True or false: Separating computer facts from fiction

True or false: Separating computer facts from fiction

Limited understanding of technology can be dangerous. While some computer tips are harmless, there are some misconceptions that can lead you to inadvertently damage your equipment or compromise your network security. Let’s sift through 10 claims about computers, and clear up once and for all which ones hold water and which do not.

1. You need to shut down your computer every night.

False. Computers run normally without being turned off for several days. Some experts even argue that shutting a computer off then turning it on again is worse, because this wears the hard disks down. If you're environmentally conscious or want to save electricity, turn off your computer if you’re not going to use it for a while. But if you accidentally left the computer on, it's not the end of the world.

2. Avoid short circuits by connecting the power cord to your laptop before plugging it into an electrical outlet.

Wrong! Almost all modern laptops have anti-short circuit protection and can take voltages up to 240 volts. You can plug your power cord to the electrical outlet first or vice versa.

3. Manually turning off your PC by pressing the power button is dangerous

This is true if your drive uses rotating discs to read or write data. Hard disk drives make 10,000 rpm, and pressing the power button forces the disks to stop rotating at that speed, and can cause them to burn. Use the Shut Down command to warn the system to wrap up all its activities because it’s about to be turned off. This will give the system enough time to put every byte of information in place, and allows the disc to decelerate safely. Since you may not know if your drive uses rotating discs, it is a good practice to always use the Shut Down button.

4. Never remove a USB flash drive without using Safely Remove Mass Storage Device.

True! You should never abruptly stop memory transfer because you can damage the data being written. As such, always use the “Safely Remove Mass Storage Device” command before removing a USB memory device.

5. Placing a mobile phone near your computer can damage your hard drive.

This is a myth. Nearby mobile phones and devices shouldn’t be able to erase or modify your computer data. However, they can cause some interference to your speakers.

6. The more icons you put on the desktop, the slower your PC gets.

True. Your PC periodically updates the files you have on your monitor, so the more icons you have on your desktop, the more information your PC needs to update, and the process can slow down your machine. To reduce the number of icons on your desktop, consider grouping similar programs or files into folders instead.

7. Once you delete files from your hard drive, they’re forever erased.

Not true. Deleted files may be “erased” and hidden from view, but they are still stored on your drive, waiting to be written over. As long as no new information overwrites your previous data, you should still be able to recover it by performing data recovery steps.

8. Magnets can erase your data.

This was true back when disk drives used magnetic fields to write data, but modern drives use semiconductors to prevent this from happening. So unless you’re using a very big and very powerful magnet, then no, your data will not be erased. Note that magnets may distort the colors of your monitor display, though.

9.Mac users don’t need antivirus software.

This used to be true, but not anymore. Most users and businesses used Windows, so for practical reasons, cybercriminals prioritized making malware for Windows PCs. Today, Mac computers are just as popular as Windows, which means they've also become an attractive target for malware. In other words, Macs were never immune; there just weren’t any malware infecting them. Now, that has changed. Whether you’re using OS X or Windows, you must get an antivirus software.

10. Hackers can’t get through a password protected network.

If you think that a password can keep a dedicated hacker away, you’re wrong. This is why you need more sophisticated ways of protecting your data in case a hacker manages to get into your system, like multifactor authentication (MFA) and employing advanced intrusion prevention systems.

Still confused about technology? It is Xirtix Consulting LLC CEO Nick Dragna’s aim to reduce all technology challenges to two items: Strategy and Process. Wrap our Trademark XCARE Service around your IT solutions to simplify your technology challenges. Get in touch with us today so we can have Your IT. Managed. Period.