Answers to common questions

 

Email

Some simple tips
Use antivirus software. Keep it up to date. Scan regularly.
Consider using alternative web browser and email software
If your computer becomes unstable or unresponsive, restart it.
Ensure your operating system is patched to avoid security flaws
If a web site prompts you to download great programs for free, be wary

Often software that professes to remove virus' or spyware actually is virus' or spyware

Supervise your kids as best you can. They can trash a system in minutes
When storms are imminent unplug the power & phone line from your modem/computer
Beware of attachments in your email. Do not open them unless 100% sure they are legit
Never use the "Unsubscribe" feature of spam emails or reply to spam mails
If you get hit by a virus then the most important rule is: DON'T PANIC
   

Spyware & Virus'

My system is very slow to respond.  It used to be faster than this!

Check for virus or Spyware infection.  Get enough Spyware in a modern computer and  its will run like an old 486.  Use Antivirus software. Update it. Antivirus is only as good as its last update. If the reference code for new virus isn't present its much harder to detect. Scan regularly.

Remove as much Spyware as possible via the add/remove programs control panel. You can do this by searching then net for reference to Spyware and the program name.  (For example in Google: hotbar Spyware) In most cases the Spyware will make itself hard to uninstall, sometimes crashing or just not responding.

Install the antispyware tools from my downloads page. Update and run them. Beware of bogus Spyware removal software.  In some cases programs that offer to remove Spyware actually load more in.

Just be aware that if you don't know what you are doing, you can damage Internet Explorer enough to stop it browsing. Spyware hooks itself so deeply into windows that it breaks code on removal. In some cases if a system is to heavily infected, It will be necessary to  reformat & reinstall Windows. 

The time involved in removing Spyware correctly is often a false economy.  It can speed up your system, but leftovers of poorly coded Spyware applications can leave your system unstable.  Some Spyware like Cool Web Search act more like a Trojan and are almost impossible to remove.

SPAM

Never reply to spam
If a spammer receives a response from you, they know that an actual person has received it - so they know you'll read it next time too.                 

Don't follow any links
Don't be tempted by the links in spam, no matter how good the offer is. Often the links will do more than just show you the page - they'll validate your email address for spammers so they know they can send you more in the future. Or even worse, you might be the target of a phishing attempt or tricked into downloading malware.

 
Protect your email address
You should never give your email address out to a person or company that you donít know or trust. When providing your email address, always read their privacy information to find out how your details will be stored and safeguarded.
Approach forums, message boards and newsgroups with caution
Make a point of never including your real email address in messages that you post on forums or message boards. Your email address is an open invitation for spammers to add it to their list.
Donít publish your address on a website
If you have a website and you want people to be able to email you from it, provide your email address as an image or a button Ė never as text. Spammers have programs that crawl through pages and pages searching for email addresses to add to their lists.
Consider using a spam filter
Spam filters can help eradicate junk email before it reaches your inbox, saving you time and helping eliminate any breach of your security.

Maintenance

My computer is making strange noises and runs hot!

Ensure your computer case can circulate cool air. If the fan ports are clogged use a small paintbrush to de-dust them. Same goes for heatsinks. I don't recommend using a compressor as the pressure can damage sensitive components. Vacuum cleaners can be risky as well, due to a build up of static electricity caused by rushing air. Static discharge can kill components instantly.

If you hear grinding or whirring noises louder than usual, be aware that it can indicate imminent CPU fan failure. If the CPU fan fails the "brain" of the computer can overheat to the point of destruction. Often an expensive item to replace, and some times hard to find. Have your fans checked if they start to buzz or rattle. Fans are relatively cheap.

Regular and distinct ticking noises can sometimes be a sign of imminent Hard Drive failure.  If the Hard Drive fails mechanically the chances of data recovery are usually nil. This is one noise you should never ignore. What is your data worth to you?

 

 

 

 
     copyright 2005, Macleay Computer Services  

             Modified on: 7/8/2007