In today’s electronic world, more and more of what we do, say, and think is moving online. From social media to e-mails and blogs, there has never been more information about us online – and whilst this may have its advantages, it also means that we are more prone than ever before to attacks by hackers and cyber-criminals.
When the phone rang one afternoon in February, Steve – a 39 year-old copywriter from Worcestershire – was mildly irritated to be interrupted by yet another overseas sales call. The distant voice at the other end of the phone line, however, identified itself as calling from the NatWest fraud department. The bank, it reported, had been contacted by the police to say that an attempt had been made to use Steve’s debit card in the United States, at a hotel bar late one evening. Given that the card had never been used before outside England, the transaction had been automatically declined.
Even on a modern, super-fast computer, the demands of Windows can put a lot of stress on a computer’s hard disk drive, slowing down performance. Most computers have a hard drive activity light located somewhere on the case front, and if that’s always lit up, it is a good indication that your hard drive is doing too much of the work, making your programs and the system wait for it and preventing you from using the computer at its full power.
You don’t always have to call in the special forces for a minor problem. There are a number of things you can do to fix what might be heart-stopping PC problems, so don’t panic when things start to go wrong.
Of course, none of us like seeing the Blue Screen of Death, which sounds far more ominous than it really is – it’s just an error message, after all. It also can be a major headache when a program we need right now keeps crashing just as a deadline is approaching. Keep calm, though, and you’ll be able to fix most minor home computing problems yourself.
We get many upgrade requests from our customers, but one of the more common in recent years is to upgrade their hard drive to a solid state drive (SSD) model. The benefits of these new generation of drives include silent operation, as the SSD drive is just a collection of memory chips with no moving parts. That also means it is more resilient to knocks and bumps than traditional hard disk drives (HDD), which use moving heads and spinning platters – not a great combination in a portable notebook, prone to being banged around.
Many users are happy with their home computing experience, until they read an article about overclocking, and realise they can make their computer run a little, or a lot faster. For many, this is just a point of interest, or getting more value for your money, while for others it becomes a hobby or obsession. Years ago, it was quite a rebellious thing to be doing, as the processor makers didn’t want their parts running too fast or too hot. Now, they all provide official apps to make it a safe trick to perform.
Whether you’ve exhausted all options for repairing your old computer or you just fancy an upgrade, the choice of replacements out there can be daunting. For home computing, your list of requirements probably isn’t long, but it’s all too easy to get sucked into buying something more expensive than you need with a sales assistant breathing down your neck.