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Does my computer have a virus?

Just because your PC is running fine doesn't mean it doesn't have any malware. The word "Malware" comes from the combined words of "Malicious" and "Software" and is the catch-all term for any device or data threatening software. Malware can have many forms, such as viruses, ransomeware, bots, etc.

The viruses in the beginning of the internet era were often pranks and jokes that ran wild and used a lot of system resources to slow down your computer. Malware now-a-days are more likely to lurk silently and covertly in the background, trying to evade detection so it can capture your credit card numbers, login information, and other personal data. In other words, modern-day malware is often created by criminals just to make money, and well-crafted malware won't cause any noticeable PC problems at all. It's a great practice to scan your computer at least once a week with an antivirus program.

What is a computer virus?

A computer virus is one of the many different types of malware. Specifically, it is a malicious piece of computer code designed to spread from one device to another device. These threats are usually designed to copy itself over and over again to damage a device or to steal data from it. It is meant to infect other devices by latching onto downloadable files, website links, etc. To avoid getting a virus on a computer, do not click or download anything from a source you don't trust.

Can I have more than one antivirus program on my computer?

The short answer is yes you can, but you definitely shouldn't run them at the same time. Contrary to popular belief, you will not be getting extra protection. If you run more than one antivirus program at the same time, they will compete against each other. Antivirus programs do not see each other as allies and will instead dub the other as the enemy. Instead of protection, you will end up with two weak programs that are fighting one another and potentially missing the real threat of any malware.

Internet and Software

How do I protect my data?

The number one thing to do is to avoid downloading files from any website that you don't trust completely. This includes clicking on suspicious links, advertisements, or filling out pop-up forms. Any information that you enter on social media websites, shopping accounts, or anything on any website could potentially be taken in the event of a data breach. What goes on the internet can be grabbed by the internet.

Two-factor authentication is an additional layer of security that provides protection in the event that a hacker guesses or cracks your password. Two-factor authentication requires a second verification step, such as the answer to a secret question or a personal identification number (PIN) that can be sent to your phone or email. You should opt for two-factor authentication when given an option by a website.

How do I stay safe on the internet?

Relying on a public Wi-Fi connection means your data is more likely to be seen by outsiders even if you are on your own personal device. Public hotspots or "Free Wi-Fi" connections do not have as many layers of protection so that other people can easily access the internet too. The best thing to do is to avoid sending sensitive information over any public Wi-Fi network.

You should also refrain from sending personal information when using a device that isn't yours. For example, many people like to access their social media accounts on computers at the school library, but many users forget to sign out when they're finished. This means that all of their info is up for grabs by the next person that uses that computer. A great practice is to log out of any website you have logged into and delete the browser's history for extra measure.

What are some safety tips for using social media?

If you receive an email from a source or individual you don't recognize, don't open it, and definitely avoid clicking any links or file attachments. Too many people have fallen victim to scams online by believing the empty promises of accquiring fame or fortune. Scammers will do anything to make their links seem genuine or worth it. Some will even pose as long lost friends or family in order for you to trust them. The bottom line is, if you weren't expecting it, then don't open it.


Does my computer need a tune up?

If you haven't had a tune-up on your PC in the last 6 months, then the answer is likely "yes". Very similar to a car, you want to make sure that your computer is in good condition, both inside and out. Although you may not be able to physically see any software maintenance needed, it's best to check if one is needed. Typically, a tune up should be done once every 3 months. If you want, a tune up every single month is even better for your PC.

When is it time to buy a new computer?

Your computer's life span will depend on several different factors. How old is the hardware and what version is the software? Is your PC used every day for hours on end or every week for light errands and tasks? Your stereotypical PC gamer may need to change out and update their setup after 2 years. In comparison, a lightly used PC may last a few years longer than that. On average, office computers are replaced every three to five years. In many cases, these machines get replaced because they are no longer as efficient as they need to be. With the newest versions of technology constantly coming out, it's easy for devices to get outdated.

What's the difference between shutting down your PC and putting it in sleep mode?

Study shows that it is okay to leave your computer on all day if you plan on using it multiple times a day for many hours at a time. Placing your computer in sleep mode in-between those uses helps your PC conserve energy while still not fully shutting down. However, if you only use your computer occasionally and for a short amount of time (say once a day for only 2 hours) it's best to turn it off after using it. Shutting down your PC completely and then turning it back on can actually damage your machine if done repeatedly in a short period of time, so use your best judgment on whether you should choose to fully shut down your computer or simply set it in sleep mode.

Can I share one printer?

With Windows 10, it is possible to share your printer with many PCs on your network. Ensure that all devices that plan on printing have the most updated version of the printing software. This will depend on the make and model of your printer. Next, connect all of the devices to the same network as the printer. Older printers may require the PC to be connected with a cable, but newer printers generally allow wireless printing. A prompt will typically pop up on the device's screen to verify which printer you wish to print with, and after that your printer should start printing.