PC Hard Drive Maintenance 101

Keeping your hard drive in tip-top shape is key to a well-running computer. A crashed hard drive means smacking a big wet-one goodbye to all of your data.

7WEliminate Unnecessary Data

  • De-clutter the drive to make its workload easier.
  • One way of de-cluttering is to uninstall programs you never use (go to the control panel).
  • Review your files and folders and rid the ones you’re done using.
  • Store the ones that you rarely use but don’t want to delete on a flash drive.
  • Also use your computer’s disk clean-up program (go into “Computer,” right-click the hard drive, hit “Properties” and click “disk cleanup”) to help get rid of junk.

Keep the Drive Hopping

  • There are many freeware utilities that can help your hard drive provide you feedback of its integrity. You should use one of these, as they will tell you how your hard drives are performing—kind of like going to a doctor to get your cholesterol numbers—you want to nip any potential problems in the bud.
  • Go into “Computer,” then right-click the drive, and then hit “Properties.” Once here, click the “Tools” tab. You will see an option for checking errors. It is important for Windows to perform recurring checkups of your drive. So hit “Optimize” to get this task done.
  • Next up, go to the control panel. Click “Hardware and Sound” and hit “Power Options.” This choice will keep the hard drive feeling young.
  • Don’t let physical clutter engulf the perimeter of your computer; it needs room to breathe.
  • Make sure your computer doesn’t get too hot. One way this can happen is if you use it while in bed. You also don’t want your computer to get cold, either, but chances are, you won’t be doing computer work outside in 40 degree weather.

Reinstall your operating system

  • Google “How to reinstall Windows.. (your OS)” or same with Mac. This is not all that hard to do. I do this every 2-3 years and I know others that do it every year. This is the single best way yo keep your hard drive tight.

Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to discussing  identity theft prevention. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247. Disclosures.

6 Tips for the Family PC Fixer

Are you your family CFE? (In other words, Chief Fix Everything?)If it needs repair, do they come to you? That’s me. If it’s wood, metal or plastic, I can cut it, glue it, screw it or weld it. If it’s electrical or electronic, I’ve already broken it and now I know how to fix it. Everyone’s day job spills into personal time, like it or not. Professional cleaners clean their own homes and sometimes those of their family members. Computer technicians fix all the families PCs. Nurses are the family health practitioners. My day job is to talk about IT and some of the security around it.

I used to get pretty frequent requests to fix family PCs, which meant I’d usually have to get into my vehicle at an inopportune time and commence repairs on a device that should probably have been tossed years ago. But today, I’ve solved lots of those problems by doing a few key things to keep the upkeep down.

#1 Make everyone upgrade: Tell them no more repairing of old WinXP machines. Either upgrade to Win8 or get a Mac.

#2 Set up admin rights: Only those qualified should be able to install software. Often that means only the CFE.

#3 Set up a remote access network: Remote access software allows you to stay home to access your family members’ PCs. Whether you’re a road warrior or simply own multiple PCs or are the family fixer or just want access to all your data from anywhere, there are a few easy ways to do it. A quick search on “remote access” pulls up numerous options.

#4 Set automatic updates: Software often lets you know it needs updating. Sometimes it’s monthly; often, it’s less frequent. But by setting software to auto download and update, you reduce popups that often confuse your family members.

#5 Schedule four- to six-month reviews: By logging in at least quarterly, you can clean out any bloat, fix whatever’s broken and update whatever software licenses need attention.

#6 Install security: You need all the fundamentals, such as antivirus and a firewall, but an often overlooked security tool is a personal VPN that protects wired and wireless communications from data sniffers. Hotspot Shield VPN is a great option that protects your entire web surfing session, securing your connection at both your home internet network and on public internet networks (both wired and wireless). Hotspot Shield’s free proxy protects your identity by ensuring that all web transactions (shopping, filling out forms, downloads, etc.) are secured through HTTPS—the protected internet protocol.

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield VPN. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures.