Hi friends, the following is an article that I originally wrote for staff I work with to help ensure that their computers are running well. It outlines what I think are good practices rather you are involved in ministry or not, however since this blog is geared towards others who are involved in student ministries I thought I would share it here as well.
Computer maintenance is important. Whether you use a Mac or a PC, there are some things that need to be done to keep your computer in optimal running condition, and to ease the urgency of computer crises’ in the future when things do go wrong. Below I have three different sections; Windows Users, Mac Users, and Firefox/Web Browsers/Backup information (which is for both Mac and Windows users) talking about things that I encourage people to do to help maintain their computers, and help prevent them from having some common problems.
To get things started, for the windows users, I encourage you to use CCleaner, to delete unnecessary files and keep your computer running more efficiently. If you don’t already have CCleaner installed on your computer you can get it by going to this link http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download and installing it after you download it. To run it there are two things I encourage you to do at least once a month. The first is run the file cleaner (for instructions on how to do this go here http://www.piriform.com/docs/ccleaner/using-ccleaner/cleaning-your-pc/cleaning-your-pc) and to run the registry cleaner as well (instructions here http://www.piriform.com/docs/ccleaner/using-ccleaner/registry-cleaning). When you clean the registry I encourage you to fix all of the selected issues that CCleaner finds.
This is a program that finds and eliminates malicious software on your computer. It detects things that traditional antivirus doesn’t detect, and it is often the easiest way to remove malicious software from your computer, even when antivirus programs can’t. You can install the free version of this program by going here http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/anti-virus/malwarebytes-anti-malware. This is another program that I encourage you to run once a month, or whenever you suspect that you might have a virus. For instructions on how to run Malwarebytes, go here http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/virus-removal/how-to-use-malwarebytes-anti-malware-tutorial.
There are a few different antivirus’ that people often use. I encourage you to make sure your antivirus is scheduled to run at least once a week. If you do not have antivirus installed, one of my favorite free ones is Microsoft Security Essentials, which you can download through windows update from Microsoft, or by going here http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/.
Just like windows users, your operating system also takes maintenance to keep it running well. For Mac users, there is a program that I encourage you to use to keep your computer in good shape. It is called Main Menu, and many of you probably have already heard of it (especially if you are more tech savvy). I encourage you to run all of the batch tasks this program has at least once a month. You can go to http://incrediblebee.com/mainmenu for more information on getting this software.
Firefox/Web Browsers/Backup information
Firefox, Chrome, and other browsers, what should I use?
Over the last few years you have probably been encouraged by others to use Firefox instead of Internet Explorer (or possibly even over Safari). So first of all, for those of you who use Firefox, it is worth mentioning that a new version of Firefox came out recentally which according to reviews, is much faster than the previous version, so I would encourage you to download Firefox 4 for a better browsing experience.
In addition, we are reaching a point and time where most web browsers work equally well for personal browsing, and as long as you are using the latest version of your browser. In fact, Lifehacker has said a lot of positive things about the newest Internet Explorer, which has typically been the browser to avoid in the past. I do encourage you to check to make sure your browser(s) is up to date at least once a month, for the best and most secure browsing experience possible.
I also encourage you to be backing up your computer, and there are a few different ways you can do this. If you already are backing up to an external hard-drive, I encourage you to do this at least once a month. However, it is best to do it once a week, or more if it possible. If you don’t currently have a backup system in place, I highly recommend using something like Carbonite (http://www.carbonite.com/).
This post originally appeared on zerocanvas.com. The original author has changed the text to apply to this audience.