Last week I wrote a post on what I consider classic good and bad computing advices and asked for input from readers as well. Quite a few good suggestions were made in comments and they are worth a post to sum them up.
Don’t be nervous about stuff (by Rush)
Computers are mostly predictable. Same sequence of actions is very likely to produce same result. Getting hyped up about something going wrong is a sure way to make things worse, not better.
Keep software under control (by Chocobito of Bosque Oculto de Chocobo)
Installing software can introduce a lot of issues to the system – files, libraries, registry entries and up to unwanted malware. Keeping amount of software at minimum and following correct uninstallation routines ensures that system stays healthy and stable.
Curiously plenty of advices are totally on the fence between good/bad and can swing both ways. Which makes them even more dangerous, depending on who tells whom to do what.
[Don’t] use antivirus software (by Klemen of Brumec.org)
Antivirus is a tool that can be considered both essential and useless. They do work, but not as nearly useful as developers try to present them. Alternatives (firewalls, behavioral detection, permissions) are all more complicated and have higher upkeep, but that shouldn’t ever be a reason to skip them for power users.
[Don’t] mess with registry (by Rush, Samer of Freeware Genius)
Manual or automated registry cleanup either is reason for many horror stories. It is easy way to break things, but just as often it is required to fix stuff. Rule of a thumb – only use absolutely foolproof software (such as CCleaner) or be absolutely confident about what you edit manually.
[Don’t] update OS and software (by Sandrina)
Updating software can just as well plug glaring security hole or introduce a new one. Keeping everything up to date remains good policy… That will occasionally cost you nerves (or more). Unfortunately updates are often far from no-brainer decision and take some experience to evaluate when and if you should move on to fresh new version.
Defragment drives (by Samer of Freeware Genius)
File fragmentation is a continuous issue that require good scheduled (or at least regular) defrags in place to keep it under control. On other hand it is so persistent and known that some people arrive at wrong conclusions. There are some distinct exceptions to when and how you should defrag. Namely realtime background defrag some promote is evil (stressful to drive for little gain) and SSD drives shouldn't be defragmented, they are much less affected by fragmentation, but easier to wear out.