It is no real surprise that a lot of small business owners know very little about their computer systems and how to maintain them. Unfortunately, unless they have a trusted IT professional like me to assist them, their computers will eventually either start slowing down or sometimes even start crashing. Neglecting to properly maintain your computer systems adds a huge, avoidable risk to your business as it can introduce viruses, make you vulnerable to hackers, data theft and loss, or a miriade of other security risks. Furthermore, you want to be extra careful when it comes to “free” software, browser toolbars, that cute kitty screensaver that you just have to have and other random software packages that are not related to your core business objectives. Bringing these unnecessary extras into your office will not only slow down your systems further, but they can also carry potentially unsafe software, spy-ware, mal-ware, – or worse – Trojan viruses and worms. I do like to make analogies when it comes to computers. Cars seem to be the best to compare. Unlike computers, I personally don’t know a lot about cars. However, I do know when my car needs to have its oil changed, when to replace the headlights, put gas into it to make it go, and just recently I helped a friend replace her windshield wiper fluid. Ask me how to rebuild a carburetor — and I’m lost. Computers are not that much different when it comes to basic maintenance. Over the next few weeks, I am going to teach you how to keep your PC in tip top shape! I will cover updating your software, removing temp files and other non-essential junk, optimizing your data on your hard drive so your programs and files open faster, and offer some practical advice on how to avoid putting your computer at risk. So, please stay tuned!!