Some small things you may not know…
A: Your Internet Service Provider (Comcast, Verizon, etc.) is not responsible for computer infections, repairs or errors. They only supply & support internet service and email as necessary. Though they may try to help it is better to contact a local service center or the manufacturer.
A: Your computer manufacturer is not responsible for infections and computer errors that are not a result of hardware failure: in or out of warranty. In most cases all software errors result in restoring your computer to factory settings. All repairs are limited to the warranty terms.
A: Software Update messages mostly appear in the lower right corner of your Windows computer and the upper right corner of your Mac computer. If your Browser needs updating that message usually appears in the Browser when you open it. If you are paranoid simply go the webpage of the company offering the update and download it manually. Also, you can take it to or call your local service center for help.
Hoaxes: A false message stating and infection or security risk relating to your computer. These messages appear to come from a reputable company or vendor indicating a vulnerability or illegal activity in regards to your computer or computer security status. In some cases they appear as security software that has scanned your computer and detected the infections. REMEMBER, most security software is obtained by a paid subscription. In order for security software to end up on you computer it would have to have been installed for you or by someone you know.
Hoax scenario 1:
A person says they are from Microsoft, the FBI, CIA or similar agency.
No. Microsoft, The FBI, or The CIA doesn't care how your computer is running and will not call you to check on the performance or alert you of any potential problems. Nor do they commonly track your habits online as a normal course of action.
Calls or indications like these are Hoaxes and scams and the only goal is financial gain. These issues are typically initiated via an email or randomly picking a phone number. People have been charged $100's to fix an error following one of these scenarios when infact the error was caused by the same people calling you to correct it. If this occurs, use common sense, contact your Internet Security provider or your local service center for information.
Hoax scenario 2:
You receive a message indicating that Java, Adobe or Media player needs to be updated. You click and click but the message reappears - this is a hoax. Every time you click you lesson the integrity of your Operating System. You are now infected with Malware. Your computer needs to be cleaned.
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Q: What is Malware?
A: Malware Defined: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malware
Q: Doesn't my computer come with security software?
A: NO! Unless you specifically purchase a subscription or the computer comes with promotion software. Promotions typically last for 30 - 60 days before you are required to purchase a full subscription.
Q: How do I get infected?
A: A variety of causes can make your computer vulnerable to infections: Random web surfing, Download free software that guarantees to fix your specific problem, download and play free games. Searching for resolutions to common computer errors and believing that all the results on the search page are reliable. If you have a problem with a specific program: MS Office, QuickBooks, Adobe, and then you should contact that manufacturer or you local computer service center.
Q: How can I avoid being infected?
A: While there is no way to repel 100% of infections a little common sense can help. Have a good Internet Security Software - Norton, McAfee, etc. If you have one of those software's installed then it will inform you of most infections and vulnerabilities. If you receive a message stating that an infection has been found it should only be presented by the software program which you have purchased installed.
Q: Do free Antivirus software's work
A: There are many free, highly rated, Antivirus software's. Keep in mind that these software's only protect from viruses and some spy-ware and ad-ware. They do not look for vulnerabilities and usually do not have a firewall to protect from hackers
Q: What if I get a call from Microsoft saying they found errors on my computer?
A: Hang up!! Microsoft doesn't even know you have one. Microsoft, Apple and any other software company will never call you to warn you of an impending issue. These companies have millions of clients and not enough support staff to contact them all. However if you register a software product than the manufacturer will email you information (good or bad) relative to that specific product at most. See Hoaxes below.
Q: Are SSD (Solid State Drives) better then IDE (Old style, electro-mechanical).
A: Yes. They are faster, they consume less power for longer battery life. The only present (2015) downside is that when they fail they are practically impossible to recover data from as the fail similar to a light bulb: dead is dead. Electro-mechanical drives fail over time and since they use magnetic data storage they typically fail over time. Additionally those drive will usually provide signs of failure and can almost alway be recovered. So backup your data.
Q: Should I creat recovery Disks for my computer.
A: YES! Now more then ever. With the release of windows 8 & 10 computers are not coming with recovery media. If you have to replace the harddrive and reinstall to Windows OS you can spend upto $80 for the manufacturer to send you one.
Most BSOD (blue screen of death) errors indicate hardware failure and should be taken seriously. If possible back your data up immediately.
External hard-drives and flash-drives are electronic components and can fail without any warning. You should consider an online backup service as well or redundant personal storage.