New Year's Resolutions

Top New Year's Resolutions for Computer Users

I will make backups of my data! A month? Two months? How much lost data would you want to recreate if your machine crashed? A CD or DVD burner, a USB thumb drive, an external hard drive or even a "cloud" backup location can be used to store a copy of your data....LEARN HOW & USE IT BEFORE YOU LOSE DATA! It can happen at any time ... to anyone.

I will keep my software and operating system up-to-date! Your operating system (Windows, etc.) must obtain regular automatic updates to repair security flaws and programming errors - but you MUST be connected to the web and you MUST allow the updates to be installed! Review your Windows Update settings in the Control Panel to be certain that your Windows files are current and secure. Nearly all of your programs also need regular updates and possibly an upgrade too. An easy way to manage all of these necessary updates is with Secunia Personal Software Inspector. You can read all about it and download it from CNET.COM

I will update and run my antivirus software at least weekly! Your antivirus software is only as good as the latest update that it has gotten ... must allow it to RUN or SCAN regularly to look for and disable any infections! Antivirus software is essential - but installing more than one can create havoc--more is definitely NOT better when it comes to antivirus programs!

I will check for malware on my machine at least weekly! Malwarebytes is THE favorite tool for techs when removing malware. This FREE (avoid the trial version) software is available at CNET.COM, use the search utility to locate it, read all about it, download and install it.

I will update ALL of my passwords! How often? If you can gather the intestinal fortitude...twice a year. Here are some guidelines for creating a strong password:

• Use at least eight characters, the more characters the better really, but most people will find anything more than about 15 characters difficult to remember.

• Use the first letter of each word from a line of a song or poem or sentence.

• Use a random mixture of characters, upper and lower case, numbers, punctuation, spaces and symbols.

• Don't use a word found in a dictionary, English or foreign.

• Never use the same password twice.

• has uppercase letters;

• has lowercase letters;

• has numbers;

• has symbols, such as ` ! " ? $ ? % ^ & * ( ) _ - + = { [ } ] : ; @ ' ~ # | \ . ? /

• is not like your previous passwords;

• is not your name;

• is not your login;

• is not your friend's or a pets name;

• is not your family member's name;

• is not a dictionary word;

• is not a common name;

• is not a keyboard pattern, such as qwerty, asdfghjkl, or 12345678.

I will TEST the strength of my passwords! You can Google "How Secure Is My Password" or go to

CNET.COM has a great article of Password Commandments available - search for "Password Commandments" in the CNET search utility on the CNET.COM web site.

I will attend the FREE meetings and classes at the Verde Valley Computer Club to learn more about keeping my computer safe and happy in 2013! Come and visit us at sometime and see why "Users Helping Users" has been our motto since 1987!

Submitted by Jody Wheeler


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