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Below I have listed several of the most common mistakes that novice computer users make, and the various steps that one should take to avoid them.
Not Backing Up Their System
One of the biggest and most common mistakes that many end users are guilty of making is not backing up their personal data. Today, there are so many different methods that one can deploy, in order to do this, such as backup software, external hard drives, USB sticks, etc.
Not Using Antivirus Software
Another mistake that beginners tend to make is to operate their systems without antivirus software installed and running on them. There are so many internet security programs available on the internet, many of which are free to use (such as AVG Free), so there is no reason why anyone should risk infecting their machine, by surfing the internet without one.
Turning the Computer Off Incorrectly
With so many people accustomed to using SmartPhones and Tablets, many of these users are unfamiliar with the correct way to shut down a computer. When you have finished using your computer, before anything else, you should save your work, close down any programs (though not a necessity), then click on Shut Down, in the Start menu.
Opening Email Attachments
One of the most common ways of infecting a system with a virus is through an email attachment. Many computer beginners tend to make the mistake of opening the attachments from unsolicited emails. Before opening an attachment, it’s very important that firstly, you know who the sender is and secondly, you know what the attachment is. Random emails with attachments in them are almost always a virus, irrespective of the sender.
Not Updating the Operating System
Your computer’s operating system continues to evolve, even after you’ve purchased it through the addition of various updates, so it’s very important that you keep everything up-to-date, for that reason alone. The second reason is because of hackers who are constantly looking for weak spots in these operating systems that they can exploit. The developers are, fortunately aware of this, which is why they are constantly releasing new security updates to plug up these weak spots, this is why it’s so important you conduct regularly update checks.
Purchasing Incompatible Hardware
An issue that even intermediate users are guilty of making is the acquisition of incompatible hardware. One thing you should keep in mind before you purchase anything for your computer is that not all hardware is compatible with it. Thus, you should always check the hardware requirements of any device or component you have your eyes set on purchasing.
Using Weak Passwords
Any account that you make is only as secure as the password you use to protect it. Many beginners make the mistake of using the same password for their Gmail, PayPal, eBay, Hotmail and iTunes accounts. Such situations can be further compounded by the end user using a simple-to-guess password like “4321”. Because of their easiness to guess, this makes them highly vulnerable to brute force attacks. It’s always best to use a strong password of at least 8 characters and mix numbers and special characters in there. It’s also best to user different passwords or at least variations of your password for each account.
Drinking near Their Computers
A mistake that we’re all guilty of doing is placing a glass of water near our electronics. One thing we should all be cognizant of is that water is capable of permanently damaging the physical components in our computer systems, which is why it simply isn’t worth the risk. So take caution, when consuming any sort of beverages near your computer.
Downloading Bad Software
Another very common way of getting a virus on your computer is to mistakenly download a fake program and install it on your computer. The types of viruses that get on your computer through this manner tend to be the most severe, prohibiting normal system functionality. Thus, it’s very important that you only download software from reputable sources.
Not Reading Agreements
Many end users, especially beginners tend to make the mistake of clicking on Next without reading what exactly they are agreeing to. Make sure you take the time to read any prompts that popup on your screen, as you don’t want to mistakenly install a browser toolbar, or some other software that is of little to no use to you.
Clicking on Advertisements on Download Pages
A very common tactic deployed by certain website owners is to fill a download page with ads in hopes that the end user will mistakenly click on one, instead of the correct download link. Probably something we’ve all done at least once, because of how seamless these site owners are able to integrate these ads onto their pages. That said you should always double check or even triple check, before clicking on anything, as you do not want to install a virus on your computer.
Not Saving Their Work
It’s very important you ensure your work is being saved automatically by the program. If the program does not have such a feature, then it’s up to you to regularly save your work, after at most intervals of 10 – 15 minutes, this way, if your computer crashes or loses power (for some reason), you will never lose more than 15 minutes of your work.