So what should your average IT user know when they are using their computer? How about how to switch it on and off safely or how to use Word and Excel? I have constructed a list below of the 10 most important things your average IT user should know.
People need to know what a backup is and how you should go about taking one. I have met too many people (and companies) who are so blasé about backups it is unreal. How would you feel if you lost all your family pictures or all your company financial records? I am guessing not very good!! This tutorial will show you how to take a backup in Windows while this one will show you how to do it in Linux.
2. Antivirus Software
Next up we have viruses. If you run a Windows system you need antivirus protection (Linux users you may now start smiling – you don’t need antivirus) . The best way to avoid infection is to install an antivirus program and make sure that it updates regularly to get the latest virus definitions. For a home PC I recommend Avast Free Home Edition and for Business use either Norton 2011 Small Business Pack or Avast Internet Security Suite. Either way get some!!
A firewall is a piece of software that acts as the front door to your system. When it is activated the door is closed (and locked) but when it is off your system is wide open. Most modern operating systems come with a firewall installed by default and chances are your router should have one as well, however you do need to check periodically.
4. Internet Explorer and Google are not the internet
A lot of people think that Internet Explorer is the internet. Same goes for Google. If one of them is not working then “my internet is broken!!” Internet Explorer is a web browser which is a program for accessing the internet. There are loads of web browsers on the market. For example you could choose Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari or Opera. The choice is yours which one you use as they all allow you to access the internet.
As for Google, it is a search engine which allows you to find things on the internet nothing more. There are different types of search engines available, for example Ask, Yahoo, Bing etc. Choose whichever one suits you.
This one is simple – use them!! A lot of users don’t bother or use easily cracked passwords (using password offers very little protection). Use a combination of letters and numbers and don’t write them on a postit and place it on your monitor!!!
This links nicely with passwords as most people use easily cracked passwords for their email accounts. You should also note that you should never open any attachments from anyone you don’t know as these may carry viruses. Another thing to note is that you will never receive emails from the HMRC or your bank. If you do these will be fraudulent and do not enter any financial details or give them your bank details!!!
7. Do not delete anything on your system unless you know what it is
I see this a lot. People try to clean up their systems by deleting things they think they don’t need. Upon rebooting the system nothing works. Unless you know exactly what a file or program is for do not touch it.
This is another one I see a lot of. Unless you know the website be very careful when you are downloading software. I recommend people stay away from bit torrent and file sharing sites as yes you will get the software but chances are it will be riddled full of viruses.
9. Wireless Settings
Write down your encryption key and put it in a secure place. I have had people change their wireless key and then forget what it is or even better didn’t know they had one!! You also need to make sure that you have the highest form of encryption available on your router. Use this tutorial to check yours.
10. You can make secure payments over the internet
Yes you can make secure payments over the internet but you do need to check that the website starts with https://. If it does then it means all communication between your system and the website is secure and encrypted meaning no one can get access your details.
If you think I have left any obvious ones out please let me know!!!
About the Author
Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.
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