GEEK GUIDE: Lies a “Geek” Told You
By Beth Sachtjen
Computer maintenance isn't the most exciting concept, but perhaps you'd be more interested in the topic if you knew you've been scandalously misinformed with outdated information and mythology about its maintenance.
You are now entering the Geek Guide Twilight Zone: a dark, seedy underworld of technology treachery with the following popular computer lies:
“Defragment the heck out of your PC!”
If you've moved from Windows XP to Vista to Windows 7, the exciting arc your defragmentation tool has taken might surprise you. In Windows XP, you knew that defragmenting your computer simply made it work faster. This is because defragmentation does two things: groups related files and makes more efficient use of free space. However, Windows Vista was developed with a new algorithm that accounted for the fact that defragging pieces of a file larger than 64 MB requires more performance input/output than the benefit of defragging. Windows Vista made this a schedulable process, and Windows 7 made defragmentation of multiple drives automatically a default. Therefore, if you are a Windows 7 user that regularly defragments your computer manually, you are wasting valuable Facebook time.
Read more from the Disk Defragmentation Engineers at Windows.
“Make your login the Admin account”
If you are wondering whether or not you should be the admin, you can find your answer with one simple question.
"Should I be the admin?"
If you answered that question with anything other than, "No", strongly reconsider your abilty to safely administrate your computer.
A recent study found that 90 percent of Windows 7 security flaws are mitigated by restricting admin access. In fact, the security of all Operating Systems can be greatly improved simply by not using the admin account for standard computer usage. While you will be required to enter the admin credentials to make changes to the system, this is a major alert that you are doing so to prevent malware and viruses.
“You should repair your Mac OS X permissions as maintenance”
If you are repairing your permissions at all, you probably know that all of the files on Mac OS X have permissions applied to them. What you may not know is that the Repair Disk Permissions does not magically know what permissions a file should have. Instead, it looks at what permissions are and what Mac OS X thinks they should be. Simply put, Repair Disk Permissions resets the permissions to a "known state" whether or not they are correct. Repair Disk Permissions is a useful tool, but it is a troubleshooting tool more appropriately used when you are experiencing actual issues with permissions. Read more via Apple's support site.
“You use Linux so security is not an issue”
Because Linux has a smaller user base than other Operating Systems, some Linux users believe that there is less threat of malicious attack. If you run Linux, you are probably aware of this “security through obscurity” controversy. If it is true that Linux survives more attacks as the operating system of most web servers, and if it is true that the average Linux user has more computer savvy, than it is also true that you should know better than to leave yourself unprotected.
"I'll update later"
Perhaps most shocking of all lies are the ones we tell ourselves.
Your system has prompted you to update... again.
You've invited it to remind you later... again.
System updates are meant to protect against vulnerabilities that are “known issues.” When you continually postpone these updates you are amplifying your security risk and using a flawed product. Don't delay system updates and restarts unless you are doing something worth the risk of taking a risk in the first place.