Tech Talk #13 – Nov 21, 2015
Say you’re shopping for ’55 Chevy alternator brackets or something, and a super-scary web page like this comes up. The page might even read itself over your speakers.
DON’T PANIC. Do NOT call the number on your screen. It’s just a scam. There is NOTHING WRONG with your computer. Just close your browser and shut down your computer. Give it a minute or so to think about what it did, and then turn it back on. See? Everything’s fine. It’s probably a good idea to run a full scan with your antivirus/antimalware program, though.
If – for some reason – you do call the number on your screen, the people on the other end will claim to be able to clean and fix your computer but really, all they’ll do is take your money. The amount of money they ask for seems to be inversely-proportional to how tech-savvy you are.
It’s not just a Windows problem, either.
Santa not bringing you any new hardware?
Maybe Santa has somehow let you know not to expect a shiny new computer this year. It’s OK. You can spiff up that old computer and get it running like (almost) new. This will work for a PC or a Mac, a desktop or a laptop.
Clean it up
Starting from the outside – Turn off your computer, unplug everything, and move it out where you can get to it. Clean up the area where your computer used to be by sweeping, dusting, and straightening up your computer’s environment. Next, take a microfiber cloth to the case and screen of your computer and wipe away the dust and finger-pokies on your screen or case. For really stubborn grime, lightly spray some Windex on the cloth and wipe the spot again.
Optimize your disk
Now that the outside of your computer is clean, give your hard drive a quick check-up and fix any errors. Windows users should run ScanDisk and Mac users should run Verify Disk.
Once your disk check is complete, download and install CCleaner for PC or Mac (it’s FREE) and run the Cleaner tool to remove log files, temporary files and other junk on your hard drive.
Do your updates
Secure your computer’s borders by getting the latest updates for your machine using Windows Update for PC or Software Update for Mac. Security updates and system patches are good and good for you, people.
Uninstall unnecessary programs
Once your system is up to date, take a look at the programs on your computer and uninstall those you don’t need or want. For Windows, use Add/Remove Programs. For Macs, go to the Applications folder and drag programs to the trash. If you don’t know what a particular program is or what it does, it’s probably best to leave it alone.
Back up your new/old computer
Now that your old computer is running like new, make sure you back it up. Windows users can use Backup and Restore and Mac users can use Time Machine to make system backups. If have decently fast Internet service and you’d like fully automatic off-site backups, you can sign up for the Carbonite service.
There, now you’re ready for Fallout4! Oh wait, did I give away the surprise?
Do you have a computer or technology question? Greg Cunningham has been providing Tehachapi with on-site PC and network services since 2007. Email Greg at firstname.lastname@example.org.