Why clean computing matters

When you “clean” your computer, you don’t just dust off the keyboard and wipe fingerprints from the screen. You also pay attention to the state of the hard drive, updating software and removing old programs.

Why is cleaning up your computer important?
Clean software helps guard your data.  Internet security software and regular program updates pro ensure that viruses, malware, and unapproachable hackers stay out of your system.  When you grip your files by backing them going on, deleting unused programs, and drama money tasks following defragmenting the hard steer, you benefit ensure your computer can save your files without accidentally corrupting them.

How to clean your computer’s software
Once your computer’s physical parts are clean, it’s time to attend to the programs that create and store your important information.  Here’s how to keep your computer’s “mind” as clean as its “body:”

  • Back it up
    Backing in the works your data regularly is a must.  A laptop or tablet can be replaced, but the opinion inside it might be irreplaceable.  Generally speaking, there are two options for avowal going on data: you can make a copy in a swine location, such as as regards an outside hard purpose or thumb goal, or you can make a copy that is stored as regards the cloud, or online, in a safe location. Whichever you select, commit to announcement occurring your computer at least later than per week, or more often if you are full of zip on the subject of a snappish document in imitation of a matter union or a buildup of pretentious relatives photos.
  • Protect against malware
    Internet security software helps ensure that sneaky viruses and malware don’t get in and wreak havoc on your information—or worse, steal your identity.
  • Update your software and clean out old programs
    Outdated software is particularly vulnerable to malware, because most updates are created in order to keep software safe.  Make sure your software is updated. While you do updates, check to make sure you’re actually using the programs on your system, and delete any you no longer use.  This helps ensure that your computer doesn’t get bogged down with unnecessary data, and it limits the number of programs that malware might “hijack” in order to gain access to the system.

Tidy up your digital life
It’s time to delete those digital dust bunnies – that includes programs you don’t use and unimportant files littering your desktop. Here are a few quick tips to get started:

  • Cleanup your PC workspace
    Some programs automatically create a short-cut that will be displayed as an icon on your desktop. Deleting short-cuts that you don’t use will not delete the program, but it will keep your desktop clean and organized.
  • Get organized
    Create categories for your files (work, financial statements, family photos, kids’ homework, etc.), then create and label folders to bucket your files into. Delete unimportant items that don’t belong in either folder. When all is squared away – create a backup to save your files in a secure location other than your device hard drive.
  • Update your passwords
    Regularly updating your passwords across all accounts and devices is a good digital security habit to adopt even when you’re not spring cleaning. Passwords are the keys to accessing your digital life and more important data, like financial information. Make sure to use a complex and unique password for each account. Using a free password manager tool like Norton Identity Safe can make logging into your favorite sites easier and more secure. Plus, always opt-in to two factor authentication when the services you use offer this in addition to password protection.

Don’t forget about your digital footprint
Your “digital footprint” includes all traces of your online activity, from commenting on news pieces or social media to making online purchases. Here’s how you can check on yours:

  • Enter your name into several search engines
    Use multiple search engines to perform a search for your first and last name. If you’ve recently changed your name, look up both your prior name and your current one. Try the common misspellings as well. Review the first two pages of results. Are they positive? Do they show you in a professional and respectable light? If anything comes up that you don’t like, ask the site administrator to take it down.
  • Double-check your privacy settings, but don’t trust them 
    Privacy settings on social media allow you to control who sees your posts on your social media streams. Spend some time getting to know these settings so you can use them fully – for example, Facebook allows you not only to limit posts merely to “friends,” but also to make customized lists of people who can see certain posts. However, don’t assume that privacy settings will protect you anywhere but on the social media site that uses them. For example, some Facebook users have reported finding their “friends-locked” photographs as public images on Google Image Search.

Cleaning house: securing your kids’ data
While your kids are minding their chores to help spring clean the house offline, keep their digital presence not only tidy but also secure. Educate yourself and your family about social networking – be responsible about what you share and how to use privacy settings and restrictions. Information such as real names, a child’s age, their school’s name and the city that they live in should not be shared publicly to avoid risks like identity theft or cyberstalking.  With the free Norton Family tool, parents can monitor kids’ social network use, protect sensitive personal information, and much more. Norton Family social network monitoring provides insights into kids’ social media use, including how frequently they log in to Facebook from their PC, and the name and age they use on their profile.

Out with the old: wipe away your digital data
Donating and recycling old devices is a great way to de-clutter – just be sure you are not recycling your data in the process. If your data is recovered on an old device it can be used to commit identity theft or fraud. Make a secure backup of your irreplaceable photos and files with Norton Security with Backup. Then delete and wipe devices of all data and reset to factory settings. Lastly don’t forget to remove any SIM or memory cards.

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