No New Year's resolutions

I do not like New Year’s resolutions. This is not a column about New Year’s resolutions. This is a column about things you can do to help you get along with your computer.

I do like that.

Back up your stuff

If something happened to your computer, is there anything on it you would miss? Sometimes the answer is “No.”

Most of the time, though, the answer is “Yes!”

Maybe you have photos you wouldn’t want to lose. Maybe you have email or email addresses that are important. It could be anything. Whatever it is, if it’s important, you need a copy, and that copy needs to be stored some place besides your computer.

I have good news for you. Backups used to be hard, or at the very least, tedious. But now it’s easy and reasonably inexpensive to back up your stuff.

There are different kinds of backups. You can make this task as complicated as you like. But if you like it simple, my advice is to get yourself a Western Digital My Passport external hard drive.

Open the package, connect the drive to your computer, and then install the backup program that comes with that hard drive.

Please note that simply purchasing the hard drive and connecting it to your computer will not accomplish your backup. You need to install the program, do the first backup, and schedule subsequent backups so you don’t have to remember to do backups.

Keep your critical programs up to date

Customers and readers often ask me how to stop those annoying reminders to update things. The answer is:

  • “Update things. Then, things will stop reminding you to update them.”

99.99 per cent of the time, those updates are not there simply to annoy us. They are there for security reasons and for performance reasons. It makes no sense to say, “I don’t do updates because if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”

Whatever it is, it IS broken. If it wasn’t broken, there wouldn’t be an update waiting for you.

Always do updates for:

  • Your antivirus/antimalware programs.
  • Java. If you’re not using Java, uninstall it. If it’s installed, keep it up to date.
  • Windows
  • Microsoft Office
  • Your browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari)

You might as well update iTunes when it asks, too, because it’s relentless. If I didn’t need iTunes, I would uninstall it simply to keep it from nagging me about updates.

Write down your passwords, and write down what they’re for.

Passwords are not going away, no matter how much we complain about them. Keep track of them.

Are you using any of these: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/306499? You need a better way.

One way is to create and use a system for this, as explained here. Another way is to use a password manager. This article reviews the most popular ones.

And there’s the old-school method of writing down the user name, the password, and what it’s for as explained in this column.

What would make your life easier? Send email to [email protected] and I’ll try to help.


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About the Author

The Technology Shaman, Cate Eales, has been helping people make online computing safe, accessible, and fun for over 30 years.

Cate lives in Kelowna with her husband, Eric. She owns and operates Computer Care Kelowna, a mobile computer business providing on-site service for home and small business customers.

Cate is here to help you and your home or business computer get along.

E-mail Cate at [email protected] with comments, suggestions, or questions.

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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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