What You Said: Your Three Rules For Computer Newbies

By Jason Fitzpatrick on April 27th, 2012


Earlier this week we asked you to share your three golden rules that all computer newbies should follow; now we’re back to highlight the rules and advice you dispensed.

If we had to boil down all 250+ comments into a composite set of rules, they would look a lot like:

  1. Backup/Encrypt Your Data
  2. When In Doubt, Google It.
  3. Reboot First, Pester for Tech Support Next.

In addition to that, there were tons of little gems hidden through the three-rule sets you guys shared:

Require a password for login, even on the standard account. Have someone help you to place restrictions on this account so that nothing can use the cached credentials of the logged in user to take malicious actions inside your machine, and use an even stronger password on the built-in Administrator account. You can always right-click and use the ‘run as’ in the context menu if you need to install something. Might be annoying but just think how frustrating it’d be to someone trying to hijack your system. – Joel


Internet safety: If it pops up, don’t click on it. If something sounds too good to be true, it is. Before you believe anything you read, look it up. Search engines are your friends, stuff you just happen to read on the internet should be treated as lies until you have verified it with more than one reputable source. – Infmom


Don’t be intimidated! Don’t be afraid to turn the computer on. Don’t be afraid to click on anything. And don’t be afraid to experiment. We can go into backups and saving data later (that too is important). But for a new user, I just want them to be comfortable using the darn thing. Therefore, this is #1. – Anonymous


There’s an old adage/joke from the earlier days of computing that the three rules of computer were back up your work, back up your work and back up your work. A bit over stated but still true. – Frank Kaplan

The entire comment thread would make for an excellent newbie read, frankly, as the repetition of key points (secure your user accounts, backup your files, stop clicking everything that pops up in your browser, etc.) might help these important rules stick. Hit up the full comment thread here.

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 04/27/12
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