Common urban myths would have us believe alligators live in sewers or people put razor blades in kids’ candy. Common misconceptions about computers are just as persistent. Here are several IT myths debunked for your benefit.
#1 A slow-running computer has a virus
A virus can be to blame. Spyware or other malware can also cause a computer to slow down. However, there are also many other reasons your computer might run slower:
- You may have a lot of programs that start up when you boot up the computer. You could remove or disable programs that start every time.
- The computer has gone into power save mode every night, but you haven’t rebooted the computer in a long time.
- There are many programs running in the background. On a Windows PC, you can go into task manager and see what is running and the computer resources in use.
- A security utility is running. If it’s an antivirus scanner, let the scan finish first, then see if your computer speed improves.
- Temporary files or other junk are taking up too much hard drive space. Your computer needs at least 200–500MB of free space on the hard drive to be able to move and manage files.
- Your computer doesn’t have enough RAM to run programs within memory. If your computer has to swap information on the hard drive to get enough memory to run programs, it’s going to work slower.
- The computer is old. You may need to upgrade to a computer that can handle current software needs without slowing to a snail’s pace.
#2 Macs don’t get viruses
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 cybercriminals.
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.
#3 My Windows registry needs cleaning up
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.
#4 My laptop battery needs to be dead before I recharge if I want it to last longer
This was once true. Nickel-cadmium batteries suffered from what was 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.
Now, however, laptops 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 down to zero.
#5 I don’t have anything hackers would want
Cybersecurity should be a priority for everyone, not only sprawling enterprises. Let’s put it this way:
- Do you have any money?
- Do you have an identity cybercriminals could use to access money or sell for money?
- Do you work anywhere?
Hackers have all kinds of ways to profit from 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.