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Tech Sense by John Bell April 2022: Q & A

Updated: May 6


Tech Sense Q&A

Every now and then I get questions that I put aside and answer when I have room left in my column. I have accumulated a few questions so I thought I would take the entire column to address some of these questions this month.


Should I Turn Off My Computer at Night?

I was helping a friend address some computer issues and was asked if the power should be turned off or the computer unplugged every night. Power consumption seems to be the primary reason why some people want to turn the computer off at night. Modern computers automatically manage the power so very little power is used when the computer is idle and not being used. I believe it is best to leave the power on. While the computer is idle the Operating System (OS) and other software will install updates and perform system maintenance tasks. If needed the computer may also restart the computer to make certain all of the updates are fully installed. This is also the time that anti-virus software will run scans to protect your computer. While you generally want to leave the computer turned on, it is not a bad idea to logout of the computer when you are not using it.

There are situations where you may want to turn off your computer or even unplug it. You may want to unplug your computer if you will be away for a while or if there is bad weather coming. This can protect your computer from lightning and power surges.


Should I use a Surge Protector?

Surge protectors are devices that plug into an outlet and then computers or other electronics plug into the surge protector and are protected from power surges or lightning. It is a good idea to protect any expensive electronic device with a surge protector. Whole house surge protectors can be installed to protect all of the device in a home. Between cars hitting powerlines, transformers blowing out, and lightning storms it isn’t uncommon to get hit by a surge at least once a year. I even pack one with me when I travel to protect my devices when I am on the road.


Do I Need Anti-Virus Software for My Computer?

Yes, you do need anti-virus software for any Windows or Apple computer. The good news is that Microsoft’s Windows Defender Software is good enough for my people using a Windows computer. The traditional McAfee and Norton Software products are fine as well. Apple has been caught with their pants down multiple times, so it is best to have a good antivirus product even for Apple computers. Chromebooks and other computers running ChromeOS generally do not need anti-virus software. With ChromeOS the software is scanned before it is loaded from the cloud and protected there before it downloads to the computer.


Do I Need Anti-Virus Software for My Mobile Phone or Tablet?

In general, the answer is no you don’t antivirus for your phone as long as you don’t root or jailbreak the phone. Most software for these devices comes from an application store that acts as a walled garden preventing malware from entering your device. On those rare occasions when a piece of software proves to be dangerous Google and Apple have been known to forcibly remove the troublesome software from every one’s phones.

If, however you download software from other sources besides the official stores, then I do recommend use of both a firewall and antivirus software.


Do I need to upgrade to Windows 11?

The answer is; “it depends.” Is there a must have feature that you need in Windows 11? I believe that the answer for most is no. Do you have a computer that is windows 11 compatible? If so, then you may choose to upgrade to Windows 11 now, or you may choose to stay with Windows 10 for another 3 years. In general, if you are currently using Windows 10 and it meets your needs there is no need to rush to get Windows 11.


Is Now a Good Time Replace My Computer?

I get this question, or the variant, “should I get a new computer now?” a lot these days. The prices of computers and the unavailability of parts and components have a lot of people concerned about computer purchases. Especially for higher end business and gaming computers. This also applies to things like printers, graphic cards, and monitors.

So, let’s approach this with some rules of thumb. I will assume that we are talking about a computer to run a current version of Microsoft Office or Office 365, web browsing, email, and casual gaming. In general, if you have a windows computer that can be upgraded to Windows 11 there should be no hurry to upgrade or purchase a new computer. If your Windows 10 computer works well enough for you there is no need to upgrade it either. But, you may want to plan upgrade within 3 years. If it is too slow consider adding RAM or replacing the hard drive with an SSD Drive. If your computer is still running Windows 7 or an earlier operating system, it is time to replace the computer now. Or you can get rid of Windows and install Linux. But that is a whole different article.


Am I Finished?

