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Basic computer skills

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Ok, so you know how to turn your computer on and off... now let's learn how to maintain it, get the most out of it and enjoy it. Most people think they need a background in computers to truly understand their systems but with a few basic computer skills you can tweak your system to run better, prevent common issues and even diagnose and repair it or upgrade it on your own. You might think this is farfetched, but honestly if you take the time to learn a little bit about your system, how it works, what makes it work and how it is put together you would be surprised to find that it is a simple machine.

You don't need to understand how the information is sent, how the CPU processes information of even how the motherboard sends power or information to the other components. All you really need to know is what each component is for, what it does for you when you are using the system and a few key tips to protect your system from malware.

Protection is Key

One of the most important basic computer skills anyone should have is learning how to protect their information. Malware is everywhere, you can get infected through the websites you visit, e-mails you open and even in many cases just by turning your system on. Installing a good anti-virus program is not enough; you have to update it frequently. Many new viruses are being created each day and without updating your anti-viruses data base there is no way for it to properly protect you. So, keep in mind that if your system is slow, bogging down, locking up or freezing while using certain programs you might be infected with malware and without handling it right away you are leaving your system at risk for further destruction.

Always look for sites that are secure when you enter your personal or financial information, such as https:// instead of the ordinary http://, this lets you know that your information is secure and will not be viewed by anyone other than who you intended it for.

Upgrading Your PC

With basic computer skills you can easily upgrade your own system. Most components are plug and play which means that you only have to install them into the proper slots and run the CD that came with it for drivers and software, if you even have to do that. Components such as memory will require nothing more than you properly seating it into the slot provided on your systems motherboard and starting the system back up. Other devices such as video cards, sound cards and wireless internet controllers will require you to run the software and drivers for them to work properly but it is simple, no different than installing a new game or other program. When you open your case cover you will see that the motherboard offers various slots for these components. Since many motherboards have their sound, video and internet integrated onto the board there are usually plenty of empty slots available for upgrades. Ensure that the component you want to purchase is compatible with your system and simply plug it in to the correct slot on the board. People pay hundreds of dollars for upgrades on their system when it takes no more than a few minutes to do it on your own.

Diagnosing Your PC

Once you understand what each component is in your system and what it does it becomes so much easier to diagnose problems with your system. Basic computer skills allow you to easily identify the difference between software and a hardware issue. There is no need to call in the tech or the geek squad, become your own geek and save some serious cash. Software problems are usually fixed with registry cleaners or anti-virus programs, hardware problems will normally require a new part being installed or at least an upgraded one.

You should be able to determine if your system is getting power, if the fans are working to keep the system cool enough and if the components in your system are doing their job correctly. Just knowing what each component does will make it easier to identify the problems that come with owning a computer.

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