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Simple tips to help you get the most from your computer

Discussion in 'Windows Tools & Tips' started by Jeanh, Aug 17, 2015.

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    Make sure your personal information is secure
    The Internet can sometimes resemble a digital wild west given the number of viruses out there and the ever constant threat of scams such as sneaky phishing attempts. But it is a safe place as long as you know what you are doing. The golden rule is to make sure that you use strong passwords and never give out your personal information to anyone, even if it’s an organisation you regularly do business with. It’s a common trick used by hackers to masquerade as a bank or an organisation you know.

    The strongest passwords are those that combine symbols, numbers and both upper and lower case letters. This is an example: 1?G\4U.*$486wKW. You might even want to use a Please or Register to view links. Tough to ©râck passwords might be a pain to remember but they will keep you secure. Also don’t be tricked into clicking on links that appear in random emails. They often contain malware that is designed to steal your personal data. You can avoid these by using Please or Register to view links that will flag up suspicious links.

    Remove personal information from photos
    This isn’t mandatory but it is good practice. Cameras built into iPhone and Android phones will also store your GPS location by default. A hacker who know what they are doing can use this information to identify your home address. You might not think you would be the target of such a hack but if there is a chance that it might happen, it’s good to learn this little trick.

    Windows has the ability to remove this embedded information. Simply select a photo or group of photos in Windows Explorer, right-click on them, and click on Properties. Under the Details tab, you’ll find a link that says ‘Remove Properties and Personal Information. Click that, and then OK in the window that comes up. You’ll notice that you’ll have a copy of each photo in that same folder. The copied photos will be the one with clean data, which are safe to share with your friends on Twitter, Facebook, or other places on the web.

    If you use a Mac, go to Please or Register to view links and follow the instructions. It offers advice on software downloads designed to remove the metadata from your photos.

    Use open public Wi-Fi networks with caution
    Public Wi-Fi networks are really useful. You can kick back in coffees shop, hotel foyer, airport lounge and catch up on things. But, data sent through public Wi-Fi networks can easily be intercepted. This needs holding in mind the next time you’re on one. As a result, avoid logging into websites where your ID information is, for instance, an online bank account and even social networking services because this information is real easy for hackers to scoop up. Rather use websites that don’t reveal anything about you – after all you’re not in that coffee shop forever. If you need to access a site with passwords or that contain personal information switch from your laptop to a smartphone, turn off the Wi-Fi connectivity and use the phone’s 3G or 4G connectivity. For a detailed guide on how to stay safe on public Wi-Fi networks Please or Register to view links.

    Learn how to track your device if it goes missing
    Today’s smartphones, tablets and laptops have more computing power than past Apollo space missions. And if they go missing we tend to be bereft, all that information, data, photos and so on. If you own an iPhone there’s an easy-to-use feature called Find My iPhone that’ll help you track it if it goes missing. If you own an Android device, Please or Register to view links has a number of features to help you track your smartphone or tablet. It includes a GPS locator and a helpful little ‘scream’ function that emits a piercing shriek. You can also lock down your device so the data is safe or if you prefer you can wipe all the data too. If you use a laptop and want to protect it, Please or Register to view links that does a good job and is easy to set up and use.

    Maintain your computer so it always runs at peak performance
    Always apply the latest Windows updates to your computer. This usually happens automatically when you turn off or boot the computer. But if you interrupt the process it won’t happen. Updates keep your computer safe and stable. Also run good antivirus software and one that features safe browsing – remember Windows is the world’s most popular operating systems and as such hackers are always searching for vulnerabilities and unfortunately they often find them. You should clean up your computer periodically from the many temporary files that will often clutter up your hard drive. There is Please or Register to view links that will do this for you and you might be surprised at the performance gains. Also uninstall programmes you are no longer using from the Windows’ Add/Remove box. This will help the boot up process become faster and make sure your computer runs smoother.

    Back it up
    Backing up is one of those things we know we should do but also keep putting off. Ironically it only takes a few minutes to do if you’re backing up to an external drive. But God forbid should your home go down in an inferno or some burglar busts his way in and makes off with all your computer equipment, you would be in trouble. Losing all your data, documents, pictures, videos and music is not fun and that’s an understatement. If you sign up to an Please or Register to view links you can get everything back with one simple click and what’s more access all of your data irrespective of where you are in the world. These services are low cost and enable automated backups so once you’ve set it up, it just does its thing.

    Access your computer from anywhere
    Computers have radically changed the way we work and communicate. What would we do today without them? But we could do even more if could access them remotely – from anywhere. Remote access is already a de facto way doing things for many organisations especially bug business. But there’s nothing to stop the average home user from doing the same thing. There are many different programmes out there that enable you to do this and each have their own strengths and weaknesses. In fact, it’s quite a complex area with different software for different operating systems and devices.

    But one of the simplest and easiest to use is Please or Register to view links. In fact, it’s so popular it’s used worldwide and we’ve seen small businesses use it as a tool to communicate with employees 6,000 miles away. It’s very easy to set up and use and as long as you leave it running in the background on your computer when you leave the house you will be able to access your computer just as if you were at home. You can also share screens with other people who are running Team Viewer, so you can see their screen and vice versa.

    Sharing files
    It’s really useful to be able to share files between computers rather than using standard email which often limits the size of files you can share. There are file sharing services available such as Please or Register to view links which have built a business out of this and this and others are certainly practical and useful. But you can also share files in Windows machines by creating a temporary ad-hoc network. Please or Register to view links from Microsoft provides an easy step through guide on how to share large files between Windows 7 users. While this Please or Register to view links provides the same information across a number of different operating systems though it is slightly dated in that it gives information on XP and the XP operating system is quickly fading out. That said, there’s a lot of information on the internet for file sharing on different operating systems, you just need to search ‘file sharing’ for the operating system of choice.

    Stay safe, stay secure!
     
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