Tips for good PC hygiene

Published May 15, 2020


DURBAN - The notion of practicing good hygiene has been everyone's minds these past few months and with more companies urging employees to work from home we may also need to practice good PC hygiene.

When one think about how much time is spent on our devices and computers for our daily lives, it is quite scary. For many of us, we depend on these devices for our jobs and businesses and for some, their social lives.

In a way, it could also be seen as a catch-22. We don’t want to mess around with our computers because of its importance and so we treat the back-end like an empty room in our house and forget it exists.

However, this can cause many problems down the line. Understandably, not all of us have a compendium of Information Technology but there are a few good habits you can practice to ensure your computer lasts its lifetime.

Keep it cool


- Many of us forget that a computer needs to stay cool in order to function properly. This factor depends largely on the amount of air flow the computer is getting. If you work off a desktop, then you may want to keep your tower in a cool place. If you plan on removing the case (which isn’t recommended) then make sure the area is free from pet hair and dust.

If you haven’t opened your tower in a while, then you may want to so and have a look at the condition of the fan. Odds are it has been smothered in dust and grime. A small paintbrush may work best here.


- While laptops have been famed for their mobility and sleekness, these factors can also be detrimental to the cooling process. We don’t pay attention to the surfaces we place our laptops on and work. Sometimes you may just place it on your bed and forget it needs to breathe. As much as possible, keep your laptop at a slight tilt when working, this ensures it is getting all-round air flow.

Routine Software Checks

As far as “behind the scenes” go, there are

three things you want to familiarize yourself with, namely, defragmentation, disk checks and anti virus.

1. Defragmentation -

Each time you change, move, copy or delete a file, your computer generally uses minimum effort to complete this task. This means bits and pieces of files are left lying around, meaning your “free” space isn’t so free after all. A defrag unit hunts down these useless bits lying around in the abyss of free space and gets rid of them.

This frees up space your computer didn't even know it had, as well as speeding up the machine by sending the data that matters into a compact area of the disk.

2. Disk Checks -

It's a brute way of checking disks for errors. It's the kind of thing you don't think about until about five minutes too late. If you don't use a sector of the disk - or it's been left in the shadows, - you might never know it's troubled until the computer tries to save something there. That's why Defrag usually includes or requires Chkdsk before it starts sorting through your leftovers. Just remember that a disk check requires exclusive access to the volume (For example, "C:" drive) before it starts, so you might have to go play on your phone or tablet for a while.

3. Antivirus -

South Africa is known for having a weak line of defence against cyber attacks. Having a solid defence comes in the form of an antivirus. We judge antivirus software by three things: how much malware and viruses a program can detect, how good it is at getting them out of there without a trace or secondary issues, and how much memory and power they take up.

For most of us, the free versions online will do the trick. But if you have important information or use your computer for business purposes, you may want to invest a little.

Common Sense

As much as one could take the time and learn all these new ways of protecting your computer, if you go back and do the same things that landed you in trouble then you kind of defeat the purpose. There isn’t an antivirus out there that could protect you from yourself.

You should steer clear of torrents, downloads, adult sites and file sharing programs and at the same time, take advantage of protections that are already built into your computer and other programs.

Stay away from warez, cracks and serial number generators or downloaders -- all of those are potential danger zones.

Malware bytes and CCleaner are both great tools that are available for free online, if you haven’t already taken the initiative to clean your pc, you should definitely check those two out.

MalwareBytes Download.

Ccleaner Download.

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