It is that time of the year when many people get new phones and computers as gifts. It is time to remind people several things to do with the devices early to make sure they keep all the information that is important.

First, I would strongly urge you to install an anti-virus (anti-malware program/app) on the new device. Some come with an anti-virus program but often they are programs that either need activated and/or they only are good for a limited time. You can buy anti-virus programs for your devices (which many are great) but there are also good to great anti-virus programs for free.

The one I like best currently is available free or you can pay and get some add-ons. The program is Avast and is available at avast.com or in your app store. I use the free version for both my phone and PC. In addition, on my PC I use superantispyware to clean spyware off my PC. Most anti-virus programs do spyware also, but my experience is not well. Superantispyware is available free at superantispyware.com (different product than superantivirus, which is a program that will load your machine with malware). They also sell a version that will keep it updated automatically for life on several devices and if you watch their pop-ups you can get it for $10. I was happy with the free and then bought the paid version and it just adds on the updating automatically, stops small pop-up reminders in bottom corner of the screen.

The second item I think is extremely important is backup your data on your phone and PC regularly. For the phone for most people this is backing up pictures. If you do not download the pictures to some other device regularly then you are running the risk of losing some precious memories. On the PC this means pictures, documents, videos, etc. You may want to back up programs etc. on both, but you can get those again if needed (might have to buy) so not as critical in my opinion.

You can attach a cable and download to your PC or if you have storage on the cloud (Microsoft gives a fair amount of space free at OneDrive, Google at Google Drive and others and I also store pictures at Shutterfly.com (free unlimited space) you can just upload the pictures via your Internet connection. You can still have them on your phone to show off, but if phone damaged you still have the.

On the PC you can backup your data to external drives or to the cloud. I back up my data/information weekly normally to an external disk drive (I do to two) and then I have copies around. I try to keep the external backup device at a different location (such as office) so that they are protected better. I take lots of pictures and have written many articles (over 500 of these newspaper technology articles) and have done many videos for classes and external hard drives makes sense for me. A large thumb drive may work for you, depending on number and size of files.

Enjoy your new technology devices.

Dwight Watt does computer work for businesses, individuals and organizations and teaches about computers at a college in Northwest Georgia. His website is www.dwightwatt.com. His email address is [email protected]