How to Keep Your Work Computer Fit and Healthy
Do you use a computer at work? Chances are, you probably do, as 83% of all UK businesses in 2015 had internet access. Those that do have their own work computer will also then know how difficult it can be to keep it up and running all the time. If you're not an IT professional it can be very hard to determine what's wrong or how to fix certain issues. Computers are extremely complex, so we've decided to make a guide to help you keep your computer happy and healthy (without needing to poke the nearest techie). We'll be covering all sorts, from antivirus software all the way to how you're using your system storage.
Antivirus and Malware
Many of you will have heard of antivirus software, perhaps even malware. Antivirus software comes in many different forms, from free tools to high end paid ones; one of the most popular antivirus programs is called AVG Antivirus. You can use a free version of the program or you can use a business version which is paid. With the free version, you get real time updates, an antivirus, and malware scanner and it also scans downloads for you. It's great if you only have one computer to protect or you barely use it, but it isn't the best solution when it comes to business. The next best thing is to look at the business version of the program, which gives you much more in terms of security tools. This version gives you the ability to "shred" files to delete them forever and also protects against ransomware. Although this is going to appeal to some businesses, it's always better to invest in a security service that covers more than just virus protection. Only use AVG if your employer refuses to use/pay for more professional services (as some protection is better than no protection, right?).
Image credit: Official AVG via Flickr
Downloading Files and Images
Always be cautious when downloading anything on your work computer, if you do not have a scanner looking at the files then you have no idea what you could be putting onto your computer. Always check with your employer before you download anything significant, such as programs or large files. Any file can look innocent, sometimes your computer or web browser will step in and warn you if it's not sure of a certain file; always listen to it. Only download files that are from trusted sources such as government websites or large well-known companies. When it comes to images, try your hardest to save images from Google or photo libraries such as Flickr, try not to save images from untrusted websites as they could have viruses attached to them. Should you really want an image, and you cannot find the picture anywhere else, either use a tool to screen grab it (such as Awesome Screenshot) or as a last resort you can print screen and edit/save the image in programs like Paint. Never right click and save a file unless you can be sure it's safe.
Image credit: marc falardeau viua Flickr
Software Updates and Restarts
Have you ever wondered why your computer seems to be running a little slower than usual? This is mostly caused by system or software updates, if you do not update these your computer has a harder time trying to load everything and in some cases, it may stop working properly altogether. If you can, set your computer and any programs to automatically update. Otherwise always make sure to manually update these when you're given warning. Make sure notifications for updates are also turned on as if they're off and you're not checking it could easily miss an update or two. On top of making sure everything is up to date, you need to periodically turn your computer off or restart it. Leaving your computer on permanently can stop some updates from fully uploading and, just like us, computers need to stop for a moment too. We recommend that you turn your computer off over the weekend if you work Monday to Friday. If during the week the computer slows down a bit, and you're all up to date, simply give your computer a quick restart and that should hopefully fix any issues.
Image credit: Richard Unten via Flickr
System Storage and Overloading
When referring to system storage I mean physical storage on your computer for filed and programs. This can fill up in no time if you don't keep an eye on it and filling your storage up can slow your computer down, it can also halt or stop potentially important updates due to a lack of storage. We recommend that you use cloud storage for files where possible using a service such as Google Drive, which is free to use for all Gmail users (though your employer should have a service like this already in place using either VPS or dedicated servers). Every so often it doesn't hurt to go through your computer and purge it of files that are no longer relevant or clogging up space unnecessarily. On top of this, you need to make sure you're not overloading the computer in any way; AKA having 15+ tabs open in Chrome or are running a multitude of programs all at once. Unless you have a very high spec computer, you're going to have limits to how much you can do at once. This point is especially aimed at those using 2 screens - you're still using the same computer with the same spec, adding another screen is putting more strain on it and you won't be able to do as much as you would with 1 screen so make sure you're not doing any more than normal. Remember, close programs when you're not using them and only have tabs open in web browsers that you actually need.
Image credit: Stacie DaPonte via Flickr
Investing In Managed IT Support
We would highly recommend small business IT support, it doesn't matter how big or small your business is it's always helpful. Having a managed IT service allows computer experts to keep an eye on your computer and what you're doing with it, so they can show you what you're doing wrong or fix any issues the computer may have without you needing to lift a finger. If your company does not have an IT department, perhaps it's time they invested in one. Here at Xenace, for example, we offer business IT support all over the UK and are on hand 24/7 to make sure you're always up and running. We cover business with as little as 3 computers all the way to 100+ computers, no task is too big or small for us and we pride ourselves on our fantastic customer service and prompt support. If you're an employee, and you believe this would benefit the business you work for, bring the idea to your employer and see how they feel. If they're uncertain, we are on hand to answer any questions they might have - we're here to reassure and guide them first and foremost.