This Tips is designed to help you be more efficient and provide greater security to the computer, and your account (netID). Following these suggestions should help minimize the number of viruses and defects that infect your machine.
The computer Desktop is actually a file that grows and decreases in size, depending on your activities on the computer. Storing files and folders on the Desktop is a dangerous practice. If actual files and folders are stored on the Desktop, and the Desktop file fails, then you stand the chance of losing anything that was stored on the Desktop. Through the use of diagnostic and repair utilities, these items on the Desktop can sometime be recovered and repaired. But, in some cases, the files are lost forever. Therefore, it is important to store actual files and folders within the hard drive (C:/). If you have files and/or folders that you access frequently, you can make Aliases (Mac) or Shortcuts (PC) of the items and place the Aliases/Shortcuts on the Desktop, instead of the actual items. Aliases/Shortcuts are small files (about 15k) that point to the actual item and open it.
• You can create Aliases on a Mac by highlighting the item you wish to alias, then using a keyboard shortcut (Apple Key + L), or go to the “File Menu” and select “Make Alias.”
• On a PC, you highlight the item you wish to make a Shortcut of, then right-click with your mouse. A contextual dialog menu will appear. Within the menu select “Create Shortcut.”
It is important to keep your netID password to yourself, and not share it with anyone. This netID password identifies you as an authorized user on the NU networks. Having your netID fall into the hands of someone who is malicious, can cause you great trouble with accessing the NU network. Therefore, it is important to keep your password secret.
You password should consist of at least 6 (six) characters. Within the six characters, your password should contain one of the acceptable symbols, other than numbers and letters. This will keep your password secure, and make it harder for anyone to copy your password and use it with your netID. You should get into the habit of changing your netID password every three months. This will provide more security for your netID and you. NUIT sends out notices when it is time for you to change your password.
To find out more about changing your password, updating your directory listing, activating/deactivating your email while on vacations, mail forwarding, etc., and policies about your netID, please go to the following URL link: http://snap.it.northwestern.edu
OS and Virus Protection
The best way to prevent your machine from becoming infected with a virus, worm, Trojan horse, or any other type of malicious code, is to always keep your machines as updated as possible. You should have your machine automatically set to check for OS (Operating System, ie…Windows 2000, WinXP, Mac OS 10.3.X) updates on a regular basis. If your machine is not set to do it automatically, or you choose not to have this feature turned on, then you should get into a regular schedule of checking for OS updates. You should also run Norton’s Live Update on a frequent schedule. Running this utility will update your machine’s virus definition file. This file is comprised of a listing of all known virus strings. Keeping this file updated will help reduce the potential for infection.
• To update your Mac OS software, open the System Preferences (found under the Blue Apple Menu).
• Locate the Software Update icon. Double-click on it to open it.
• Select the “Check Now” button to run the Software Update application. The software will contact Apple’s OS download site and scan to see if any new updates are available for your machine.
• You can set Software Update to check for new software automatically by selecting the “Check for Updates” feature within the dialog window. Once you have checked this feature, you can determine how often you want the software to go out and check for update. It can be daily, weekly or monthly. Weekly seems to be the best selection.