sitting in your college
dorm room listening to mp3s that you’ve downloaded and trying
to finish that
6-page term paper, when suddenly your computer freezes.
You try everything you can think of but
nothing seems to work. You
end up having
to shut off your computer and restart….just hoping that your
college econ 101 assignment
isn’t lost forever.
you want to learn how you can
avoid these problems with simple things anyone can do (rather than
them to a computer specialist and paying tons of money)? I’ve
compiled a list of things college
students can do in their dorm room in order to help protect against
Get anti-virus software and
update it frequently! This
is one of
the most important things you can do.
Since most dorms have Ethernet, cable or dsl access
students, this can leave unsuspecting students open to virus attacks. This may cost you $30 or
more for a year of
coverage, but it is well worth it.
it’s installed, activate any “automatic
update” features it has so you don’t
have to remember to update it yourself.
Make sure to check with your college or your
Internet Service Provider (ISP)
to see if they offer free anti-virus software before you buy it
colleges now offer it for free along with other independent ISPs). You can always download
the free version of
AVG from http://free.avg.com
or the free
version of Avast from http://www.Avast.com.
Get firewall software. Firewall
software is a program that monitors
activity over your college computer’s internet or network
allows you to see who you are sending
information to and how is sending you information.
This is also important software to have when
you have a cable, dsl, or Ethernet connection, because the connection
“always on”. This
open connection can
allow hackers or other back programs to use or damage your computer
your knowledge. You
can think of
firewall software as a smoke detector for your computer. Note:
Windows XP comes with built in firewall software. Otherwise you can find
free firewall software
online that will work just fine.
Download an anti-spyware
and adware are all
programs that are running on your computer (usually without your
use up your computer resources so they can collect information about
you. These programs
not only slow down your
computer, but they also share can your personal and private
two main programs used to get rid of these
spyware programs are Adaware (http://www.lavasoft.de)
and Search and Destroy (http://www.safer-networking.org). Both programs are free and
Get rid of unused programs.
Unused programs just take up space on your
computer. If you
aren’t going to use
them…throw them out. Simply
go to the
“Control Panel” selection under the
“Start” menu and open the “Add/Remove
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Defragment the hard drive.
Think of your hard drive as a deck of cards
that starts in order by suit and number.
As you use the computer you begin pulling different
files (or cards in
my analogy) from the stack and placing them on top of the deck. As you save new
information it is saved to
new cards and placed on the top of the deck again. Over time the deck
is all out of order and it’s harder to find the cards
(programs) that you
the hard drive is
like taking the deck of cards and reorganizing them again. This should be done 2-3
times a month. Simply
click the Start menu, then “All
Programs” than “Accessories” and finally
Download and Install Windows
can do this by going to
http://www.WindowsUpdate.microsoft.com. They will provide you with
the latest fixes
to bugs and security flaws that the operating system has. It is advisable to use
automatic updates for
your dorm computer so you don’t have to remember to do this.
Clean up the Registry on
your Dorm PC. Another thing that can cause many problems on
your college pc is a dirty registry.
Fixing the registry will speed up your computer. Try the free CCleaner from
or Glary Registry Repair
Though you may think this is the same as spyware,
it’s not. These
are programs and things that are
running secretly on your computer and possibly sending information
back to the internet. Try
free anti-malware program available at www.MalwareBytes.org
Purchase and Install more
Ram (Memory). Memory
dropped dramatically and an increase in memory can help your computer
faster and more efficiently. If you are unsure how to install RAM
contact your computer manufacturer tech support or ask a fellow college
Remember smoking is bad for
smoke from cigarettes
can coat the components on the inside of the computer with a film. Overtime the film gets
thicker and thicker
and cause the computer to overheat as well as other problems..
Install a pop-up blocker.
Pop-up windows slow down your computer and
can mislead you into making changes to your system You can find many free
including Google’s toolbar that will solve this problem.
things are working the
way you’d like, let the computer sit for 10 minutes and see
if it works
If not, shut off the computer and
wait for 10 minutes and then try restarting.
13. When in doubt –
Ask someone. Look
for help from your roommates, dorm
mates, classmates, etc. They
tremendous resource. Also
college if they offer technical support.
Many colleges do and they will help you fix any
problems you have.