Gone are the days when preparing for school meant to be filling a backpack with a handful of sharpened pencils, spiral notebooks, and a dozen textbooks. Today, computers are often on the top of that list. Make a note of these tips to help protect the computers you use at school from viruses, hackers, spyware, and other attacks.
Perform basic computer safety maintenance Before surfing the Web, make sure you perform these 3 key maintenance steps to help improve the computer's security: • Update your computer • Use up to date antivirus software • Use an Internet firewall
Don't open files from strangers E-mail and instant messaging (IM) are two quick ways to communicate with friends, classmates, and family. E-mail and IM can also spread viruses and worms if you aren't careful. Did you know that most e-mail viruses are spread by people who are fooled into opening an infected file? Don't be tricked! You should never open a file attached to an e-mail or an instant message unless you recognize the sender and you are expecting the file.
Help fight spam and online scams As long as you're helping to prevent viruses and worms, you may as well learn how to help fight spam and online scams. To find out how you can spend more time on schoolwork and fun, and less time on deleting spam, read how to prevent spam e-mail from reaching you. ‘Phishing’ is another threat to your privacy that could lead to the theft of your credit card numbers, passwords, account information, or other personal data.
Learn how to protect yourself from spyware Has your Web browser been taken over by pop-up ads? Are there toolbars on your computer that you don't remember downloading? You might be the victim of spyware. Spyware is software that collects personal information from you without first letting you know what it's doing, and without asking for your permission. You might get spyware if you download: music or file-sharing programs, free games from sites you don't trust, or other software programs from a suspicious web site.
Take precautions when you go wireless Many high school and college campuses now have wireless networks. That means you can surf the Web in the library, cafeteria, or a classroom. You may have already used wireless networks in your home, in airports, coffee shops, or even public parks. These networks are convenient, but they do come with a security risk. If you set up your own wireless network at home or in your dorm room, learn how to protect your home network and pay special attention to the section on wireless network security.
Passwords protect your computer—and lock it Passwords are the first line of defense in protecting your computer from criminals, pranksters, or a careless roommate. If you don't use a password to log on to your computer, anyone can access your computer and unlock it. Be sure to lock your computer when you're not using it.
Back up your work (and the fun stuff, too) The image of students losing their term papers because they forgot to back up their work has almost become a cliché. Still, many of us don't have the time to back up. If you use Windows XP, you can let the Backup utility do the work for you.
MEMORY LEAK! WHAT’S THAT?
Every program on your PC is given an area of memory of its own, once it starts. Once it stops, the program is then supposed to notify the operating system that the area it occupied is now available for other programs. But, as you might have found out, this doesn’t always happen (it’s particularly common in Windows). As a result of the program not returning the memory it had used, that memory can’t be used for other programs. Thus, the memory of your PC reduces because of the ‘leak,’ making your PC less useful. When such leaks happen, you will notice that the selected program does not respond. You can select Ctrl+Alt+Del, and select End Task so that the system reactivates. But if none of the commands seem to respond, then you have only option to get all the memory back: restart your computer.
SCREEN SAVERS AND A SYSTEM THAT HANGS
Does your PC hang very often? And especially when you try to come out of a screen saver, or the `sleep mode' that your monitor has just transcended into? One of the first things you then need to do is disable the power management of your system. Sure, you were right when you opted for a power management system that either puts the monitor into a sleep mode (wherein it just becomes blank) or a screen saver comes on. Yes it helps save power. On the flip side, however, the power management system is not always compatible with the hardware and software components that you work with. So not all components react favourably when the system automatically gets into a reduced-power mode. Which is why they do not respond---or the system hangs---when you try to get the system up again after a while.
When Your PC Freezes
Often you will find that your PC suddenly hangs during the midst of an application. This could happen because you have too many applications running at the same time. Or there could be other reasons such as power fluctuation or a software glitch. When your PC freezes, what you should not do is switch your PC off directly. Here’s what you should do:
•Press CTRL, ALT and Delete together. A window appears specifying the program that has stalled indicating `Not Responding’ in brackets. Just click on
the `End Task’. It closes down the program that is freezing up and allows you to go back to the desktop.
Restart your PC. If you cannot get to the Start Menu to access the Shut Down dialog box in which you have the restart option, use the restart button on your PC hardware (there is one, always adjacent to the power on/off button).
Asking for Trouble - Overloaded on Active Fonts
Every new font you install sucks up physical memory. Unless you have RAM to spare, it would be advisable not to load too many more than your commonly used fonts.
So what do you do with the fonts you want to keep but not install?
Easy: just put them in another folder. We recommend naming it something like "Fonts_other", since this will help you find it easily; "Fonts_other" should wind up right next to (or under) the Fonts folder in Explorer. Then, when you want to use a particular font in a document/graphic, go to your "Fonts_other" folder, double-click on the font you want to use, and launch the application in which you wish to use it. The font should show up in your regular list as if it were installed the "normal" way. When you're done, you can close the font preview window and Windows is none the wiser.This also fixes the problem of too many fonts. All fonts are stored in the Registry, which has a limit of 64k for each key, meaning 800 - 1000 fonts are all that can be stored without a shareware font manager program.