The doctor looked me in the eye and said “stick out your tongue”. I was dizzy all morning, and thought that was a weird request, but I stuck out my tongue. He said, “OK, you’re probably not having a stroke.” Evidently when you are in the early stages of a stroke you get dizzy and your tongue sticks out at a weird angle. It’s a warning sign. Who knew?

Casey is not having a stroke

The second layer in our PC data security series is the hardware itself. This is often neglected until it’s too late. But how can you know when your computer is about to crash?

Computers also have those weird warning signs. You might think the first sign of trouble is when the hard drive crashes and you lose your data.  Analysts tell us that about 50% of the time a back up is used is because hardware has stopped working “without warning”. But usually there were quite a few warning signs. You just didn’t notice them.

What are those early warning signs? A hard drive starts to run a bit too hot. A device like your touchpad drops off the device manager listing. Random or corrupted data is getting written to your hard drive filling it to capacity. If you leave your computer on you may have even had program crashes that you don’t know about due to memory starting to fail. We’ve all been trained to reboot our computers when something weird happens. But if there is a real problem it’s like putting your tongue back where it belongs because you’re embarrassed it sticks out funny. You haven’t identified or solved the real problem.

Acumen has a utility called the Acumen Advisor that was developed by tech firm Kabuto that does monitoring for large service providers. Our version is free, and it simply monitors several systems on your computer and alerts you when something goes awry. It lives in the system tray at the bottom right and has a little gear icon. You can install it and it will notify you if one of those warning signs pops up. You can download it here: Acumen Advisor. When a problem is reported you can investigate it, give that information to your local PC guy, or use the app to send me a message and ask what’s up. The app creates a ticket for me if you do that, so your request won’t get lost in my crowded inbox. I’ll respond by email and it’s all good, and free.

You can download Acumen Advisor or search for other utilities that will tell you when your computer’s tongue is sticking out weird. I couldn’t find any free ones that monitored everything Acumen Advisor does, but there are some hard drive reporting programs you can run every few days. Or buy a commercial monitoring program and use it.

To recap our first and second layers, we talked about using free DNS filtering to prevent your computer from ever coming in contact with malware sites as the first layer, and maintaining your hardware as the second layer in this post.

As always, if you have a specific question feel free to email me.