Q. DeAnne Robblee asked: Why is it important to use licensed Software and why can't we "borrow" it from a friend?
A. This depends largely on what kind of software we are talking about, but in general there are several reasons to legitimately purchase the software you use regularly. One is security updates. Sometimes faults in the software are found after the software is released, and to protect yourself from intrusion or system compromise you will require updates from the vendor to patch the faults, which they are unlikely to provide if you have not purchased the software. - The second reason is for features and support. Purchasing the software means that down the road if a new version comes out with new features likely you are entitled to receive those new features free of additional charge. - From a business perspective creating a product or offering a service using stolen tools can have legal consequences, and in the end typically costs you more to maintain than if you had just purchased licensing upfront.
Q. Julia Herperger asked :What are the things I need to do to keep my computer in tip-top shape? I'd like to know this, and I'm sure a lot of other people would, too! Thank you!
A. Like a vehicle you should decide up-front when you buy your computer whether you plan to maintain it yourself or have it serviced by a professional. In a normal environment with normal use once a year is likely sufficient to keep your computer operating normally. On a highly used machine once every 6 months is more appropriate. Similarly in a dirty/hairy/dusty environment once every 6 months maintenance is needed. So on a highly used machine in a dirty environment where the computer is inside a closet or cabinet, probably once every 2-3 months maintenance should be performed.
Maintenance consists of:
Cleaning and inspecting your tower (hardware)
- Confirm that all your fans are spinning and free of dust / debris , take the side of your case opposite the mainboard off, turn your computer on and watch and listen to your chassis and component fans. Ground yourself before touching any of the components . Tools like static straps and mats are available if you’re concerned that you are not grounded properly.
- Most importantly your Graphics Processing Unit (Video Card) Fan and your Central Processing Unit (CPU) Fan must be clear of dust and debris and be operating normally o To remove dust/debris from your computer use compressed air. Do not use a vacuum. Using a vacuum can cause a build-up of static electricity that will likely discharge into the sensitive components in your case causing damage.
- After a thorough cleaning using compressed air (particularly from a can) make sure to leave your computer off for 30 minutes after blowing out your case before turning it back on. The compressed air from a can contains minute amounts of water vapour that can cause a short if not allowed to dry
- Inspect your components for visible signs of failure - Press gently on your RAM modules and hard drive / peripheral device connections to make sure everything is seated firmly
- Look at your mainboard and power supply for swollen or leaking capacitors
- Look at your components for discoloration or other signs of heat damage
Cleaning and inspecting software - This is about maintaining the software you use regularly
Your operating system requires maintenance. If you are using a licensed version of Microsoft Windows this means performing vendor updates, removing temporary files and unused programs, checking for errors in the event logs and if they exist resolving them, and removing unused entries from the Windows registry.
Backups of the system state are also part of maintaining your computer. These should be stored on a device other than your primary boot disk. Your applications and data require maintenance and backup. If you use the internet regularly you should be applying available vendor updates for your internet browser, cleaning out unneeded temporary internet files and uninstalling unused toolbars and favourites. If you use local email you should be applying updates to your email client and backing up your email data. If you use Photoshop or Word you should be applying their applicable updates and backing up your pictures and your word documents… etc and so forth.
*There are many software packages available that will help you automate and document the software side of your maintenance, such as CCleaner and Malware bytes