5 Essential Tricks every computer user needs to know

There's no rule that says you need to know everything about computers. I bet most of you will never need to troubleshoot processes, for example.

However, there are some things that I think every computer user should know. These tips keep your computer running fast, make you more productive and save you a ton of frustration.
The best part is that they won't cost a cent. They might even save you money if you don't have to pay for tech support.
Speaking of which, if you're the tech support person for your family and friends, be sure to share this Tip with them. You'll get more work done if your mailbox isn't filling up with subject lines like "Do I have a virus?" or "Help! Having Wi-Fi problems!"

Unless you have a really old computer, it should be much faster than you are. In other words, when you're saving files or selecting text, things should be instantaneous.
The longest part of the process is usually you telling the computer what you want it to do. Well, the fix for that is keyboard shortcuts.
Say you're ready to print a document. Instead of using the mouse to move a cursor around the screen and selecting "Print" from a drop-down menu, just hit Control+P on your keyboard.
There are dozens of keyboard shortcuts like this. Press Ctrl+S to instantly save the file you're working on or press Ctrl+Z to undo a mistake.
It takes a little getting used to at first, but after you try keyboard shortcuts for a while, I guarantee that your mouse will start gathering dust.

New viruses appear daily, and hackers keep making them craftier. Some lock your files and hold them for ransom. Others sneak on to your computer, steal your bank account info and drain your accounts without any human help.
You don't want to mess with any of them, but if your software is out of date, you aren't protected.
Every computer you own should have an antivirus program, a firewall and an antispyware program. 
Security software is good, but you need to make sure you don't have holes in other places. Your browser is a prime target for hackers, so make sure it's got the latest updates with this site.
You should also make sure Windows is up to date and problem software like Java is secured.

Have you ever tried to share a bunch of photos or a video through email? You know that it's a mess. There are always a few email providers that will complain about file sizes - it might even be yours!
Even if the email sends, you're filling up your friend's inbox. You might think that there has to be a better way - and there is.
Take a look at cloud storage and sharing services likeDropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Apple iCloud or Google Drive. These give you a few gigabytes of space for free, which should be enough to share just about anything you need.
Sending a download link through email is much better than sending big attachments. Trust me, everyone will appreciate it.

A spotty and sluggish Wi-Fi network is enough to drive most people up a wall. Videos keep stopping to buffer, video calls get choppy and online games lag or cut out.
Before you focus on the Wi-Fi, make sure it's not your Internet connection. 
If it is your Wi-Fi running slow, first make sure it's encrypted. A sudden drop-off in wireless network speed could be a sign that criminals or your neighbors are using your open connection to surf and download files. 
If parts of your home are Wi-Fi dead spots or get very weak signals, try placing the router in an open, central location - away from walls and obstructions, such as metal filing cabinets.
You could also try the trusty beer-can hack. This involves cutting a beer or soda can open with a utility knife to make a parabolic antenna out of it. This offbeat trick can boost your network by two bars or more. 

Getting your computer working well is great, but keeping it working long term is another story. You need to practice regular maintenance or it will just fall apart again.
Like I mentioned above, be sure to keep your operating system, browser and security software updated. You also want to keep it clean inside and out.
If you spend more than two minutes a day looking for files on your hard drive, it's time to organize your files and clear out old stuff. These handy freebies will help you. Keeping a block of free space on your hard drive will also give a speed boost to your operating system.
Of course, the most important maintenance tip I can give is to back up your data regularly using a cloud service. This way, your backup is safe from fire, theft and flood, and your information is always available when you need it.


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