5 December 2023

10 Technology Myths Busted!

By Ronald Smith

As a tech lover, I’m often the go-to person for my friends and family whenever they have questions or issues with their devices. And let me tell you, I hear a lot of things that make me shake my head.

Technology is meant to be accessible to everyone, but sometimes myths and misconceptions get in the way. That’s why I want to set the record straight and debunk some of the most common tech myths out there.

1. The Refresh button speeds up Windows

Have you ever thought that clicking on the “Refresh” button in Windows would magically speed up your computer? Well, I hate to break it to you, but that’s just not true.

Let me explain
What does the Refresh button do?

When you click the Refresh button, it does something pretty straightforward – it basically gives your desktop or explorer window a fresh coat of paint. It takes all those icons sitting there and updates them to match any recent changes. Sounds useful, right?

Well, not really. In most cases, the Refresh button doesn’t do anything that helpful. It’s just there, hanging out in the corner, waiting for you to give it a purpose.

But even though it might not seem all that useful, the Refresh button still has a place in the world, even in the shiny new Windows 10. You see, sometimes things get a bit wonky, and changes you’ve made don’t quite show up the way they should. That’s when the Refresh button swoops in to save the day, making sure those icons match up with your latest updates. It’s like a quick fix for those moments when technology just needs a little nudge in the right direction. So, anytime you need to bring your icons into step with your changes, just give that Refresh button a click and watch the magic happen.

10 Technology Myths Busted!

Let’s say you change the name of a folder, but the new name doesn’t show up. Or perhaps you resize an image, but the old size is still displayed. In these situations, clicking the Refresh button will solve the problem.

Why does your computer seem faster after refreshing?

You might be thinking, “I do notice that things run smoother after I refresh my computer. Why is that?” Well, when you refresh your computer, it’s not the button itself that speeds it up. Rather, it’s the time it takes for the computer to refresh that fixes the slow performance.

The dark side of using the Refresh button

Instead of making things faster, pressing that Refresh button on your computer actually slows things down. It’s like giving your PC extra work to do for no good reason. Think of it like painting all the icons on your desktop over and over again – it takes up a lot of the computer’s resources and makes everything else slower.

Take a look at the screenshot below. I pressed the Refresh button (or you can just hit F5 on your keyboard) a bunch of times, and you can see that my computer’s CPU usage shot up to 76% (it even hit 100% at times!). Now, do you really want your computer wasting so much of its power on something that doesn’t actually help you?

10 Technology Myths Busted!

2. Don’t use your phone while it’s charging

Setting the record straight

I want to debunk a myth that has been floating around for a while. People say that using your phone while it’s charging can lead to explosions. But let me tell you, that’s not entirely true.

Phones can explode, but it’s very rare. And it only happens if you’re using a faulty charger or if there’s a manufacturing issue with the phone itself, like what happened with the Samsung Note 7.

So, using your phone while it’s charging isn’t the cause of explosions. As long as your charger and phone are in good condition, there’s no need to worry.

10 Technology Myths Busted!

The worst thing that could happen when you charge your phone is that it may get hotter than usual. This can cause the phone’s components to wear out faster over time. If your phone is heating up a lot, to the point where you’re worried, then it’s possible that there’s a problem with the charger or the battery is worn out. It’s never a good idea to use a phone that gets so hot that it’s uncomfortable to hold. Heat is the main reason why phones explode.

Another important thing to remember is to only use the charger that came with your phone from the manufacturer. If you don’t have that, make sure to use a third-party charger that has been authorized by the phone manufacturer. Using a different charger can damage your battery or even cause your phone to explode.

Now let’s debunk a myth!

Let me tell you, it’s really important to steer clear of those knockoff chargers that are floating around. You know, the ones that look like the real deal, but are actually cheap imitations. Tsk tsk! These phony chargers can be quite hazardous, let me tell you why. They have shoddy circuits and subpar wiring which can cause all kinds of problems. See, when you plug one of these suckers in, the current doesn’t flow properly, and that can wreak havoc on your battery’s lifespan. Sometimes, it can even go so far as to make the battery go kaboom! Not a good situation, my friend.

10 Technology Myths Busted!

You can easily purchase a charger from popular brands like Belkin, RAVPower, or Anker. As long as the charger’s power and connector match your phone and it comes from a reliable brand, there shouldn’t be any issues.

Now, let’s tackle the myth that killing apps saves resources. When you close an app, some of its processes may still be running. Some people suggest using a task killer app to completely close the app and save resources.

But here’s the truth: closing an app doesn’t always stop all its processes. Apps like Facebook and WhatsApp, for instance, have background processes that continue to run even after you close them. These processes are essential for the apps to work properly and keep you updated with the latest messages and notifications. So, closing them completely may not be necessary.

But, if you try to forcefully end those processes, the corresponding app will simply restart it immediately. Ultimately, there’s really no benefit to killing an app process since it will just start up again anyways. All you’re really doing is making your phone do extra work to restart a process.

If you do want to eliminate background processes, then it’s best to utilize your phone’s built-in battery saver mode. The battery saver mode disables app syncing and terminates most of these background processes, preventing them from restarting.

10 Technology Myths Busted!

5. Myths about Full Mobile Signals and Network Service

When you glance at your mobile phone and see full bars, it’s easy to assume that you’re receiving top-notch network service and lightning-fast data transfer speeds. However, appearances can be deceiving.

Setting the record straight

It’s a common misconception that full signals equate to the best network service. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Despite having full bars, you may still experience frustratingly slow internet speeds and bothersome call disruptions.

