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 Web Browsers/Backup information (which is for both Mac and Windows users) talking about things that I ask all Cru staff in the Great Lakes to do to help maintain their computers, and help prevent them from having some common problems.
To get things started, for the windows users, we encourage you to use CCleaner, to delete unnecessary files and keep your computer running more efficiently. If you don’t already have the free version of 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 we are asking you to do at least once a month. We want you to 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 we 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 we 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 here in the regional office are using. Please make sure your antivirus is scheduled to run at least once a week. If you do not have antivirus installed please install and use Microsoft Security Essentials, which you can download through windows update from Microsoft, or by going here http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/. You can view this help page from Microsoft for more information on how can you affirm that Security Essentials is running as it should.
If you are on a computer that has Windows 8, it comes with a version of Security Essentials called Windows Defender, so no antivirus is usually needed.
It is important to have a good update strategy. Keeping all of the programs you use up to date can keep your computer running smoothly, and most of the time when windows computers are compromised, it is because of malicious software taking advantage of vulnerabilities in programs that have not yet been updated.
The easiest way to stay up to date, is by installing Secunia PSI from here http://secunia.com/vulnerability_scanning/personal/. Once Secunia PSI is downloaded and installed, it will automatically install major updates that fix security problems, or if it can’t install the update itself, it will let you know that a manual update is needed, and in many cases, help walk you through the process of updating out of date programs.
Secunia PSI’s main focus is on security related updates, so sometimes you don’t get other updates, that can bring new features and enhancements to software you are currently using. So, if you want to make sure you get all the updates that many of your programs have, you can use ninite.com. To do this, browse to ninite.com select all of the programs you have installed or want to have installed on your computer (not including Microsoft Office, that is a trial only). Then download and run the installer. When you run that installer in the future, it will insure all of your programs are up to date. I recommend running the installer you downloaded 1-2 times a month. However if you don’t have Secunia PSI installed, I encourage you to run it as often as you can, even once a day if possible. Also, if you don’t use Secunia PSI, and there are any other programs you have on your computer than you need to manually check to see if they have updates at least 1-2 times a month, however most of the programs you use are probably on ninite.com.
If you need help with any of these things please let Kristin know so we can set something up.
Just like windows users, your operating system also takes maintenance to keep it running well. For Mac users, we have a program that we want you to use to keep your computer in good shape. It is called Main Menu, and many of you probably already have it installed on your computer. We ask that you run this program at least once a month. For more information on getting Main Menu and running it you can go here on the wiki for a step by step tutorial http://wiki.uscm.org/display/CMIT/How+to+Install%2C+and+Use+MainMenu+on+your+Mac. If you do not have Main Menu installed please go to http://incrediblebee.com/mainmenu for more information on getting this software.
Like Windows users, it is also important for you to keep your computer up to date. If your are notified that updates are available, I encourage you to install them sometime the same date that you receive a notification about them. For your programs, if you got them through the App Store, they should stay up to date automatically. However, if there are programs you are using that aren’t in the App Store, you should check for updates to them, at least 1-2 times a month.
Web Browsers/Backup information
Firefox, Chrome, and other browsers, what should I use?
(Digital Strategies at Lake Hart is still migrating tools over for use in Chrome, so the recommendations here will change with time). Over the last few years you have probably been encouraged to use Firefox, and now Chrome instead of Internet Explorer (or possibly even over Safari). I want to clarify where we are coming from given the increasing number of browsers out there that you might use in your everyday lives. Many of you have a favorite browser that might not be Firefox or Internet explorer. For ministry, many websites were built specifically to work with Firefox and Internet Explorer, however as we transition to Google Chrome is increasingly a supported option for doing ministry as well. We encourage you to try to use Firefox or Internet Explorer if you are using any of Cru’s non-google web tools if you experience any issues in Chrome. If you use an unsupported browser for some of Cru’s tools and are having problems, neither I or the Digital Strategies staff can effectively support you. Outside of Cru’s non-google utilities, please feel free to use any other web browser you are comfortable with. Most web browsers work equally well for personal browsing, as long as you are using the latest version of your browser. Even for Google, Chrome provides the best compatibility but many including myself use other browsers without issue. We do ask that you check to make sure your browser(s) is up to date at least once or twice a month, for the best and most secure browsing experience possible. If you need any help with this let Kristin know.
We 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, we expect you to do this at least once a week. However, it is best to do it once a more if it possible. If you don’t currently have a backup system in place, we highly recommend using something like Crashplan (http://www.crashplan.com/). For more information on Backup and a lot of other tech information you can visit the CM Information Technology part of the Wiki (link here http://wiki.uscm.org/display/CMIT/Home), which is maintained by Technology Specialists in Cru around the country.
Thanks for hanging in there through this post. I will notify you if there are any notable updates to it in the future.