St. John Tradewinds News

Gigi-Gadget Guy By Conan Duke

Gigi-Gadget Guy's 3 Easy Steps To a Healthy PC

PC owners are no strangers to viruses, worms, spyware and “bots.” Over the past 15 years, guarding PCs against these software-based threats has grown into a multi-billion dollar a year industry. The problem has gotten so out of hand that some tech-pundits have actually accused the computer security industry of being the true culprits behind the glut of malicious software plaguing the internet.
For government agencies and companies doing business online, dealing with threats like these can be a costly expense. Fortunately, there are a few very simple steps that the home-user can follow to insure their computers don’t get sick:

1) Download a good, FREE Virus Scanner:
(Gigi Gadget Guy recommends: Avira AntiVir PersonalEdition Classic)
Contrary to popular belief, the most effective antivirus scanners on the market are not the ones that charge $135 for a one-year subscription, but rather the ones that don’t cost anything at all. This program has found and removed viruses on my machine that other virus-scanners did not even recognize as potential threats. Highly recommended!

2) Download a good, FREE Spyware Scanner / Remover:
(Gigi Gadget Guy recommends: Spybot Search & Destroy)
Once again, completely free of charge. Spybot Search & Destroy is hands-down the most effective tool for removing spyware from your system and it does not cost a dime. However, if you use this program with any regularity (a necessary step to keeping your computer clean), you are encouraged to make a donation.

3) Defrag, Defrag, Defrag
I cannot put enough emphasis on the importance of defragmenting your hard-drive on a semi-regular basis. Don’t be put off by the name. It sounds a bit complicated, but defragmenting your hard disk is easy. Defragmenting refers to optimizing the drive’s raw data (bits and bytes). This data can become disorganized or “fragmented” over time. To remedy this, most of you will be able to find the disk defrag program by clicking on the Start button, then choosing (All) Programs, Accessories, System Tools, and finally clicking on the Disk Defragmenter. If you have any trouble finding it, simply click on Start, then Help. Click on the Search tab and type in the word “defragment.” The computer will give you a link to the defrag program.

I literally defragment my system every time that I install a large application like Office or Photoshop — or whenever I move large blocks of data (over 500MB) on or off of my Windows drive (the drive — usually C — that Windows is installed on). This ensures the OS can always find what it’s looking for and greatly reduces the chance of those annoying crashes and freezes.