Below are a few Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) prepared by JCS Computing.
As it would not be feasible or possible to cover all FAQs, please link to the JCS Computing’s Facebook Page and post any IT-related questions you have on the wall, and I will endeavour to respond within one business day. The Facebook page also has weekly posts relating to IT/Technology news and other JCS Computing updates.
Is free antivirus software sufficient?
Mostly yes, free antivirus software such as AVG Free and Microsoft Security Essentials have the same virus scanning engine as the purchased products. The main difference being, is often they do not have as many features or components and no end user support. For most people, this should be sufficient as long as they are aware of the software limitations. I would not recommend free antivirus software for businesses as this may be in breach the software license agreement and businesses should make use of the extra features and support provided by vendors.
Can my computer be infected by a virus if I have antivirus software installed?
Yes, most antivirus software only protects against between 80 and 95% of viruses or malware. This means you still have to be careful when opening attachments and clicking on links. A bit of common sense also comes into play. I use the analogy, anti-malware is like a lock on a door, just because it is locked does not mean no-one can break in.
Is it good practice to run multiple antivirus programs simultaneously?
No, you only require one antivirus (or security) program running. Having multiple, may cause them to conflict, decreasing the effectiveness of the software and dramatically impacting on the performance of your computer.
How do I backup my important files?
If you only require the occasional backup, manually copying your important files (e.g. Pictures, Documents, Music, etc.) to an external hard drive or disk will suffice. When using this method, it is best to create a folder referencing the date each time you perform a backup.
For those who require more regular/scheduled backups, there’s some great software out there that will do all the hard work for you. These include Microsoft Backup and Restore which comes with Windows, EaseUS Todo Backup Free which is excellent and free for the basic version, and Acronis True Image which is also a great product. These software packages take advantage of scheduling and different backup schemes to efficiently utilise time and space.
How often should I backup?
To answer this question, one should ask, “How much can I afford to lose?” The longer time between backups, the more potential there is for disaster especially if you are generating a lot of important files. For example, if you can afford to lose up to a month’s worth of data, you should be backing up at least monthly but if a highly sensitive business can only afford to lose an hour’s worth, they should be backing up hourly. Most people by nature do not backup near enough. This leaves them open to loss of important files and at worst, they may never be able to retrieve them.
What effect does the accumulation of excessive dust inside my PC have?
Excessive dust in a computer acts like an insulator which can cause your computer to run hotter than specified, often resulting in unexpected shutdowns or hardware malfunction. This is particularly the case if there is excessive dust in the CPU heat sync which acts like a sweater not allowing the heat to escape.
Contact JCS Computing to have your computer professionally cleaned.
Should I purchase a PC or Mac?
Nowadays the hardware in PCs and Macs have many similarities, with most internal components consisting of the same make and architecture. In 2006, for example, Mac discontinued the use of PowerPC processors and replaced them with Intel processors using the same architectures found in PCs. Based on these observations, the gap between PCs and Macs is closing, and as a result, today Macs are more compatible and upgradable than ever. The main difference though, still lies in the Operating System (OS) and applications.
The Mac Operating System, currently OS X, has always been renounced for its stability and reliability. This is brought about by Apple being very stringent from the ground up. From the base hardware level through to the applications, Apple have very fine control. This is achieved by only supporting certain subsets of hardware and ensuring high quality applications are developed on all levels. The phrase “It just works” is appropriate when referring to Apple products. This level of polish ensure Macs run with the stability and efficiently and makes them ideal for specific roles such as a graphic artist.
PCs on the other hand, are more flexible especially on a software level. Just about any application will run on a PC which gives the user greater flexibility to perform the required tasks at hand. In addition to the flexibility, the later versions of the Windows OS, are also very stable, once again bridging the gap between PCs and Macs. The applications may not seem as polished, but PCs support far more applications than Macs, and Windows is much more synonymous with computing in the modern world. Another plus is that PCs are generally cheaper than Macs.
Whether you use a PC or a Mac there is always going to be a learning curve moving from one to the other, but for someone who has not had exposure to both, learning to use a Mac should be easier. Ultimately, the choice is a matter of personal/business requirements and preference.