I hear that lament almost daily My computer freezes. Computer freeze is often caused by exactly the opposite.
Try to guess for a moment what is the most common threat to your computer? Believe it or not heat ranks high among threats to your computer. Running computers generate heat. They are cooled by heat sinks and fans that work in concert to cool your processor from harmful heat. These cooling systems are marvels of tiny handiwork that bring in cool air across a heat sink much like your cars radiator. It then blows the air out to keep things running cool. Several things get in the way of this process.
#1. Broken Fan. Many computers will simply not run if there is a faulty fan. They will even alert you that a fan is not working at start up. Other systems will allow the computer to run but will automatically and abruptly shut down when it reaches a predetermined temperature that the computer considers unsafe. Some will just keep running until the failure messes up the boot up and your computer shows a file corruption and it just won’t start.
#2. Covered Intake. This is caused by placing a computer in a location where it is not allowed to take in fresh air or little fresh air is available like a closed cabinet. All too often a laptop overheats while using it on your lap because a knee or thigh plugs the intake and the computer overheats. (Seems ironic they call it a laptop since your lap can actually ruin it. Some manufacturers call them notebooks for this very reason) Running laptops have been known to start fires while left on a bed while being unable to take in fresh air from underneath.
#3. Dirty. This is easily the most common reason a computer overheats. The cooling system continuously pulls in fresh air with its airborne dust. Eventually tens of thousands of cubic feet of air blows into the computer. Overtime this sucks in enough dust to clog the system. Computers must be cleaned regularly to keep them from overheating. Twice per year on average is about right. Blowing out your computer thoroughly is critical.
There are clues that will tell us our computer needs cleaning. Much like a vacuum whines when you cover the intake so will a computer. But the change is subtle and gradual. Many computers have various fan speeds that ramp up when over heated. If you notice fans running louder or faster than they used to it may be the last warning sign before disaster. When a computer freezes up or is unresponsive it is often caused by excessive heat.
If your computer has run everyday for a year I guarantee it needs a physical cleaning.
Few things kill a PC faster that heat.
Anti virus software, malicious program scanners and antispyware software can help you to keep the nasties out of your system. But you can play a large role in avoiding viruses and the like. So let’s talk about what to avoid while on the web to stop the bad guys from infesting your computer.
By far the most vulnerable avenue of infection while using a computer is through email. Forwarded email is the worst. (You know it’s forwarded by the FW in the address line) The bad guys know that there are millions of people that forward jokes, quips, recipes, and other emails of interest to millions more of their friends and relatives. So they use a good joke, for instance, attach a link or other nefarious intruder in that email and send it out. People inocently forward such emails out by the millions. These malicious programs can be as simple as redirecting your opening webpage to taking control of your email and contacts altogether or worse. Before long people are getting emails addressed from you without your knowledge. This is sometimes fixed by changing passwords. At times the email must be abandoned altogether. Delete forwarded emails without reading them. Even from people you know.
Occasionally an alert will come up telling you any number of alarming messages like “You’ve Been Infected!” or “Your Data is Being Stolen!”. The message is almost always false. The question is: How do you know if it’s legitimate or not? The following suggestion is useful weather it’s harmful or not?
When you get a suspicious alert DO NOT CLICK ON ANYTHING in the pop up window. Don’t touch a single key or mouse button. Don’t click NO. Don’t click YES. Don’t close the alert window out! Pull the plug on your machine! That’s right. Do Not perform a proper shut down or restart! Proper shutdown is for the purpose of saving current work from RAM memory to permanent storage on the hard drive before turning off. While a computer is turned on most everything being done is in RAM memory until shutdown or save. When a false alert comes up it too is in RAM memory. That means it is living temporarily in RAM memory until shutdown when it will be copied or STORED permanently on the hard drive. Therefore if you pull the plug (or pull the battery on a laptop) to cause an abrupt shutdown you kill EVERYTHING in RAM memory. Everything legitimate is already stored on your hard drive. An abrupt turn off is harmless. If the alert were legitimate it will come up again. If it was fake you have killed it in RAM memory like blowing out a candle. All suspicious activity should be met with an abrupt shut down via pulling the plug.
This method is elegant in its simplicity. But profound in it’s effectiveness. The success feedback from my clients to this procedure is 100%. Scores of customers have told me that the alert never returns. Keep this suggestion in the back of your mind until a virus comes knocking.
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