1. Opt for the laptop. While that desktop you’ve been eyeing may be tempting, a laptop is the most logical choice for any college student; they are light, portable, and secure. Plus, these days, laptops are built for speed and have an incredible amount of storage space.
2. Invest in a comprehensive security suite, replete with software that defends against phishing, spam, spyware, and viruses. It will keep you safe while surfing online and protect your computer.
3. Use strong passwords for your computer settings and online accounts that include a combination of letters, characters, or numbers, and that would be hard for others to guess. Never divulge your passwords to others or write them down.
4. If your school offers them, take advantage of free software licenses. For example, some schools may offer students licenses for Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, or even security software included in tuition costs.
5. Keep a firewall running on your computer at all times to prevent hackers from accessing the information on your computer.
6. Use an external hard drive to store your music and digital photo libraries; this way, you aren’t taking up valuable space on your computer’s hard drive with files you probably do not need to access every day.
7. Set up email filters to keep spam and another unwanted email out of your inbox.
8. When using a public computer (like at the campus library), do not save any login information and always log out of online accounts before leaving the computer. Similarly, never leave your computer unattended with sensitive information on the screen, even if it is only for a minute.
9. Free file-sharing websites are popular on college campuses, but most (if not all) are rampant with spyware, trojans, viruses, and other malicious programs and code that could harm your computer. Avoid using these programs. Remember that downloaded music and movies are illegal.
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10. Imagine losing your entire music library. Or the final term paper you’ve been working on the past month—backup all important documents and files on your computer. Whether you need Windows or Mac backup software, a wide range of providers offer robust backup solutions apt for college students.