10 things every computer user should know how to do, complete with the Lifehacker guides that show you how. Whether you’re a tech nerd or feel completely lost with computers, these are useful for everyone.
No matter how tech savvy you are, there are certain things every one of us has to deal with when using a computer—and we don’t always deal with them in the most efficient ways. Here are 10 things that everyone can (and should) learn to keep their computer fast, safe, and easy to use.
Here at Lifehacker, we take a lot of the simpler stuff for granted: how to avoid viruses, use keyboard shortcuts, or even keep your data backed up. Even if you’ve mastered all of these tricks (and there’s a good chance you haven’t), you may want to send this along to some of your less computer-savvy friends. After all, the more they know how to do, the less they’ll call you for help. If you’re looking for some more advanced tricks, we’ve got them for you here.
Keep Your PC Free of Crap
Ever wonder how that Yahoo toolbar got on your system, or why there’s so much junk installed on your brand new machine? Crapware is a huge problem in the world of Windows, but that doesn’t mean you have to take it lying down. With the right tools and a little know-how, you can avoid that crapware forevermore: just uninstall the stuff that came with your system, and learn the ways companies trick you into installing stuff you don’t want. You’ll keep that system nice and clean, and beat the scammers at their own game.
Keep Your Personal Information Safe and Secure
Unfortunately, the internet isn’t always a safe place, which means everyone needs to make sure they’re keeping their personal information safe. Make sure you use strong passwords, remove personal information from photos and other files, and never use open public Wi-Fi networks without protection. Keeping your personal information safe is easier than it sounds, and if you aren’t sure what to do, check out our checklist for staying safe online. You’d be surprised how unsafe you were being before.
Set Up a Simple Backup System
We all know we should back up our computers, but it’s always one of those things that you’ll set up “one day”. Setting up a backup only takes minutes, though, so you can do it right now and forget about it until you need it—and when you do need it, you’ll be glad you set it up. If you’re just backing up to an external drive, you can just use the simple tools built into your computers, like Windows Backup or Apple’s Time Machine. However, that’ll only keep you safe if your computer fails. If you lose your home in a fire, get all your gear stolen, or experience any other kind of disaster (God forbid), you’ll have lost all those important documents, family photos, and other files forever. So, we recommend using a service like CrashPlan to back up your computer online. That way, it can back up no matter where you are, and that data will be safe no matter what happens to your hardware.