It’s all too often that people ask me “I’ve had this machine for a couple of years now, and it’s running really slowly. Should I just replace it?” My general response is No
If your machine is only a couple of years old then there is no reason why it shouldn’t last several more with a little care and attention, which is why I have put together a list of some of the things that you can do yourself to keep it running.
Note: These items are aimed at home machines/users, but can equally apply to offices.
Are you safe?
Before you start any maintenance, you need to be sure that your machine is protected from external threats.
A lot of home users use either free antivirus software, or packages like Norton or McAfee, as these are the ones that come up during conversations with friends or are advertised in the press.
Free -v- Purchased
The old adage of ‘you get what you pay for’ is certainly true in this instance. There are a number of free packages that provide a certain level of protection, but they are primarily designed to lure you in so that you purchase the full version. In order for them to do that, some of the protection items aren’t included so your system isn’t as well covered as you may think.
I can recommend the offering from Sophos, primarily as they are a leading security developer for the business sector, so they know what they are doing. Their Sophos Home software allows you to install and manage up to 10 machines from one account. Yes – you can actually manage the install from a Dashboard, and this includes Parental Controls!
Conversely, some of the paid for packages are a little too ‘bloaty’ – i.e. they have a really nice user interface, with lots of colourful buttons and they constantly feel the need to tell you when they’ve done something – almost as though it’s expecting a reward for doing it’s job!! Once again, this comes at a price, and that is the performance of your machine.
In regard to paid solutions, I can recommend (and personally use) Eset Smart Security. Eset have been around for a long time and consistently get top results in the independent tests that are done on antivirus packages. If you are interest in this package, please get in touch and we will be happy to provide a price.
There is often some confusion about this, as most people see malware the same as a virus – it isn’t. Malware is the generic term for ALL of the unwanted software, including viruses. However, a virus scanner typically won’t pick up all malware. For this reason we always recommend a periodic scan (maybe once a month) of your machine with a program called Malwarebytes.
Yes – this is a free package, and it will try and persuade you to get the premium version. However, it is one of the only malware scanners that we can honestly recommend, as many others try and push other products on you that make your machine worse (typically – Registry Cleaners, PC Speed Boosters, etc.).