Need computer help?
Why wait?
Contact us now...

TEXT OR CALL - 0777 246 4097
LANDLINE - 0116 287 7319

CALL 07733 180 180

home page company biography how can we help testimonials help yourself contact details

How you can help yourself

There are many ways in which you can help yourself and your computer, and most of these are really simple.

  1. Back up your important data

  2. Protect yourself against infection

  3. Keep your machine clean and cool

Let's go through these in a little more detail.

1. Back up your important data

There are three simple rules for important data;
  • back it up,
  • back it up and
  • BACK IT UP!!!

All important data should be backed up regularly.

You should keep three copies of important data in separate locations.


Imagine you have created something amazing; a book, a video, family photographs or a cure for cancer. All the supporting documents are on your computer and suddenly there is a lightning storm and your computer is destroyed by a power spike.

All your hard work goes up in small puff of electrical smoke.

Unless you backed up your data to an external hard drive, disconnected it from your computer and put it in a safe location? If the lightning storm causes a small fire which consumes your home office then you might still be in trouble.

Back up your very important documents to a CD or DVD and store them in a different location to your computer and you are significantly increasing the chances of swift disaster recovery.

If your documents are important to you then it's important to back it up to an external hard drive, a CD, a DVD or maybe even an online cloud solution (e.g. dropbox) whenever significant changes have been made.

Please Note: USB data sticks are not reliable enough for making backups.

2. Protect yourself against infection

Ok, lets take these one step at a time.

Turn on automatic updates
If you have a Windows based operating system from Microsoft, this software is targeted by hackers and virus writers because it is generally insecure.
If you don't patch your system using automatic updates and you are a regular internet user, sooner or later something nasty will take advantage of one of the weaknesses in the system and your computer will be infected.

Turn on your firewall
Ever since Windows XP service pack 2, windows has had a firewall built in.
A firewall helps secure your computer by preventing the things that you don’t want – viruses, spying programmes etc – from getting into your system.
There are other firewalls available, both free and paid for, sometimes as part of an internet security package, but I've never found a need for them as Microsoft's firewall has always proved very reliable, so long as it is turned on and not messed about with.
NB: Be careful when removing some internet security packages which may have disabled the windows firewall, ensure it is turned back on when you have finished.

Use antivirus
In my experience, unless you are planning to do something really dangerous or are VERY worried about a virus infection, the free antivirus programs have always been more than adequate for the average home user.
I recommend AVG FREE and AVAST FREE.
These both regularly perform better than Norton/Symantec and McAfee in the consumer tests.
If you are VERY paranoid, I'd recommend buying Kaspersky, but for a normal ‘home’ user it's probably a little excessive.

If you are using the computer for business, the free versions of Avast and AVG are illegal to install. You can buy them or choose to use Microsoft Security Essentials, a free antivirus for all PCs running a genuine version of Windows.

NB: You SHOULD NEVER connect to the internet without a running antivirus program, unless it is to install an antivirus program.

Use antimalware
Antivirus programs won't protect you against malware and antimalware won't protect you against viruses.
More than one antimalware program can be installed on your computer at any one time as they do not conflict.
The best thing I can recommend is to use Windows Defender and install Spybot S&D with the 'tea-timer'.
This works in the background to see if any changes are happening to your computer, and ask if you want them to happen. If you are expecting a change to your machine, e.g. you are installing new software, then say "yes" when it asks if you want to allow a change to happen. If however you are surfing somewhere new and the tea-timer pops up and asks if you want to make a change to your machine, it is a possibility that the website you are on has been compromised and is trying to install a virus on your machine. Err on the side of safety and SAY NO!!!
NB: If you are using Windows Vista or Windows7, you already have Windows Defender installed and hence don't need to re-install.

Use a protected browser
Your browser is the thing you use to access the internet. If this becomes compromised, your machine is in trouble.
I personally recommend surfing with a portable version of Google Chrome or a portable version of Firefox (with the noscript plugin.).

If your portable browser of choice becomes compromised, you can just throw it away and download / reinstall the latest version instead of having to re-install your whole machine.

Beware emails
If you are not expecting an email from somebody, don't open it.
The more dodgy looking the email, generally the higher the risk.
Many viruses use email to spread themselves, often as an attachment which looks like a picture or "something funny".
In short, some people use the internet to lie to you and will do bad things if you allow them to.

Don't be taken for a fool.

3. Keep your machine clean and cool

As computers work hard, they run hot. Computers are kept cool by a steady flow of air drawn through the case, through the power supply and over the processor by fans. If your computer is placed in a location where air cannot flow freely (e.g. in a cabinet) or if the case vents, power supply vents or processor heatsink become clogged with dust or pet fur then your computer will be more prone to overheating, crashing or suffering a much reduced life span.
The same thing goes even more so for laptops as they have little room inside, small vent holes and tiny fans.

Help your computer by cleaning and vacuuming it regularly. This will depend on the individual circumstances of computer location.

If you don't feel confident to do this, or indeed any of the other self help suggestions listed above, call Übergeek and we'll come round and make sure your machine is working in tip top condition and your documents are suitably safe for all possible eventualities.

With computers, it's not about what you do in a crisis, it's about how you prepare before which determines how quickly and easily you can return to your normal life when a crisis happens - DR: Ubergeek

home page company biography how can we help testimonials help yourself contact details