Electronics, especially computer devices, are now so ingrained with everyday life, it seems like everyone has them. According to the Pew Research Center, over 2.5 billion people in the world have smartphones. Meanwhile, in the United States, 78 percent of households own either a laptop or desktop computer.
However, an alarming number of these devices end up getting thrown away because of one reason or another. Approximately 40 million tons of electronic devices are discarded annually, making up 70 percent of the world’s toxic waste. Extending the lifespan of your computer devices is essential in preventing more electronics from ending up in garbage heaps.
Although you can always take your devices to a reliable computer technician, it’s always preferable to prevent your computers from getting damaged in the first place. One of the best ways you can protect your electronics and prolong their lifespans is by learning common misconceptions. Here are 5 common myths about computers.
- Mac computers are virus-proof
This myth is so prevalent that if you’re a Mac owner, you might choose not to get virus protection or similar countermeasures. This myth started when there were disproportionately more PC users than there were Mac users. After all, why would a hacker want to create a virus for a smaller percentage of the population? So hackers created more viruses for PC models since they were more prevalent. But the numbers are starting to change.
In 2017, Apple revealed that almost 100 million people were using Mac computers. With so many users now either using Apple products exclusively or using both PC and Mac, viruses are starting to emerge for both types. In fact, some experts even suggest that there are now more threats to Mac devices than there are to PCs.
- Only computers get viruses
Yet another mistake people make is thinking that hackers only make viruses to attack computers. This is because you’re more familiar with computer-based threats. However, every device that runs on an operating system and can connect to the internet is susceptible to malware and other computer viruses. The increase in threats to other devices such as smartphones and tablets are tied to their popularity.
Before, people could use only computers to connect to the internet but with the advent of portable connectivity, tablets and smartphones are now just as capable. This presents hackers and the creators of other threats with new targets. So your phone is just as susceptible to malware and given that you probably use it more often than your computer, its more at risk as well.
- A slow computer has viruses
When your computer starts running slowly or freezing up more often, you’ve probably thought that it’s because it’s infected with some form of computer virus. Depending on their purpose, computer viruses are now being designed to be as unobtrusive as possible so they can stay in your hard drive for as long as possible.
If your computer is suddenly performing slowly, it could be because malware is taking up operational space as it runs in the background. However, there could be many other reasons for your computer’s slowed performance. Unless you’re trained in computer repair and analysis, you should immediately take your device to an expert for assessment.
- Always shut down your computer
When you’re done using your computer, do you just let it go to sleep mode or shut it down properly? Believers of this misconception will insist that you do the latter every time you’re done. They think that leaving your computer in sleep or stand-by for too long will damage your computer.
The truth is that computers and other devices were designed and built to go into prolonged sleep modes. But if you’re not going to use your computer for a long time, you’re better off shutting it down. The real trick is how you shut down your computer. A cold shutdown, which is when you press the power button for a long time, should only be used for emergencies. It’s much better for your computer to go through the normal shut down process, which is less abrupt and disruptive.
- Antivirus software is completely effective
You need to understand that computer security is a constant battle between hackers and security technicians. Viruses are continually evolving to avoid or overcome countermeasures, meaning that no antivirus software will be completely effective for more than a few months at most. Regular updates for your antivirus are one thing, but your common sense and vigilance are your primary defense against malware. Infected links, downloads, and emails are among the most popular methods of getting a computer virus, so you should always be on the lookout for suspicious examples of these things.
Computer devices are investments, and you should protect your investments as much as you can. Aside from safeguarding your devices, learning about these misconceptions also help protect the environment. So take your time to educate yourself and you might just use your devices longer than anticipated.