Nothing can damage a computer quite like user error. It’s sad when this happens because it’s often the case that the resulting issues could’ve easily been prevented if the user simply knew of PC best practices. Take for example these three easily-preventable PC mistakes that will do your computer harm.
Plugging Your Computer Equipment Directly Into an Outlet
This best practice might come as a bit of a shock to those who don’t think twice about plugging anything and everything directly into outlets, but the truth of the matter is that plugging computer equipment into outlets can cause irreversible damage. This is due to power fluctuations that happen within a building’s wiring--as seen when the lights suddenly grow dimmer and then brighter.
Instead, make use of a surge protector. This is an easy-to-find power strip designed to regulate electrical surges. For many power strip models, you can actually see the power fluctuations inside the flickering on/off button. When choosing a power strip, it’s important to use a surge protector that’s rated to protect computer equipment, instead of a cheap model only designed to provide extra outlets.
The best thing you can do to protect your computer equipment from power inconsistencies is to plug your gear into an Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS). This is a heavy duty solution that comes equipped with a battery in order to provide consistent power for a short period of time in the event of a power loss.
Clicking “Ok” or “Next” Without Reading What You’re Agreeing To
Is anybody else guilty of this? We’ve all done it, and while you can probably get away with skimming over the content of a software agreement for something like an OS update, you definitely want to pay attention to the details of an agreement from a third-party company. ComputerHope.com explains:
It is not uncommon for new users to click Ok or Next without reading what they are agreeing to and not making sure there are no checkboxes still checked. Make sure you read every prompt before agreeing, or you may be agreeing to install new browser toolbars, a program you didn't intend to install, or other crapware.
Opening Unknown Email Attachments
Hopefully, you have a spam filter in place to keep the majority of email threats out of your inbox. However, even the best email security solutions let a few bad apples through, which leaves the user's discretion as the last line of defense. Hackers know this, which is why they use email phishing tactics to try and trick people into downloading a corrupt email attachment. These fake messages often disguise themselves as originating from a trustworthy source, like one’s bank or even their own IT department. It’s up to the user to spot the scam, which takes a keen eye.
Therefore, take the time to carefully look over every email message before downloading its attachment. If you suspect that something's sketchy about it, then you’re probably right. One way to double check the validity of the message is to reach out to the sender over the phone and ask them if they’ve emailed you--using the phone number that you have on record, not the one provided in the bogus email.
Don’t feel bad if you’re guilty of falling for any of these common PC mistakes. This is why it’s important to learn PC best practices, so that you won’t fall for them again and put your system at risk. To learn more PC tips and best practices that will keep your computers in good working order, subscribe to MERIT Solutions’s blog and give us a call at (757) 420-5150.