with your computer, do these 5 things.

1. Learn where your files are
This is the most basic thing you can learn about your computer – where are my files? I regularly find clients who just don’t know – they click “save” and then they click “open” and if their stuff doesn’t pop right up, they call for help. Learn your file system, and you’ll be in control of your data!

2. Backup your files
Read the “Data Backup” page for detailed information on the subject, but nothing lasts forever – always keep two copies of your data: one on your computer, and one on a backup device. You should keep a backup copy “off-site” as well, in case of fire or flood. A safe deposit box, a desk drawer in your office, anywhere other than the building that houses your computer.

3. Use top virus protection
I like free as much as the next guy, but there are some really smart bad guys out there, and you need to keep your computer protected. Use one of the higher rated brand names for virus protection, and make sure it stays up-to-date. This will save you time, money, and stress! If you have a subscription and you get infected, don’t be afraid to call your Anti-Virus provider for help – most will provide some form of tech support to help you clean your computer and update your protection.

4. Don’t install gadgets.
Don’t download utilities and gadgets that claim to make your computer run faster. You can’t make an airplane go faster by adding more cargo, and your computer will not run faster with more stuff running. Most of these “free” utilities are just advertising machines, and they perform small, innocuous tasks that they report as “disinfections” or “cleanup”, but really aren’t significant.

5. Turn it off.
When you are not going to be using your computer for a long time, turn it off. If you haven’t turned it off in a few days, turn it off. You’ll save power, wear-and-tear on the hard drive and cooling fans, and you’ll empty out random access memory, allowing your computer to run faster. If your computer is off for a long time, be patient when you start it back up – your security software will need to download and install updates, and you will likely have other updaters running at startup. Give the computer a little more time to start up and you’ll find it runs much smoother.