It is the responsibility of every computer user at Clark University to maintain their computer or “lock it down” against viruses, hackers, malicious software, and any other threats which jeopardize the integrity of our campus’s security. The following procedures have been provided as guidelines you can follow.
Are you doing all you can to keep your computer healthy? Below are 4 ways to ensure your computer is protected.
4 Ways To Care For Your Computer
Windows Update is a powerful tool that Microsoft provides to help keep Windows machines up to date. It is always a good idea to visit the Windows Update site from time to time to make sure your computer has the latest updates. Make sure to install the security fixes and other patches that Microsoft recommends. Visit the Windows Update site.
Apple provides a method for updating Mac OS X with important security updates and operating system enhancements. Similar to Windows Update, Apple has built the Software Update function directly into OS X. It is important to periodically check for updates to keep your Apple computer safe. Apple maintains directions on using the Software Update tool on the Apple support site.
Now that you have your operating system up-to-date, checking the software you use regularly for updates is next step in keeping things working well and your computer protected. Each program might can have a unique way to check for and apply updates; some programs even try to install toolbars or other spyware on your computer as part of the update: check what you are selecting and agreeing to whenever you install software.
Some commonly used software with their current versions:
You never know when the unexpected may occur. There is always the potential that you may accidentally delete an essential file. Computer data occasionally gets corrupted; your computer may be lost or damaged beyond the point of affordable data recovery. It is important to always be prepared for the unexpected. Information Technology Services strongly recommends that you back up your essential information at least once a week.
It is critical to regularly back up the data (files) stored on the hard drive(s) of your computer: If your hard drive crashes or a situation develops that prevents you from accessing the hard drive and the data; additionally, your work is lost if you don’t have a back-up copy.
In general, the safest choice is to back up your critical data to an external medium. Some popular options are CD/DVDs, USB Flash drives (i.e. a small removable drive that you connect to your computer using a USB port), and external hard drives. The option you use will depend upon a number of factors, including the amount of data you want to back up.
As it turns out, most modern operating systems come with their own integrated backup software that guides you through the process of setting up and scheduling a backup. Here are some tutorials from Microsoft and Apple.
In an effort to be environmentally responsible and provide energy savings for the University, ITS is providing tips and tricks to configure your computer to save power.
Why should I care about my computer’s energy use?
Desktop computers use a lot of energy! Some simple facts:
- After lighting and air conditioning, computers consume the most energy in Clark’s office spaces.
- Common desktop computers use about 60 watts and flat screen displays use an additional 30 watts.
- If 50% of Clark’s faculty and staff implemented our recommended settings on their desktop computers, we could save almost $12,000 a year! That’s before you consider the savings with laptops and all of our students’ computers.
For ITS managed Windows computers, we will be utilizing the Power Options control panel. Within the Power Options control panel, we will be using a combination of power saving plans to provide substantial energy savings with minimal effect on your computing experience. You will be free to customize your primary desktop, laptop, and departmental computer lab’s power plans however you like for presentations or other special occasions.
Power plans available from ITS via the Power Options control panel
- When the Clark Recommended power plan is selected your computer will:
Dim Display Turn off display Turn off hard drive Sleep Hibernate Desktop n/a 20 minutes 20 minutes 30 minutes 60 minutes Laptop (plugged in) 5 minutes 20 minutes 20 minutes 30 minutes 60 minutes Laptop
2 minutes 10 minutes 10 minutes 15 minutes 30 minutes
- When the Min Savings / Remote Desktop power plan is selected your computer will:
Dim Display Turn off display Turn off hard drive Sleep Hibernate Desktop n/a 20 minutes 20 minutes Never Never Laptop (plugged in) 5 minutes 20 minutes 20 minutes Never Never Laptop (on battery) 2 minutes 10 minutes 10 minutes Never Never
The Clark Recommended power plan is the recommended option for desktop and laptop computers as it will save the most amount of energy while minimizing the impact on your daily computing. If you need to access you desktop computer remotely, utilizing Remote Desktop Connection, the Min Savings / Remote Desktop power plan is the one that should be selected.
Your computer will start saving energy when left unattended. In this mode, it will decrease power consumption and provide the University with energy savings. To wake it up, simply move the mouse or strike a key on the keyboard. It does take a few seconds for your computer to wake back up; just a little patience will help this effort. None of your programs will be closed, you will not lose any unsaved work, and you will not need to wait for your computer to reboot when you wake it up.
One of the most common ways to get spyware is to download illegal file sharing software and other less-than-reputable items from the Internet. Things are rarely free, always keep this in mind. Most of the time “free” software comes with less than desirable programs bundled in the install package. If you must install a program of this nature make very sure to read the license agreement because it will outline exactly what is being installed.
The best defense against spyware and other unwanted software is not to download it in the first place. Here are a few helpful tips that can protect you from downloading software you don’t want:
Surf and download more safely
- Only download programs from websites you trust. If you’re not sure whether to trust a program you are considering downloading, enter the name of the program into your favorite search engine to see if anyone else has reported that it contains spyware.
- Read all security warnings, license agreements and privacy statements associated with any software you download.
- Never click “Agree” or “OK” to close a window. Instead, click the red “x” in the corner of the window or press Alt + F4 in Windows or Command key + W in OS X on your keyboard to close a window.
- Be wary of popular “free” music and movie file-sharing programs; be sure you understand all of the software packaged with those programs.
- Use a standard user account instead of an administrator account.
If you believe that spyware might be on your computer, ITS recommends that you start a full virus scan on your computer and that you contact the ITS Help Desk with the results.