What NOT to do with your Computer

Published: Friday, January 19, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 15, 2007 at 12:02 p.m.

Computers are more complicated than the bearded lady at the circus freak show; they have so many different aspects competing for your attention that its hard to keep track of what is going on. So to help you keep your machine running clean, here's an idea of what you shouldn't be doing.

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Know who is using your computer and what they are putting on it.

AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

1. Don't carry your computer around in standby. If you drop it and it's on, the chances of hard drive recovery are very slim.

2. Don't try to use bit torrent or media downloading programs in the dorms. It will be detected and your Internet connection will be shut down. Even if you are not using the program, if it is on your computer it will be detected.

3. Don't let viruses and spyware choke your machine. Download virus and spyware scanners and run them weekly. You can get this software for free at www.download.com.

4. Don't let your friends download programs onto your computer. If you don't know what they did, it's harder to solve the problem when your computer starts running slowly or won't start up at all.

5. Don't let Dell own you. There are a lot of extra programs on Dell computers that slow you down and take up space. Get rid of any programs you don't use.

6. Don't click on every pop-up that appears on the screen. Many websites carry harmful adware or spyware that can damage and slow down your computer.

7. Many people leave their computers running at all times and never restart. This causes your computer to run slower because a lot of processes build up. Restart your computer at least once a week.

8. Don't let your browser get choked up. Whether you use Firefox or Internet Explorer, clear your cache and cookies regularly. This keeps the browser running smoothly.

9. Food near the computer is a bad idea. Sticky keyboards, fried laptops and ant infestations can all result from the Mountain Dew that came out your nose while watching a YouTube video. If you do spill, gently clean with a slightly damp paper towel, and dry with a hairdryer.

10. Working outside is great, and part of the reason you own a laptop. But be careful of exposure to direct sunlight for extended periods. This can mess up your screen and fry your hard drive.

There you go. Keep in mind that the University of Florida has a Computing Help Desk which can help with most of your problems.

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