Safe Computing Tips

Top 10 safe computing tips

  1. Patch, Patch, PATCH!
    Set up your computer for automatic software and operating system updates. An unpatched machine is more likely to have software vulnerabilities that can be exploited.
  2. Install protective software.
    There are several antivirus programs available as a free download for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux. When installed, the software should be set to scan your files and update your virus definitions on a regular basis.
  3. Choose strong passwords.
    Choose strong passwords with letters, numbers, and special characters to create a mental image or an acronym that is easy for you to remember. Create a different password for each important account, and change passwords regularly.
  4. Backup, Backup, BACKUP!
    Backing up your machine regularly can protect you from the unexpected. Keep a few months' worth of backups and make sure the files can be retrieved if needed.
  5. Control access to your machine.
    Don't leave your computer in an unsecured area, or unattended and logged on, especially in public places. The physical security of your machine is just as important as its technical security.
  6. Use email and the Internet safely.
    Ignore unsolicited emails, and be wary of attachments, links and forms in emails that come from people you don't know, or which seem "phishy." Avoid untrustworthy (often free) downloads from freeware or shareware sites.
  7. Use secure connections.
    When connected to the Internet, your data can be vulnerable while in transit. When possible use https:// for webpages
  8. Protect sensitive data.
    Reduce the risk of identity theft. Securely remove sensitive data files from your hard drive, which is also recommended when recycling or repurposing your computer. Use the encryption tools built into your operating system to protect sensitive files you need to retain.
  9. Use desktop firewalls.
    Macintosh and Windows computers have basic desktop firewalls as part of their operating systems. When set up properly, these firewalls protect your computer files from being scanned.
  10. Most importantly, stay informed.
    Stay current with the latest developments for Windows, Macintosh Linux, and Unix systems.

Win8 Start Menu

Start is the heart of your PC—it’s where you open apps and desktop programs, see what your friends are doing, and get to your favorite websites and files.

The tiles on Start can show updates from your friends, new email, app notifications, and the next appointment on your calendar at a glance, even without opening an app. And because everyone who uses the PC can sign in with their own Microsoft account, each person can personalize their own tiles, colors, and backgrounds.

Seeing all your apps

Apps view
You can find all your apps and programs in the Apps view. To get to the Apps view, slide up from the middle of the Start screen with your finger, or click the arrow Down arrow near the lower-left corner of the Start screen.

If you want, you can also choose to see the Apps view first when you sign in.

When you install a new app from the Windows Store, it'll appear in the Apps view. Then, you can pin it to your Start screen or desktop taskbar if you want to get to it quickly.

Pinning apps you use often

You can pin your favorite apps to the Start screen and the desktop taskbar so you can get to them quickly and see updates on their tiles at a glance.

Step 1

Slide up from the middle of screen to get to the Apps view. (If you’re using a mouse, click the arrow near the lower-left corner of the screen.)

Step 2

Press and hold or right-click the app you want to pin. You can select more than one app and pin them all at once.

Step 3

Tap or click Pin to Start or Pin to taskbar. The apps you pinned will appear at the end of your Start screen or desktop taskbar.


To quickly search for an app, just start typing the name from either the Start screen or Apps view.

Unpinning apps from Start

If you decide you don’t want a tile to be on your Start screen any more, you can unpin it from Start. Unpinning an app is different than uninstalling it—if you unpin an app from your Start screen, the app will still appear when you search for it, and it’ll still be in the Apps view if you need to find it again.

To unpin an app from Start

  1. On the Start screen, press and hold or right-click the tile you want to unpin.
    You can select more tiles to unpin them all at once. To clear your selections, on the Start screen or in Apps view, tap or click an open space on the screen, or tap or click Customize.
  2. Tap or click Unpin from Start.
    The apps you selected will be removed from your Start screen, but will still appear in Apps view and when you search for them.

Organize your Start screen

Your Start screen is yours to organize and arrange. You can resize tiles and move them around in whatever way you want. For example, you can make the tiles you use more often bigger, and the ones you use less often smaller. You can size and arrange your tiles in a way that looks best to you. You can also group tiles together to help you keep track of your apps and use them more efficiently. However you choose to organize the tiles, customizing your Start screen makes it easier to get to the apps, folders, sites, and people you interact with the most.

To move a tile on your Start screen

  1. On the Start screen, press and hold the tile you want to move. (If you’re using a mouse, click and hold the tile).
  2. Drag the tile to where you want to place it.

To resize a tile on your Start screen

  1. On the Start screen, press and hold the tile you want to resize. (If you’re using a mouse, right-click the tile.)
  2. Tap or click Resize.
  3. Choose the size you want.

To create a group of tiles

  1. On the Start screen, press and hold or right-click the tiles you want to group together.
  2. Drag them to an open space, and when a gray bar appears behind them, release the tiles. This will create a new group.
  3. If you want to name the group, tap or click where it says Name group above the group, and then enter a new name.

Once you've created a group, you can move the entire group around on your Start screen.

To move a group of tiles

  1. On the Start screen, pinch to zoom out. (If you’re using a mouse, click the zoom icon in the lower-right corner of your screen.)
  2. Press and drag or click and drag the group of tiles you want to move to where you want it to go.

Once you’re done moving groups, tap or click anywhere on the screen to zoom back in.

Computer Tips - Revisited

Many of the Tips listed come from our ever popular book iWonder. Originally published from 2007 through 2009 many of these tips are still as valid today as they were back then.

Windows Called

You received a phone call from someone claiming to be with Windows Security or someone affiliated with Microsoft. They said your computer is sending out computer viruses & they wanted you to go to my computer so they can help you solve my computer problems.

Is this legit?

MICROSOFT WILL NOT CALL YOU UNSOLICITED. This is a known scam. This is fraudulent in nature and the caller will try to ellicit money from you for contractual technical services sometimes into the hundreds of dollars. If you get one of these calls, just be polite and then hang up. If you are concerned that there may actually be something on your computer, compromising your personal information or computer data, then give GCS Tech a call. We can make sure you are safe.


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