5 Common Computer Myths Debunked

Content provided by our partner Tom Bull, Two River Computer ~

Common urban myths would have us believe alligators live in sewers or people put razor blades in kids’ candy. Common misconceptions about computers are just as persistent. Here are several IT myths debunked for your benefit:

#1 A slow-running computer has a virus 

A virus can be to blame. Spyware or other malware can also cause a computer to slow down. However, there are also many other reasons your computer might run slower: 

  • You may have a lot of programs that start up when you boot up the computer. You could remove or disable programs that start every time.  
  • The computer has gone into power save mode every night, but you haven’t rebooted the computer in a long time.   We recommend restarting your computer once a week to keep it running well.
  • There are many programs running in the background. On a Windows PC, you can go into task manager and see what is running and the computer resources in use.  
  • A security utility is running. If it’s an antivirus scanner, let the scan finish first, then see if your computer speed improves. Routine scans are necessary to maintain security, but when they run on older computers it can really slow them down while it’s running.
  • Temporary files or other junk are taking up too much hard drive space. Your computer needs at least 200–500MB of free space on the hard drive to be able to move and manage files.  An annual clean-up or tune-up should ensure that you don’t have too little free space to operate properly.
  • Your computer doesn’t have enough RAM to run programs within memory. If your computer has to swap information on the hard drive to get enough memory to run programs, it’s going to work slower. Computers with only 4gb of RAM these days fall into this category.  8gb is almost a must and more is always better.
  • The computer is old. You may need to upgrade to a computer that can handle current software needs without slowing to a snail’s pace.  Or you can upgrade what you have by adding a fast SSD hard disk to replace your older mechanical hard drive. That can keep your computer running super-fast and keep it out of the landfill.

#2 Macs don’t get viruses

Many Apple owners believe their Macintosh computers are immune to viruses. Not true! Macs do get viruses and can get malware infections; they are simply targeted less than PCs. Why? There are many more computers running Windows, which means a bigger, easier target for cybercriminals. 

As Apple’s market share rises, the threat to Macs is growing. Apple works to protect its users from malware, but you still need to use caution with downloads and when clicking on links from unknown sources.  

#3 My Windows registry needs cleaning up

Registry cleaning companies will say that scanning your Windows registry can speed up the computer and avoid error messages. The cleaner finds unused registry keys and any malware remnants for removal.  

But let’s consider the fact that Microsoft has not released its own registry cleaner. Why not? Because it’s really not necessary. Worse still, going in to clean your registry (when you don’t know what you’re doing) can actually do serious damage.  This was an issue years ago back when Windows 98 and Windows XP were still prevalent, but it’s no longer the case.

#4 My laptop battery needs to be dead before I recharge if I want it to last longer

This was once true. Nickel-cadmium batteries suffered from what was called a “memory effect.” If discharged and recharged to the same point several times, they would remember that point in the future and not go further. 

Now, however, laptops typically come with lithium-ion (or Li-ion) batteries. They don’t suffer from this memory effect. In fact, they function better with partial discharge instead of letting the battery run down to zero.  We still recommend that new laptops should fully discharge and recharge 3 times when you first start using them to increase battery life.

#5 I don’t have anything hackers would want 

Cybersecurity should be a priority for everyone, not only large companies and government agencies. Let’s put it this way:

  • Do you have any money?  
  • Do you have an identity that cybercriminals could use to access money or sell for money? 
  • Do you work anywhere?

Hackers have all kinds of ways to profit from your data or from hijacking your computer’s processing power. They can turn your computer into part of a bot network or use your information as a bridge into a business target’s system.

Keep all your computers at top speed with the best security measures in place with the help of our experts.

Contact us today at (732) 747-0020 or visit www.tworivercomputer.com

120 Fair Haven Road    Fair Haven, NJ 07704

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