Protecting Your Personal Computer

Protecting Your Personal Computer
Owning a personal computer (PC) can be an enjoyable and worthwhile endeavor provided the computer is maintained to provide the best experience possible. There are preventive measures that can be followed to keep your computer running in tip-top shape - they are listed below.

Virus Scanning
Though scanning for viruses is one of the best procedures available for protecting your computer, many people are lax in this area. Not only should the virus scanning software be installed on the computer but it should be configured to download new virus definitions and perform a full system scan weekly.

Most virus scanning software requires that a subscription is purchased in order to receive the virus definitions. The virus definition file contains a listing of all new viruses that have been detected, and the information needed to prevent or remove the virus from a computer. It is important to keep the subscription up-to-date or outdated virus definitions will be used and the computer will not be properly protected.

Performing a full system scan weekly is advisable to make sure there are no viruses present on the computer. A schedule can be setup that specifies when the full system scanning should occur. By creating a schedule, the scanning can occur when the computer is not in use, say overnight, hence providing protection without inconvenience.

Spyware and Adware Protection
Another threat to the security and performance your computer is spyware and adware. Spyware are small programs that are downloaded to a computer via software or websites. Once installed on a computer, the program collects information about Internet usage and transmits the information back to the original source.

Adware programs, like spyware, are also installed via software or from the Internet. These programs run in the background and display advertisements on your computer. A sure sign of adware infection is random pop-up boxes displaying advertisements while connected to the Internet.

Not only is spyware and adware dangerous because it collects personal information and transmits it to an unknown source, it can also degrade the performance of a computer. There are many programs available that can scan and remove spyware and adware from your computer. Most virus scanning software has the ability to detect and remove spyware or adware but other protection software can be downloaded from the Internet.

Defragmenting Hard Drive
As a computer saves file to the hard drive the files are fragmented, broken into small pieces, and saved in various locations on the hard drive. Over time this degrades the speed the computer can access files since it needs to locate the parts of the file from various locations on the drive. In order to increase file access time the hard drive can be defragmented, which is the process of reorganizing the files, so it is faster for the computer to locate them.

The operating system is installed with a disk defragmenter utility which usually is found in the system tools folder. It is recommended that the hard disk is defragmented on a monthly basis to maintain fast file access.

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