During finals, the Technology Service Desk tends to receive a more walk-in traffic due to technology malfunctions. Problems range from viruses and malware that prevent a computer from operating properly to computer shutdowns that result in missing papers. Here are a few tips to stay tech-savvy during finals, so technological mishaps don’t add to your list of stressors.

Save, save, save

The most important thing to keep in mind during finals is to save your work constantly. You can never anticipate when a program, or even the computer itself, will shut down unexpectedly. While some programs like Microsoft Word have an auto-save feature, they are never foolproof. It’s easy to lose a lot of work in a single instant. Additionally, it’s possible for files to become corrupt, which makes it impossible to recover your hard work. For extra security, consider saving backup files to flash drives, cloud storage like Google Drive, or emailing files to yourself.

When using a laptop checked out from Media Services, it is best practice to email files to yourself frequently or save them directly to a flash drive. This is because Media Services laptops come with a program called Deep Freeze, which resets the computer to factory settings after a reboot (or shutdown). If you’ve saved files to the desktop, they will be deleted during the reboot process.

Be wary of email attachments

While this is important year-round, be particularly wary of unexpected email attachments in your inbox during finals week. If you click untrusted attachments, you risk loading a virus or malware onto your computer. A virus or malware will compromise your computer’s ability to function, not to mention make your computer even more vulnerable to cyber attacks. If you receive an email with an attachment that you weren’t expecting (even if from a friend), you should contact the sender and confirm that the attachment is legitimate.

If you suspect your computer has been infected, you should scan your computer with virus and malware cleaners such as MalwareBytes or Avast.

Keep your computer up-to-date

Technology companies don’t take finals into account when releasing updates to their software platforms. Programs like Java or Flash might work on your computer one day, but not the next, due to a required update. You should check for Windows or Mac updates regularly, so you don’t have to worry about wasting exam time getting your computer up and running.

Make sure you can login

If one of your exams requires using a personal device, make sure your wireless connection is working, and you can log into any required sites (e.g., Moodle). If you have issues logging in, try resetting your password so you don’t waste exam time trying to figure out why you can’t get connected.

If you do encounter problems, feel free to visit the Technology Service Desk or call at 336-278-5200. Please note that the Technology Service Desk does not assist with hardware or software issues on personal devices.

Image by Flickr user Manveet Singh

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Ryan Gay

Ryan Gay

Ryan is a Technical Writer and Help Desk Associate for Campus Technology Support. He has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in English from UNC-Greensboro.

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