House cleaning, spring cleaning, cleanup days – the concepts give Seniorita the creeps. It’s not that I’m hopelessly messy, although some might agree with that assessment. It’s that “cleaning” seems to me a huge waste of time. Why in the world would I want to scrub a floor when I could do almost anything else?
Turns out, my aversion can have catastrophic results in the technology world. Computers need cleanups and they need them often. One of my friends, a retired IT chief and an engineer, recommends cleanup as a daily routine or one followed every time you log on if you’re not a daily user.
Use it or lose it
Brian Krebs, an expert on internet security, discusses and explains three rules for online security in a great post His Rule #2 is particularly applicable: If you installed it, update it. Says Krebs: “Bad guys are constantly attacking flaws in widely-installed software products, such as JAVA, Adobe PDF Reader, Flash and Quicktime. The vendors that make these products ship updates to fix security bugs several times a year, so it’s important to update to the latest version of these products as soon as possible.”
And, if you’ve installed software and no longer need it or use it, remove it. Leaving software active for longer than you need it creates opportunities for miscreants to damage your computer with viruses.
As to deleting these programs, be sure you uninstall them. Simply deleting the icon of the program only deletes the shortcut to start the program. To really remove the program, you need to uninstall it. The steps for this are different for a MAC than for a PC. These links will help you clean up a PC or a Mac.
Free up space
Free up data space by deleting files and emails that you no longer need. You probably, for example, don’t need to keep the email that notified you that your order for chocolate truffles has shipped long after you’ve eaten the truffles. If you’re sick of junk mail, you might want to unsubscribe from companies you don’t want to hear from. At the bottom of these emails, a link usually tells you how to unsubscribe to these lists.
Then there’s the issue of what to do if you want to donate your computer, pass it on to a friend or relative or recycle it through a community trash day. You certainly need to make sure that sensitive data on your hard drive doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Don’t assume that deleting a file is enough to safeguard your personal information. And, deleting isn’t as easy as it sounds. Some good tips on protecting yourself can be found at here. There are services that will do the deed for you, most often with a fee. You can also buy software to do the cleanup. However you choose to do it, make sure you do it!
October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Go to www.staysafe.org for some great tips and information.