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5 Golden Computer Rules to Live by

If you follow the 5 golden computer rules below, you'll find sailing along on your computer is much smoother when you sit down at the keyboard.

Golden Rule1. Back up your data. This is No. 1 for a reason. If your hard drive crashes and you lose your stuff, you'll be pulling your hair. Hard drives are much more reliable than in the old days but bad things still happen.

Windows includes backup software. Or you can just simply copy your files to an external device. You only need to back up your personal data (documents, music, pictures, videos, favorites, and any files or folders you have saved on your desktop).

There isn't much point in backing up to your main hard drive. If it fails, it will take the backup with it. The safest medium is something you can remove such as an external hard drive or a flash drive. Backing up to a CD or DVD isn't a good idea because these can deteriorate over time and become useless. The best type of backup is an online, off-site backup service.

Golden Rule2. Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software. There isn't really any reason why you should pay for Internet security. There are some excellent ones out there that are free and some are highly rated by Consumer Reports.

Also make certain that you have a firewall. The purpose of a firewall is to keep your computer invisible to hackers. If you use a broadband connection to the Internet, and just about everyone today does, you're at great risk without a firewall. It really isn't necessary to install a third party firewall anymore since Microsoft has made great improvements to theirs.

Warning! Never have more than one anti-virus program or firewall running on a computer. They conflict with each other and will cause a computer to behave unpredictably. The exception to this rule is that Windows 10 includes its own Internet security program called, Defender. Defender has been designed to co-exist with other Internet security programs so having more than one on a Windows 10 computer is perfectly OK. But still need to have only one firewall on a Windows 10 computer.

Golden Rule3. Never open attachments you weren't expecting or forwarded emails. I don't care if the email came from granny. She may well have not sent the attachment and she certainly didn't create the email if it was forwarded. Attachments from unknown sources are quite possibly a virus. A self-replicating virus could pick up your granny's address in someone else's address book, and use it as the return address. Or, it could infect her computer and e-mail itself to you. Either way, your anti virus software should catch the virus. But why take the chance?

Golden Rule4. Sign up for broadband, if it is offered in your area. If you're older, you remember the switch from black and white TV to color. Take it from me, broadband will give you the same feeling. The slowest broadband is five or six times faster than dial-up. True, it's more expensive. But sometimes you can get a deal. Besides, the cost is worth it. Once you get a taste of broadband, you'll never go back.

Golden Rule5. Don't forward the lame jokes or virus warnings that circulate on the Internet. In fact, don't forward anything unless the forward was created by someone you know and trust. PERIOD!!!


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