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Clean out your computer this Privacy Awareness Week

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This week (13-19 May) is Privacy Awareness Week 2018, held every year to promote and raise awareness of privacy issues and the importance of protecting personal information.

One of the ways you can protect your digital information is to ensure you regularly clean out your computer and review your files and folders. Here’s a quick checklist of things you can do to clean up your computer (and phones and tablet!)

  1. Update all software – New threats against software are discovered on a daily basis, and companies work hard to ensure they’ve defended against those threats in the latest version. It’s recommended that you update your software to help you protect against new threats, use new or enhanced features and improve the stability of your software.
  2. Remove Apps no longer in use – We all need the latest app to help us in our lives, and often move onto another one for something different quite quickly. This leads to a desktop full of colorful icons, a full hard drive and computer memory at capacity. This is a good time to delete extra apps, delete large files or remove them to an external storage solution and run a disk clean-up utility.
  3. Clean out your downloads folder – Each cat meme, how-to video and movie trailer contributes to the larger problem of reduced space. Take a moment to remove them and don’t forget to delete the items from your Recycle Bin as this isn’t done automatically.
  4. Review programs running on ‘start-up’ – A number of programs automatically launch on your computer every time you turn it on. The more programs which are doing so the longer it’ll take your computer to boot. Remove unwanted programs from the start-up menu, right click the unwanted program and click delete. Remember, you aren’t removing these programs from your computer; you’re only preventing them from booting on start-up.
  5. Ensure that you have a back-up solution in operation. While computers can be replaced, operating systems can be reinstalled and applications can be downloaded again, data is a different story. A data back-up is essential in the information age. Back-up solutions consist of manually doing it yourself, setting up a transfer to a different computer or investing in a reliable cloud solution. Why not schedule an annual reminder for March 31, World Backup Day?

Few of us are diligent enough to have a perfectly clean and organised computer, phone or tablet. The simple steps above will help to make sure that you are minimising risks and potential heartache.

GWI Consultant Elisabeth Brennan

Elisabeth Brennan

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