Seven IT Tricks That Everyone Should Know When Working From HomeApril 14, 2021 No Comments
Featured article by Susan Melony, Independent Technology Author
COVID-19 has changed the way we all live our lives, and many of those changes might stick around for good. For example, a large percentage of Americans believe returning to the workplace should be optional. A whopping 79 percent of people in Missouri agree, while even 68 percent of people in New York agree workers should be able to continue from home even after it’s safe to return to the office.
There’s no denying that working from home can increase your mental health, it can give you more time with no commute, and it even has tax benefits. However, it can cause some problems too, like how do you deal with computer problems with no IT department to go and ask!
If you spend a lot of time working from home, it’s a good idea to know how to keep your computer in tip-top shape all by yourself.
Delete Temporary Files on a Regular Basis
How many temporary files are lurking around on your computer? Do you even know what a temporary file is?
If you don’t, that’s okay! It’s often something that computer departments and professionals take care of on behalf of computer users, but if you’re on your own at home, it’s a good idea to know how to do it yourself.
Temporary files are files that your operating system only needed temporarily, but they can take up space, which can make your computer slower.
You can manually search for and delete these files, but you can also find simple programs that you can run on your computer that will locate and delete them for you. Make it part of your routine to delete these files about once a month.
Run Regular Antivirus Scans
You probably understand the importance of antivirus scans. Viruses can slow down the speed at which a computer operates, and if the virus is bad enough, it can cause your computer to become completely unusable.
It is more common than you think for users to believe a program is installed and running regularly when it is not. Make sure that your computer has a reputable antivirus program. If a program is installed, make sure that it runs regularly. Avoid having to do this by yourself by choosing a program that automatically runs at regular intervals.
Install Malware and Spyware Protection
If you’re a relative novice when it comes to computers, you may make the mistake of thinking that viruses, malware, and spyware are the same thing. They are similar, but there are some differences too.
For example, spyware is a malicious program that spies on your behavior while you’re using your computer. It can steal passwords and other personal information, which can be devastating to you personally, but it can also be devastating if the information that was stolen is related to your workplace.
Make sure that when you install antivirus software it includes protection against malware and spyware. You may also want to search for a program that can guard against adware, which can bog down your computer, as well as bots that can send spam.
Remove Apps and Programs You Don’t Use
It’s amazing how much junk your computer collects over the weeks, months, and years that it is used. That includes stuff that’s hiding on your hard drive that you may not know exists, but it also includes apps and programs that were once useful, but are no longer.
Periodically go through the programs on your computer and get rid of any that you no longer need. Use the “Add or remove programs” feature on your Windows computer to see all of the programs your computer has installed and to get rid of them easily.
Upgrade Software and Hardware
Dealing with updates can be a real pain, but those updates are necessary. Even skipping just one can leave you open to malware attacks, or it can make your operating system run more slowly.
Some software, like operating systems, almost always update automatically. Just make sure you perform the update whenever it is required.
Other things are harder to update. You may have to figure out how to manually update software programs, but you may also have to look into having new hardware installed. Doing these things regularly can keep you from having to spend a bunch of money on a new computer.
Backup Your Files
When you work on your computer, chances are, there are a lot of important files and data that you can’t afford to lose. Save yourself some serious heartache and hours of unnecessary work by regularly backing up your files.
The trick is to store files in more than just one place. That doesn’t mean storing them in different folders if those folders are all located on your computer! Instead, backup your files by:
- Copying them onto an external hard drive
- Copying them onto a USB
- Saving files in the Cloud
- Using programs that backup your entire hard drive automatically
Avoid Bad Websites and Emails
Some problems aren’t the fault of the user, but many of them are. You can avoid a lot of computer problems in the first place if you know how to avoid bad websites and emails.
When it comes to websites, look for the “https” that appears first in the URL. It’s more secure than a site that simply uses “http”.
Does the site use broken English? Is there something strange about the URL, like an uncommon domain extension (.biz) or letters appearing differently than they should (Amaz0n)? These things can warn you that something isn’t right.
When it comes to emails, avoid clicking on links unless you personally know who is sending it to you. Instead, go directly to the site it’s pointing to and type in the URL yourself.
When you’re working from home, you have to be able to do more than turn it off and turn it back on again when there is a problem! Keep your computer in tip-top shape, with or without help from an IT department, with the tips on this list.