Top 10 computer mistakes beginners make

Below we've listed the top 10 mistakes we find beginner computer users making and how you can avoid falling into the same mistakes.

Not backing up important files

Computer backupOne of the biggest mistakes anyone can make is not backing up important information. Today, there are so many different methods of backing up your information that there is no longer any excuse for not backing up your information. Make sure to backup all important information before it is too late.

Clicking Next or Ok without reading

Everyone has become more impatient thanks to the instant gratification we all enjoy every day on the Internet. However, because of this impatience it is not uncommon for new users to click Ok or Next without reading what they are agreeing to and not making sure there are no check boxes still checked. Make sure you read every prompt before agreeing, or you may be agreeing to install new browser toolbars, a program you didn't intend to install, or other crapware.

Not saving work

While working on a document either offline or online make sure that the program is automatically saving your work. If a program does not automatically save your work, you need to make sure you are saving your work every 10-15 minutes. If the computer loses power, Internet connection, or the program crashes everything is lost that hasn't been saved.

Turning off the computer improperly

With more users learning on Smartphones and Tablets before learning the computer, not all new users are familiar with the proper method to shut down (turn off) a computer. When you are done with a computer and want to turn it off make sure to save any work, close open programs, and shut down the computer properly.

Opening e-mail attachments

E-mail attachmentA common method of getting infected with a computer virus or malware is from opening e-mail attachments. Be extremely cautious and doubtful on all e-mail attachments you receive including any e-mail attachments you receive from friends, family, and co-workers. One of the most common tactics malicious users use to send viruses is from people you know to gain a false sense of trust.

Falling for phishing, spam, or chain mail

Phishing

As computers become more secure, and users get more tech savvy, many malicious individuals have moved to attacking people using phishing tactics. Make sure you are aware of how phishing works and how you can make sure you do not become a victim of identity theft.

Spam

Almost all spam today is distributed by infected computers or malicious users. Replying to these spam messages will not unsubscribe you from any list and usually is never looked at or received. In some cases, a spammer may even use your reply as a verification that an e-mail works and send you more spam or share your e-mail address with other spammers. If you get spam, just delete it from your inbox.

Chain mail

You should also never forward your friends and family chain mail. If you find an e-mail hard to believe, make sure it is true before you forward the myth or rumor to anyone else.

Downloading and installing bad software

Today, the most common ways a computer gets infected with viruses, malware, and other crapware is from downloading and installing bad software on the computer. Always be cautious of free software and who is providing you with the free software. To subsidize costs many developers include other bundled programs or toolbars, and if you are not careful, you may install them during the install. As mentioned earlier, always be sure to read what the program is doing during the install.

Unfortunately, reading is also not always enough and sites offering free things like cursors, fonts, wallpaper, emotions, and other small downloads may be bundled with other bad software. When downloading anything, keep the below suggestions in mind.

DownloadWhere are you getting the download?

There are malicious people who download valid copies of a popular download, modify the file with malicious software, and then upload the file with the same name. Make sure you are downloading from the developer's web page or a reputable company.

Don't install download manager

Many sites suggest or require you to install an installer or a download manager before allowing you to download a program you may be interested in downloading. These tools almost always cause your computer more problems and may even have malware or other spyware. Avoid any site claiming anything must be installed first before you can continue with your download.

Avoid advertisements on download pages

To help make money and pay for the bandwidth costs of supplying free the software, the final download page may have ads. Watch out for anything that looks like advertisements on the download page. Many advertisers try to trick viewers into clicking an ad with phrases like "Download Now", "Start Download", or "Continue" and that ad may open a separate download.

Cancel or deny any automatic download

Some sites may automatically try start a download or give the appearance that something needs to be installed or updated before the site or video can be seen. Never accept or install anything from any site unless you know what is downloading.

Not keeping operating system and software up-to-date

The evolution of computers and the software that computer's use is always evolving. After a program is released bugs and security threats are almost always discovered by other users. Installing the latest updates for a program makes sure everything runs smooth and if security fixes are found fix those problems, so your data is kept secure.

Keep a computer on a surge protector or UPS

If you plug your desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone into a wall outlet consider using a surge protector instead. A surge protector can help keep your computer protected during an electrical storm and make sure that nothing is damaged if a surge travels over your power lines.

APC Battery BackupAlso, if you are using a desktop computer we highly recommend also using a UPS on your computer. Although these can be more expensive, a UPS protects your computer from a surge, brown out, and keeps the computer running if the power goes out for a minute or two.

Buying incompatible hardware or peripherals

Computers are becoming more diversified with Chrome books, hybrid computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. Although all of these devices are considered computers, not all hardware is compatible with every type of computer. Also, this is true with Apple computers vs. a PC, and computers running Windows or Linux, which are all running different operating systems.

Before purchasing hardware or upgrading older hardware make sure its compatible with your computer, operating system, and meets the system requirements.

Related pages

Also see: Apple, Bug, Desktop, E-mail, Laptop, Linux, Malware, Operating system, Peripheral, Phishing, Smartphone, Software, Spam, Surge, Tablet, UPS, Virus