Myths are everywhere. They're pretty much a fact of life these days. Computers are no exception and we often see people coming through the shop who aren't quite sure what to believe when it comes to what's good or bad for their computers and other devices. Today, we're going to tackle the top 5 most common myths we see in circulation.
- A slow-running computer has a virus
While it's possible a virus can be to blame, there are also many other reasons your computer might run slower which are much more common:
- Startup items: Startup items are programs that start and run when the computer first boots up. Often times these programs run in the background and are hardly interacted with but still take up valuable computer resources which can slow things down. Removing or disabling these programs from starting can provide immediate results, especially during or just after start up.
- Lack of reboots: You may be putting your computer into sleep or hibernation mode each night so that it wakes up faster when you do go to use it. However, it's important to restart your computer every once in a while so the computers resources can be flushed. We normally recommend restarting at least once a week. Keep in mind with newer versions of Windows (8.1 and 10 specifically), you must choose restart in order to fully restart the system.
- Anti-Virus Scans: Some AV scanners will cause a computer to come to a crawl. Unfortunately this is a bit of a catch-22 because you want the scanner to run but you would also rather it not make your computer unusable. If you find that your AV is causing the issue, it may be time to look for an alternative that is lighter and more efficient.
- Lack of RAM: While this one isn't quite the problem it used to be, it's still worth checking to see if you are using up all of your computers RAM during usage. RAM is a special type of computer memory that it uses to keep things running smoothly. Not having enough RAM will cause slowdowns as the computer then has to use less efficient means of retrieving information.
- It's just old: Last but not least, it's possible that it's just time for an upgrade. While computers themselves don't necessarily slow down as they age, the software and content that runs on them does advance with increased requirements to run. A computer from 2006 will run 2006 content just fine, but in 2019 it's definitely going to struggle.
File this one under "majorly false". Many Apple owners believe their Macintosh computers are immune to viruses. If only. Macs do get viruses; they are simply targeted less than PCs. Why? There are many more computers running Windows, which means a bigger, easier target for cyber-criminals.
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.
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.
Now this isn't to say that problems in the registry won't cause errors or other issues, but "cleaning" it with an automated program is not typically going to resolve these issues. Instead, you should have your system looked at by a professional who knows what they're doing with the registry and will take the proper precautions to ensure you don't end up worse off than you started.
Back in the day, this was actually true and still is with some cordless home phone systems. Nickel-cadmium (or "Ni-Cad") batteries suffer from what is 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. This would essentially "drop" their capacity and the battery would need to be replaced.
Now, however, laptops and cell phones 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 all the way down.
We're saving the best one for last and hoo-boy this one is the granddaddy of them all. Lets start by asking you three simple questions:
- Do you have money?
- Do you work/have a job?
- Are you a person?
If you answered "yes" to even one of those questions, and we're pretty sure you answered "yes" to that last one, then you definitely have something that hackers want.
Here's the thing: Hackers have all kinds of ways to profit from you or 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. If you exist at all you're at risk of having your identity stolen and used to purchase or apply for things.
Cybersecurity should be a priority for everyone, not just businesses or sprawling enterprises. And as such it needs to be taken seriously by everyone, young or old, rich or poor. Not paying attention to it or protecting yourself isn't just playing with fire nowdays, it's jumping head-first into an inferno.
So that's our top 5 myths we see most often. Hopefully you've learned something today and if you have any more myths that you'd like to see busted, drop us a note.