Yes, for this month I am finished. If you have any technology questions you want me to tackle in the future please feel ask.Tech Sense Q&A

Every now and then I get questions that I put aside and answer when I have room left in my column. I have accumulated a few questions so I thought I would take the entire column to address some of these questions this month.


Should I Turn Off My Computer at Night?

I was helping a friend address some computer issues and was asked if the power should be turned off or the computer unplugged every night. Power consumption seems to be the primary reason why some people want to turn the computer off at night. Modern computers automatically manage the power so very little power is used when the computer is idle and not being used. I believe it is best to leave the power on. While the computer is idle the Operating System (OS) and other software will install updates and perform system maintenance tasks. If needed the computer may also restart the computer to make certain all of the updates are fully installed. This is also the time that anti-virus software will run scans to protect your computer. While you generally want to leave the computer turned on, it is not a bad idea to logout of the computer when you are not using it.

There are situations where you may want to turn off your computer or even unplug it. You may want to unplug your computer if you will be away for a while or if there is bad weather coming. This can protect your computer from lightning and power surges.


Should I use a Surge Protector?

Surge protectors are devices that plug into an outlet and then computers or other electronics plug into the surge protector and are protected from power surges or lightning. It is a good idea to protect any expensive electronic device with a surge protector. Whole house surge protectors can be installed to protect all of the device in a home. Between cars hitting powerlines, transformers blowing out, and lightning storms it isn’t uncommon to get hit by a surge at least once a year. I even pack one with me when I travel to protect my devices when I am on the road.


Do I Need Anti-Virus Software for My Computer?

Yes, you do need anti-virus software for any Windows or Apple computer. The good news is that Microsoft’s Windows Defender Software is good enough for my people using a Windows computer. The traditional McAfee and Norton Software products are fine as well. Apple has been caught with their pants down multiple times, so it is best to have a good antivirus product even for Apple computers. Chromebooks and other computers running ChromeOS generally do not need anti-virus software. With ChromeOS the software is scanned before it is loaded from the cloud and protected there before it downloads to the computer.


Do I Need Anti-Virus Software for My Mobile Phone or Tablet?

In general, the answer is no you don’t antivirus for your phone as long as you don’t root or jailbreak the phone. Most software for these devices comes from an application store that acts as a walled garden preventing malware from entering your device. On those rare occasions when a piece of software proves to be dangerous Google and Apple have been known to forcibly remove the troublesome software from every one’s phones.

If, however you download software from other sources besides the official stores, then I do recommend use of both a firewall and antivirus software.


Do I need to upgrade to Windows 11?

The answer is; “it depends.” Is there a must have feature that you need in Windows 11? I believe that the answer for most is no. Do you have a computer that is windows 11 compatible? If so, then you may choose to upgrade to Windows 11 now, or you may choose to stay with Windows 10 for another 3 years. In general, if you are currently using Windows 10 and it meets your needs there is no need to rush to get Windows 11.


Is Now a Good Time Replace My Computer?

I get this question, or the variant, “should I get a new computer now?” a lot these days. The prices of computers and the unavailability of parts and components have a lot of people concerned about computer purchases. Especially for higher end business and gaming computers. This also applies to things like printers, graphic cards, and monitors.

So, let’s approach this with some rules of thumb. I will assume that we are talking about a computer to run a current version of Microsoft Office or Office 365, web browsing, email, and casual gaming. In general, if you have a windows computer that can be upgraded to Windows 11 there should be no hurry to upgrade or purchase a new computer. If your Windows 10 computer works well enough for you there is no need to upgrade it either. But, you may want to plan upgrade within 3 years. If it is too slow consider adding RAM or replacing the hard drive with an SSD Drive. If your computer is still running Windows 7 or an earlier operating system, it is time to replace the computer now. Or you can get rid of Windows and install Linux. But that is a whole different article.


Am I Finished?

Yes, for this month I am finished. If you have any technology questions you want me to tackle in the future please feel ask.

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