Pet peeves of a computer techi

Computer guy Matt Bentley shares some useful fundamentals about computers.  So listen up!

This is going to be essentially a gripes article. Hey, everyone gets one right? In every single profession there’s stuff that most non-experts get wrong. I wouldn’t have the faintest clue about all the things I’m getting wrong about my car, or even about the cereal I eat in the mornings. So, don’t take it personally, but listen up, you might learn something useful.

Your computer is not a hard drive
hard driveOkay, here’s what a hard drive looks like.
It’s a small thing that sits inside the computer and stores all your documents and every program the computer runs. That box sitting on the floor with the power button? Not a hard drive. It’s a desktop computer. I wouldn’t say I’m bothered by this, it just makes communication tricky.

‘High performance’ power mode in Windows does not do what you think it does
I see a lot of computers configured by amateur enthusiasts who see this setting and think ‘Oo I’ll get some more performance’. Unfortunately it does not work that way. All this feature does it turn off the ability for the computer to save power when it’s not doing anything. It doesn’t speed anything up, nor is it useful outside of a few very specialised scenarios that the average computer user and gamer will never come across. The default power mode is best for the majority of computers.

Google is not a web browser
This one’s understandable. When people click on their web browser, the first thing they usually see is the Google search page (or possibly the bing search page if they’re using a microsoft browser). Also, for reasons unknown to us mere mortals, most web browsers have taken away the name of the browser at the top of the screen when you run it – unlike most other computer programs. And in the past ten years Microsoft removed, again for unknown reasons, the name of the program from the bottom of the screen. Very stupid. So people generally don’t know what web browser they’re using when I ask them, they just ‘go to google’. Fair enough. Here’s how to know what web browser you’re using: if you click on a blue ‘E’, it’s either Internet Explorer or Edge. If you click on a red-green-yellow circle logo, you’re running Chrome. If you click on an orange and blue circle logo, you’re running Firefox.

You absolutely totally actually do have a password for your email, honest!
This one is also understandable. When you enter passwords for websites into your web browser, it tends to remember them for you, so it will already be entered the next time you visit that website. But also, websites can store a little bit of information on your computer called a ‘cookie’ that, amongst other things, stores your login details. So sometimes you don’t even have to log in to check your email, it just takes you straight there. But eventually you’re going to need that password again.
This one always catches people out when they move to a new computer or the old one has problems, or their email gets hacked. You have a password, but you probably didn’t write it down.
So I recommend to people that they have a notebook separate to their computer that they write down all their websites, usernames and passwords in, immediately after creating them. This means, when the inevitable occurs – and it will occur – they can get back up and running in no time, rather than going through a 15 minute process, or losing access to their email.

Alright, that’s enough, I swear I’ll have something more positive to chat about next time.
Be smart, be safe.

Matt BentleyMatt Bentley is the computer repair guy with Waikato Home PC Support.
Email him or phone 0211348576. Or you can visit the website, by clicking here.

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Number 8 Network - a community website for the rural areas northeast of Hamilton, NZ, is run by Gordonton journalist/editor Annette Taylor.

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