Don’t Get Bit by Your New Computer!

Marcel BrownSome of the most popular purchases over a holiday season are computers and accessories. In the haste to set up their new toys, many users may be leaving themselves open to some hassle and security concerns. For example, a lot of new computer owners are not aware that their new computers come with time-limted “demo” or “trial” software. This usually isn’t a very big problem except in two instances.

The first is Microsoft Office. Many people confuse Microsoft Office with Microsoft Windows. They believe that when they get a new computer with Windows, Microsoft Office is part of the package. They may not notice or ignore the fact that the Microsoft Office they are using is a 30-day trial. I’ve had more than one client call me in a panic because their demo expired at an inconvenient time. While this problem is most prevalent with new Windows computers, new Macintosh owners also receive a 30-day “Test Drive” of Microsoft Office. I’ve had a few Mac clients get bit by this problem as well.

The second, and more serious problem, is with anti-virus software. Because anti-virus software mostly runs in the background and many people (especially kids) have a bad habit of ignoring warning messages, there will be many users left without effective anti-virus protection soon after purchasing their new computers. Many anti-virus trials last only 30 days, some 90. The moral of this story is to be sure of the status of your anti-virus software. Pay attention to any warnings that your subscription is about to expire.

Many new wireless networks are set up without proper security. This leaves many users with their wireless network open, allowing anyone in range to connect to their network. Obviously, this could expose their private data and possibly make them a victim of identity theft. Many new wireless routers today are easier to setup than in the past, however, if you are not sure of the status of your wireless network, please give me a call.

Finally, many users do not purchase battery backup units for their new computers. New computers are just as susceptible to damage from power events as older computers – except that having a new computer fried just seems so much worse! So if you haven’t purchased a battery backup unit, do yourself a favor and pick one up today before storm season starts.

Of course, if you have any concerns about the security or safety of your new computer, please contact me. My Security Blanket service specifically covers all the potential security concerns of new computers. And don’t neglect your older computers either. I’d be happy to give them a Computer Tune-Up!