For a while now, and certainly on this blog, I’ve been writing within a concept I’ve simply called ‘Your PC’. Having worked on dozens of desktop and laptop computers, I’ve come to realise that so many problems were caused by users not realising that this was Their PC.
With that in mind, I want to talk a little bit about what it means to know it’s Your PC, and just how this can prevent problems arising. With these few tips, you’ll be effortlessly blocking malware from wrecking your PC experience.
It boils down to permission, and your willingness to give it.
I say: on Your PC, Give No Permission.
But then again I’m prone to hyperbole.
But to some extent it’s true: certainly give no permission by default. Try following these ideas:
- Don’t presume that the software installed when you buy a PC or laptop is the Best For You. Don’t presume that what’s shoved in your face is even the best software on this laptop.
- Don’t just let the manufacturer install its own updates. HP do this, Samsung do this, and Sony and Dell do it too. They’ve got little programs which go online and update your this, that and other. They’re updates for things you probably didn’t ask for in the first place, so why waste time and download limits on more junk?
- Always check to see if your new software – that program you’ve downloaded from Cnet.com – is trying to fill up your hard drive with adware and other dangerous nasties. Look for tick boxes with a tick already in them, and remove that tick. Click ‘Decline’ whenever you can; never ‘Accept’ unless you really understand what it is you’re doing. Sometimes, there might even be tricky ways of hiding the Decline button. It’s there; seek it out.
Those are just some tips for starters. What I’m saying is (and some people are not going to like it) you need to actively be the gatekeeper for what gets into your computer.
There are three reactions to this:
- Yay, Martin, you’re so right! I will henceforth be like Cerberus unto the underworld!
- Hmm, I’m not really sure I can be bothered…
- I don’t know anything about computers. I love to tell people I’m a technophobic idiot! La la la la!
The last of these is, of course, accompanied by fingers in ears and an end to further rational conversation.
If computers were onions, I would indeed know my onions. But just because there are such things as Computer Experts, this doesn’t mean that everyone else should be content in ignorance.
I’m not saying anyone is. Almost all of my customers would love to know more about their computer. What I’m saying is that I’m giving you permission (just in case that’s what you were waiting for) to demand to know what’s going on. And that’s because, after all, it’s Your PC.
Won’t I need a manual?
But I’m not just giving you permission to learn a little more about your PC. I’m giving you permission to learn only a little more. Here’s the rules which I live by, and which you can start with, to take control from those who would steal it from you:
- Know what programs are running when you turn your PC on. Is there a toolbar on the screen? See if you can find out what it does. Was it made by your PC manufacturer? Does it do anything useful? Do you ever use it?
- If anything new starts to appear on the screen, perhaps after you installed something new, perhaps a printer, then check what it is. Is it essential?
- If you’re asked whether you want something to happen – anything – by a pop up box or a message, read the message and act on it according to what you want. Don’t just click Yes, or OK, or Shaft Me Now, Thanks.
Don’t give away Permission on Your PC.
There are other ways to keep Your PC yours. These are just the things which you should do as rightful owner to prevent other companies changing things for you.
Finally, it’s OK not to know straight away whether that thing you’ve just investigated is doing Good, or doing Evil. You have two options: do a quick Google to see if other people are wondering about it; or call me at Ship Shape Computers. If it’s a quick query I can answer it, free of charge, over the phone. If it’s worrying you, or things have started to go wrong, then I can pop around to your house and sort it out for you there and then. Get in touch via the Contact page for a chat.