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New year resolutions for your computer

CLICK AND HACKspecial to the daily

The holidays are over, and it’s time to once again set those New Year’s resolutions. In addition to the usuals, we suggest you consider a few things to keep your computer and data in order in 2006. The following are six resolutions you might want to add to your list:n Install anti-virus software and keep it up to date. We feel a bit like a broken record talking about anti-virus software yet again, but we can’t emphasize enough the importance of using a good preventative program such as Norton or McAfee. Also, remember, it’s not enough to simply install the application, be sure to set it to run updates automatically. n Perform or schedule a semi-annual computer tune-up. This is a measure most people don’t undertake but should. Whether you do it yourself or contact professionals such as ourselves, semi-regular tune-ups keep your system running at peak performance. A thorough tune-up should include a scan for viruses, virus/spyware/adware removal, checkdisc and defrag, installation of critical updates and removal of temporary files.n Remove the dust. It’s been at least a year since we’ve written about this basic maintenance step, but it’s extremely important nevertheless. At least once a year, make a point to clean your desktop or laptop to keep it free from dust and debris. For good information on how to accomplish this task, check out http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=60403472. For convenience, a link directly to this site is on our homepage at http://www.friscocomputerstore.com.n Keep files neat and organized. While tempting, your desktop is not the place to store all of your files. Develop a system for storing and easily finding your documents, spreadsheets, e-mails, etc. You can set up your filing system the same way you would any offline paper system. For suggestions, visit our previous column, “Clean Up Your Desktop” at http://www.friscocomputerstore.com. n Change your passwords. Ideally, you should change your passwords every month, but realistically we know most people don’t bother. It’s a new year, so why not change all your passwords now to add that extra measure of protection against identity theft? See our previous column, “Building Good Passwords” at http://www.friscocomputerstore.com for more information on how to construct safe passwords.n Regularly back up your data. Most people still don’t back up their data regularly, and with the number of problems you can experience with your computer, you’re taking a big risk if you don’t regularly back up your important files. Fortunately, there are now several tools on the market that make this task easier. Jump drives are great little storage devices that are available in a variety of options up to 1GB or more of storage. If you’re more comfortable keeping your data off-site, you can check out the many online file back-up services. Comcast users can visit http://www.comcast.net, or simply Google “online storage” for a variety of other options.For more information, e-mail clickandhack@friscocomputerstore.com.


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