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Ways to work more efficiently with Windows 10 – Part 2

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Before we move on to a few more useful ways of working with Windows 10, a quick warning. You may have heard about a massive cyber-attack that hit over 70 countries last week? Notably the British National Health Service which has led to many operations and treatments being cancelled as patient information was not accessible.

This attack was a ransomware attack, and I devoted two columns to this nasty malware last year, not least, because several clients in Malawi had been infected. To recap, a ransomware attack will encrypt all your personal data. Cleaning out this malware with an anti-virus solution will not, however, break this encryption. Therefore, none of your personal data will be accessible to you unless you pay a ransom, via Bitcoin, to get the key. If infected, you have no other option.

Unless you have recently carried out a full backup of all your data, and can then restore it. Have you? The solution to avoiding infection is first and foremost to ensure you NEVER click on any unsolicited attachments sent by email or Skype, even if the sender is known to you. Confirm with them first. Also, avoid unsafe websites and the links on them. Finally, ensure all external data, via USB flash, or external drives are first scanned with an up to date anti-virus application, before being accessed via your computer.

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And most importantly, carry out a full backup process as soon as you possibly can. Contact us if unsure on how to do this. Back to Window 10 and some handy hints. I think this week we should focus on security, especially in view of what I have written above. Firstly, another very useful shortcut that I use a lot of the time.

Right click on your start button. What you see there are shortcuts to most of your most useful system applications, including Control Panel and File Explorer. Click on Control Panel – which is what you will need to explore the tips below. Ok, so let us ensure we have secured our computer. Go to Windows Defender, this is your inbuilt Microsoft anti-virus suite.

Ensure it is on and up to date and use this to perform scans on your computer or any other external device you choose to connect. Beware that several new computers come with an alternative trial anti-virus solution installed. This disables Microsoft Defender, so look to either purchase a full version of this, or uninstall it. In my opinion, Defender is good enough for personal computer usage. So, check on it and make sure it is on.

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Now, let us look at your backup option. Again, you will find a Backup and Restore shortcut in Control Panel that you should use to schedule regular system and data backups. Follow the guidance steps and ensure you leave your computer on and connected to your backup site for the first full backup, this will take some time. Do look to back up to an external device or the cloud. There are many free cloud backup options out there, and if you have a Windows Live account, you are automatically given free space in the cloud through Microsoft OneDrive.

Hopefully you have now protected your computer from attack. To be extra safe, click on BitLocket Drive Encryption. This encrypts your drive and restricts access to your data in the event of attack or theft of the device. Also, have a look at the Windows Firewall and configure that to your satisfaction.

If you feel your computer seems to be misbehaving in any way – slowness of response or lack or responsiveness of any of your devices, go straight to Troubleshooting. Using this function will allow Win10 to scan what you are worried about, and identify and resolve any existing problems.

Finally, ensure that your Windows Updates are always up to date. This ensures your device is optimized and working efficiently at all times. This is only a quick browse around the Control Panel, but I strongly recommend that you spend some time exploring this folder and making yourself familiar with the options here.

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