New Year’s resolutions for your tech life in 2021

By Eric Geier (Our Founder & Owner)

Originally published by Cox Media Group on 12/28/20

Well, it’s that time of the year! Most of us are wishing for COVID to go away and a better year to come. But as you think about any New Year’s resolutions you want to make for yourself, don’t forget about your tech life.

Here are some resolutions to consider:

Setup automatic backups for your computer and devices: Unfortunately, backups are often ignored until people end up losing data and learning the hard way. Though tech pros like myself can sometimes recover your data after a computer crash or virus, there are certainly times when we cannot, or you have to send your drive off to a clean-room recovery lab for thousands of dollars. If you have photos, documents, and other files you don’t want to lose, you should back them up.

You can see my recommendations of computer security and backup solutions at www.onspottechs.com/recommendations.

Invest in your computer and tech: This year has taught many people just how important technology is in the world. Although we remain mostly distance from each other, technology allows us to see and talk with family and friends. It even allows some to work or attend school or church right in their home. Given how important technology is, I encourage you to invest in it. That doesn’t mean everyone needs a $1,500 computer and all the fancy gadgets, but if your computer or device is 8 years old and running slow, maybe call a tech for advice on cleaning it up or getting an economical yet effective replacement.

Get rid of any computers running Windows XP, Vista, or 7: Microsoft ended all support for Windows 7 in January 2020, Windows Vista in 2017, and XP in 2014. So, if you’re using these Windows editions still, I strongly suggest upgrading to Windows 10 very soon for security and reliability reasons. If your Windows 7 PC is 6 years old or less, it might be upgradable to Windows 10. But if your computer is more than 6 years old, I strongly recommend just buying a new PC.

Try some new tech: This is a great time to try out new technology, whether that’s buying a new gadget or just using what you already have. There are literally endless things you can do on your computer and mobile devices. Maybe start by searching for websites or apps on any interests or hobbies you have.

Maybe it’s something you’ve put off learning or family and friends have suggested you try.

Get a professional checkup: Even if you don’t seem to have issues, I strongly recommend getting a full computer checkup each year. A computer tech can check many security, safety, and reliability aspects. They can discover potential issues before they become a problem, solve any annoyances, and answer any questions or concerns you have. They can also get help setting up and learning new technology.

Enable two-factor authentication: Most sensitive websites and accounts like email, banks, and online stores allow you to enable two-factor authentication.

This would require an extra step to login to your account after entering the password, such as entering a one-time code sent to you via email, text message, or a phone call. You can usually make this happen with every login or just logins from new/other computers.

I suggest at least the latter on your important accounts.

Don’t fall for remote hackers and scammers: Remember, no legit company will ever call you out of the blue and say you have computer issues. And no legit company will prompt you on the computer to call them. There are scammers who will say they’re from Microsoft, Windows, Apple or other popular corporations.

Never follow anything these scammers say. I suggest just hanging up, and call a local computer pro if in doubt.

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