Don’t become a zombie!

Ever wondered how to speed up a slow computer?

For starters, you can try a few tools in the operating system. You might want to:

  • defragment your hard disk (Windows)
  • check it for errors (Windows and Mac)
  • repair disk permissions (Mac)

If these fail, you might want to buy and use a third-party tool to help you fix your hard disk (where most, if not all, computer problems reside).

What if none of these steps works? Your problems might go a little deeper. They might be caused by other people. Law enforcement agencies consider them criminals. And malware is their weapon of choice.

Certain types of malware take over unsuspecting computers, making them do the bidding of their creators. For instance, your computer might, at this moment, be sending out spam. It might be recruited as a “zombie” in a botnet. In either case, your computer works for somebody else, leaving it less time to work for you. And this extra workload slows it down.

Fortunately, you can avoid such problems by developing a few simple habits:

  • Password-protect your computer and network
  • Don’t click anything in popups claiming to help you protect your computer
  • Don’t click on links in spam emails

Read a bunch of other useful tips in the article “Avoiding Botnets and Zombies” at HowStuffWorks.com. And if you need to fix your computer, check out the rest of the article, plus links, for tips.

While you’re at it, test your computer security knowledge! Take the 10-question multiple-choice HowStuffWorks.com Computer Security Quiz.

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