Protect Your Computer
The technology you need to run your event won't help if your computer crashes or is overrun with a virus. Below are some basic smart things to do. (Note that this is for your information only. TJC Event Solutions takes no responsibility for the use of these programs, should you choose to use them.)
DON'T DON'T DON'T
Don't click on email attachments or links in emails if you are not 100% absolutely certain that they are safe to click on.
Common scams -- called phishing -- include fake notices from banks, PayPal, Facebook, etc. asking you to update your information. 100% of these are false, even if they look genuine. Approach every unusual email with suspicion, even if from a friend or colleague, as their computer may have been hijacked.
External Hard Drive
Research shows that about 80% of small and mid-sized businesses fail after a major data loss. Buy an external hard drive and back up your computer twice a week. You may even wish to duplicate this effort on two external drives and keep them in separate locations in case of a devastating event at your office.
You will have to do more than one backup task, since your data files, email files and financial program will all require their own backup. But the procedures are easy and the entire process should take less than an hour. You can do other work in the meantime.
Or, you may elect to go the "cloud" route, purchasing storage space from a remote service storing your backup files via the Internet.
A handy trick is to create a folder on your desktop called Maintenance and Repair. Drag the icons for each of these programs into that folder so they are all in one place.
McAfee, Norton AntiVirus, Malwarebytes and AVG are the market leaders in virus protection. You must purchase anti-virus software and keep it running in the background for email and browser protection. There is an annual licensing fee and it is the best money you will spend all year. Update the software weekly and run the full virus scan weekly.
Spybot Search and Destroy is free software that will find and eliminate the sneaky programs that install themselves on your computer such as adware that you did not even know was there.
Check for updates weekly and run weekly. Also, use the immunize feature to block your computer from accessing over 100,000 websites known to be dangerous to your computer.
Disk Cleanup is already installed on your PC. Run this weekly or more often to delete unused and temporary files that are slowing down your computer.
CCleaner is free software that will delete a broad range of unneeded files. Run this weekly or more often. Note that it will eliminate histories, so the list of recently-visited web sites will be wiped clean, as will the list of recently-viewed files. No harm is done in this process. Also, make sure and use the other tools in CCleaner, such as the Registry Cleaner.
When you delete a file, it's not really gone. Your access to that file is gone, but the file stays on your hard drive until it is ultimately written over at some point.
The result is that your hard drive is clogged with thousands of files that you don't even know are there, slowing your performance. File Shredder is a free utility that wipes the data from the free disk space on your computer. Once a week, run this overnight on the Guttman Algorithm to clean the unwanted files from your computer. There are other shred options that are not as thorough but also don't take as long.
Files on your computer are not stored neatly. Pieces of a single file are scattered around your hard drive, wherever the computer found free space. Multiply this by thousands of files, and your performance slows while the computer looks for the data you need. Defraggler is a free utility that reorganizes your files so the computer can read them more efficiently.
SUGGESTED MAINTENANCE ROUTINE
Here is a useful sequence for maintenance and repair of your hard drive. Set a time weekly to do this. You may wish to do 1 and 2 in the evening, 3 overnight and 4 the next morning:
1. Run your anti-virus program and Spybot to get rid of any damaging programs that may have found their way into your computer;
2. Run CCleaner and Disk Cleanup to get rid of unwanted files;
3. Run File Shredder to clear out the remnants of deleted files;
4. Run Defraggler to rearrange your data in a way that is easier for your computer to read.