What’s the quickest thing I can do to make my computer run faster?
Clean out your browser cache. Many people don’t realize that while you’re on the Internet every single image, graphic, and text that you see on your screen has actually been downloaded to your local hard drive in a temporary folder. Many of these files are very small but over time the sheer volume of the small files forces the Windows operating system to set aside memory so it may retrieve them faster should the Operating System ever need to. It does not know that you may never visit those websites again. Over time the memory set aside keeps growing to the point your computer run slow. Cleaning out your browser cache is the quickest way to get immediate results.
Will adding a large hard drive make my computer run faster?
No, a hard drive is best thought of as a file cabinet. It stores information. It is much better to add RAM to increase speed. Think of RAM as a tabletop, the more area on your tabletop, the faster you can work on things. When a application software program is open it’s using the tabletop, when it needs more information it goes to the file cabinet to retrieve it (hard drive).
Why do I need a firewall?
A firewall works like a one way mirror, you can see out, but no one else can see in. You may be unaware that hackers and people with malicious intent have automated programs that are constantly testing IP addresses for vulnerabilities. There are more than 65,000 ports that are utilized when running TCP/IP (Transport control protocol/Internet protocol). When these automated robots the hackers employ find open ports, they make note of it. Later on the hacker comes along and looks at the list of vulnerabilities that the automated robot programs found. Unscrupulous hackers then try to exploit these openings.
Is antivirus and anti-spam the same thing?
No, antivirus programs typically work by scanning your hard drive for known footprints of viruses. Anti-spam programs act as a filter in conjunction with your email program to block known sites that are associated with unwanted and unsolicited emails.
What’s the best way to come up with a good password?
The easiest way to come up with a good password is to think of two things that are separate yet memorable. As an example: the year of your graduation, and combine that with the street name you grew up on. The year is obviously numerical, and hopefully the street is not. Consider the street name of Sacramento Avenue. When combined as “1985 Sacramento”, it is memorable only to you and makes a pretty good password, it’s hard to guess. The point is you always want to make it numerical and alphabetical so that brute force hacking programs don’t get an easy match. For even greater security put a few of the alphabetical letters in uppercase.
Why do you recommend imaging a hard drive instead of just backing up the data?
When you image a hard drive you take an exact copy of every zero and one that is on the hard drive. Imaging programs don’t care what the operating system is, or what your applications are, or that you may have misplaced your installation CD/DVD. When you restore an image every zero and one (binary data) that was on the hard drive is restored. It will be restored to that exact point in time when the image was made. Now compare this with having to find your operating system CD and unlock key or serial number. Now do the same for every application that you have installed since the day you bought your computer along with the associated serial number. If you’re running Windows just take a look at your update history and you will see hundreds of updates that have been added since the computer was first turned on. All those would have to be reinstalled. Restoring from an image can happen in a few hours. Rebuilding a system from scratch can take days!
What exactly is cloud storage?
Cloud storage is nothing more than someone else’s server with hard drive space that you access via the Internet. Some cloud storage consists of large storage area networks with hundreds of hard drives operating in raid 10 or greater configurations. Recent data breaches broadcast on many news channels brings home the risk with putting your data on someone else’s server. Proceed with caution.
What does the term “RAID” mean when describing computer storage?
Redundant array of inexpensive disks. There are many RAID levels. If your data is important to you the minimum RAID level you should employee is RAID one. This essentially mirrors the data on drive one to drive two. The hard drive controller rights to both drives at the same time. The benefit here is if one drive fails you still have an exact copy on the second drive containing your data.Please note that hardware based RAID is better than software RAID.