This modern era can be rather daunting, especially for those who are unfamiliar with computers. Almost everything has gone the way of digitalisation. Computer systems are used for virtually everything, from schooling, to remote learning, to daily tasks, such as watching movies, shopping online etc.
Those individuals that are very adept with computers are the ones that excel over everyone else. The good thing is that learning computers to at least a basic level, isn’t so difficult. All you need is to put in the required effort, and you should be able to familiarize yourself with the many applications.
Below are 11 tips designed to help the computer beginner!
1. Use Anti-Spyware Software
Malicious software such as adware, spyware and other tracking software will infiltrate your system and send personal information about you to its creator. This information will then be used to learn about your internet habits. The motives behind this can vary, in some instances, this data will simply be used to personalise the advertisement sent to your system, whereas in other instances, it could be used to steal confidential information, such as pin numbers and passwords.
2. Use Strong Passwords
One of the easiest kinds of cybercrimes are those that involve accessing accounts by guessing the users passwords. This is only possible on accounts that have weak passwords. Having the same password across all your accounts, whether it be gaming, social media, forums or email accounts, can be very dangerous, this is further compounded when the end user opts for a weak password, as opposed to a more complex one.
3. Always Back-Up Your Data
One mistake and probably the biggest that an end user can make, is to not backup their most important data. There are hundreds of ways that you can do this, which means there’s no excuse why you shouldn’t. The most effective way for you to back up your data is through the use of a USB drive, simply backup your files to this source, as a bare minimum, that way you’ll have data to recover, in case of a breach.
4. Use Antivirus Software
Computer viruses, that are becoming more and more sophisticated by the hour, are on the prowl, looking to infiltrate and compromise your system. Oftentimes a consumer may fall victim to a virus that was designed to disrupt large networks of businesses. When you visit untrusted websites or open unknown attachments, you leave your system, potentially vulnerable to an attack. To combat this, you’ll want to carry out regular scans of your system, using an antivirus scanner. There are many options for you to choose from. You can either purchase one or go with the built-in solution, provided by Microsoft Windows.
5. Learn Microsoft Office
Microsoft Office comes with a wide set of features, tools and programs that are applicable in all spaces, whether it be school, work or home. If you’re unfamiliar with Microsoft Office or not up to par, then you should consider maybe taking a course on it, just to increase your capabilities.
6. Know How to Take Screenshots
For those who are new to computers, you may think taking a screenshot is a very difficult, if not complex task. But in reality it’s fairly simple. Just press the Print Screen button on your keyboard, then paste it to a photo editing software like Paint.
7. Avoid Dodgy Websites
If you come across a website that has an excessive number of pop-ups or click bait headlines that should be a sign that there is more than meets the eyes. Do you see a lot of advertisements for free products? Well, you can never be too sure, as anything worth its salt typically costs money. That’s not to say you can’t find good free products, but often times, they won’t work or run as well as paid solutions.
What about those on Mac computers? Well, Apple systems are typically touted as being free of viruses and spyware, despite that, there are still many issues that one may encounter, with these problems increasing by the day. Many of the tips highlighted above should also apply, with slight discrepancies, given the difference in the operating systems.
8. Clean Up Your System
This is a very important step, and one that should be repeated over and over until it sinks in. In most cases, the problems that you encounter on your system are due to things you’re doing on it. By taking the time to clean out old files while organising your new ones, not only does this improve its performance, but it should also minimise potential errors, data corruption, while keeping you up to speed on where everything is located on your system.
Making sure your system is operating optimally is a responsibility that you must take on, and one that is ongoing. Fortunately there are many maintenance tools that you can invest in and set to automatically run, whether it be per week, month or quarterly. You set whatever schedule works best for you. So, for longevity sake, I suggest you start your maintenance efforts today.
9. Learn At Your Own Pace
When learning about the different elements of your computer system, this is something you want to do at your own speed. Don’t let the pace of others put you off or down. Depending on your knowledge base or personal background, this may or may not have an adverse effect on your ability to learn computers – so you should always look at it as more of a personal journey, rather than a general one.
10. Disk Defragmentation
When you defragment your hard drive, it arranges all the data on the drive so that it is easier and quicker for the system to access. The immediate benefit to this, is faster loading times. So this is something you may want to look into, for those on older HDD. New SSDs are becoming more and more commonplace, however, it’ll be some time before they replace older drives, given the price differences.
11. Learn Technical Terms
When you begin your computer learning journey, you’ll want to ensure you learn all the appropriate technical terms. Terms like data, which refers to information, or program, which could be a set of instructions utilised by your system.
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website: