We've assembled a short list of helpful hints and tricks to keep you from having a technology meltdown. We'll update this section regularly with useful information that you can use at home and at work.

If you're using a computer, keeping it healthy is important. Follow these tips to keep it running smoothly.

1. Perform regular virus scans.

Computers are susceptible to attacks in the form of trojans, worms and other viral entities. Routine virus checks will help eliminate possible 'infection' and future headaches from unwanted intruders.

2. Use care when unplugging peripherals.

If you connect a camera, MP3 player or other device to your computer, avoid yanking it from the USB port when you computer is powered on. They have the potential short-out the connector socket and motherboard. Read your manufacturer manuals for proper ejection and removal of all devices.

3. Backup your data.

Avoid losing irreplaceable files, photos, music and information when your computer crashes or if your laptop is stolen/missing. Backup to a CD, DVD, flash drive, external hard drive or online service.

4. Remove unused files and applications.

You'd be surprised to discover how quickly these can build-up. Not only do unused files and apps take up valuable hard drive space, they can also slow your computer down if they're instructed to launch during startup. Access the properties of each item to determine when you've last used them and delete anything older than a year.

5. Clear the Internet browser cache, cookies and history.

Deleting items in these areas will ensure that you're viewing the most current version available for a web page, ensure privacy and free-up space. Depending upon the browser that you use, you will need to follow their direction for clean-up.

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