Frequently Asked Questions (Part 2)
Q) My computer keeps wanting me to do updates. What should I do?
A) Generally speaking, you want to stay up to date when it comes to regular software updates. The most common ones you will get notifications for will be applications like Java and Adobe Reader, as well as the Operating Systems itself (Windows.) The reason for all this is that hackers are constantly looking for new ways to exploit and compromise people’s computers, and the companies that write the software they are trying to hack need to counteract those activities by patching the vulnerabilities out of the applications. The only way to facilitate that is through regular updates over the Internet. So next time you see a notification that Windows or Java need to be updated, we highly recommend you do so, unless you use a line-of-business application that is dependent on an older version of Java or something.
Q) What’s the best antivirus to use?
A) This is a fairly common question that you might get a different answer to depending on who you ask. The most important thing to know is that you shouldn’t have to pay money for antivirus software! When new computers are sold at stores like Best Buy, they typically come with one of the paid options pre-installed. This is not to benefit the consumer, and it’s not because they are better! Those antivirus companies paid the computer manufacturer to put that on there because they know that some end users will renew the free trial that was included with the machine. There are plenty of completely free alternatives that are just as good. Currently, we prefer AVAST Free Antivirus, although performance of the various solutions can vary with each passing year. Another competitor may become available in the future that’s better (meaning it’s better at catching malware without using more resources.) So do a little research before choosing an Antivirus solution, but do not pay for it, whatever you choose! Other free options that we like are Bitdefender and Panda Cloud Antivirus.
Q) My friend/relative is a “techie.” should I let them fix my computer to save money?
A) We love saving money as much as the next person. I’d prefer to let my brother-in-law do all the repairs on my vehicles instead of taking them to a shop to save on expenses. I also know how much experience he has with working on cars, and that he regularly moonlights as a paid mechanic even though it isn’t his day job. That said, we would only suggest letting a friend or family member work on your computer(s) if they either 1) do it as a day job already, 2) have one or more certifications in the industry (Microsoft or CompTIA are the most common), or 3) already have a number of customers that pay them to work on their computers. Basically, you want to make sure they have a track record of working on computers successfully so you can avoid having to end up taking it to an expensive repair shop to fix what they did. The same rules would apply for someone who you find on craigslist or in the paper to do computer work for you.