10 Technology Myths Busted!

When you look at the signals on your phone, you might think they represent how strong the network is or how fast your data is transferring. But that’s not entirely true. Those signals actually indicate the strength of the signals you’re receiving from the nearby cell tower. So even if your signal strength shows as full, you could still experience network issues if too many people are connected to the tower.

If you’re facing network problems despite having full signals, there’s a handy app called Open Signal that can help. It allows you to choose a less congested tower, which can potentially solve your network issues.

Now let’s move on to another myth:

Myth #6: More RAM means more PC speed.

Many people believe that the more RAM your computer has, the faster it will run. But is that really true?

Well, not quite. While RAM does play a role in your computer’s performance, it’s not the sole determining factor. There are other aspects, such as the processor, storage, and overall system configuration, that also contribute to your PC’s speed.

So, it’s important to understand that simply adding more RAM to your computer won’t necessarily make it blazing fast. It’s a combination of various factors working together that determines how speedy your PC will be.

In conclusion, don’t be fooled by common misconceptions. The strength of your mobile signals doesn’t directly correlate with the network’s performance, and having more RAM doesn’t automatically mean your PC will be lightning fast. Keep these things in mind and make informed decisions when it comes to your technology.

10 Technology Myths Busted!

When you increase the amount of RAM, you can open more programs at once and keep your computer running smoothly. Increasing the RAM is helpful when you have too many programs open for your current amount of RAM to handle. Let’s say you have 2GB of RAM, but you often have multiple programs running that require more than 3GB of RAM. In this situation, your computer will slow down because it has to move processes to the slower hard drive or solid-state drive (HDD/SSD) to prevent a shutdown.

If you want to speed up your computer, you can increase the RAM to 4GB, and everything will run smoothly. However, even if you increase the RAM to 8GB, you won’t see any additional speed boost compared to having 4GB of RAM.

If you want things to run faster on your computer, there’s a simple solution: upgrade your RAM to a faster type like DDR3 or DDR4. A faster RAM means faster processing speed for the programs that run in it. Here’s a handy guide to help you tell the different types of RAM apart.

7. Always remove USB safely

Before you physically take out your USB drive, it’s important to first click the “Safely remove USB” button in the taskbar. If you skip this step, your data could get corrupted or changes might not be saved.

Setting the record straight

Don’t worry about yanking your USB drive out without a care. As long as you aren’t using it to read or write anything, you’re good to go. When you click “Safely remove hardware”, the operating system just checks that no data is actively being transferred and that all changes are applied.

10 Technology Myths Busted!

Why bother with this confirmation when you only have to wait half a second before removing the USB? That’s right, after making any changes, just give it 0.5 seconds, and you can safely unplug the USB without worrying about your data getting harmed.

10 Technology Myths Busted!

Even if you’ve optimized your USB for better performance in Windows, there’s still a tiny 0.5-second delay before you can safely remove it. By default, Windows lets you take out the USB right away after the data has been transferred or changes have been made. Here’s how you can change these settings in Windows:

  1. Press the Windows and R keys at the same time and type “devmgmt.msc” in the Run dialog to open the Device Manager.
  2. In the Device Manager, find and expand the Disk drive section. Right-click on your USB drive from the list and choose Properties.

10 Technology Myths Busted!

10 Technology Myths Busted!

8. An Antivirus Provides Comprehensive Protection Against Viruses

An antivirus program can safeguard your computer from various types of viruses and offer protection against the latest threats. All you need to do is install the antivirus software, and your computer will be secure.

Debunking the Myth

Antivirus programs are indeed helpful in defending against viruses and malware. However, they cannot make your computer completely immune to all threats. You cannot simply rely on an antivirus program and assume that it will protect you from any type of virus, especially if you download unknown files.

There are two primary threats that an antivirus program alone cannot combat. The first is a new virus that emerges online. Antivirus programs may not have the ability to immediately detect and prevent these new viruses, as they constantly evolve. In such cases, you must take additional precautions.

The second threat is a virus that you unintentionally allow to gain full control of your computer. If you unknowingly grant a virus complete access and control of your system, an antivirus program may not be able to reverse the damage caused. In such instances, you are responsible for taking necessary precautions.

The Threat of New Viruses

When it comes to antivirus programs, they rely on a set database of known malicious code and activities. If a file or app is identified as malicious, the antivirus puts a stop to it. However, for new viruses that haven’t been seen before, the antivirus needs to become aware of them first before it can take action to protect its users.

So, it’s only after a virus has caused enough destruction to catch the attention of antivirus programs that they can finally do something to combat it.

10 Technology Myths Busted!

So here’s the thing: what if you were one of the unlucky ones who got hit by a virus before anyone even knew about it? Throughout history, viruses have attacked millions of computers. But don’t worry, if you follow some basic internet security measures, you should be safe in most cases. However, it’s important to note that no security measure is perfect against a brand new virus.

A virus that you willingly installed deep in your system

Now, if you’re someone who likes to get stuff for free, even if it’s paid, by illegally downloading it (torrenting), then using an antivirus software probably won’t do much to protect you. See, when you download programs or files from sketchy sources, they often come loaded with malware and viruses that piggyback on the original program.

While an antivirus can catch many of these threats, the tougher ones that end up burrowing deep into your computer’s operating system will be a real challenge to remove completely.

Not only that, but even if your antivirus software warns you about a harmful program, you might still decide to take a chance if you really need that program. Removing such a virus will require you to either restore your system or delete it while in Safe mode. Unfortunately, in some cases, you may have to delete all of your saved data in the process.

10 Technology Myths Busted!

Your best option is to steer clear of unreliable sources and legally download content from trusted sources.

Deleting an item permanently is as simple as removing it from the drive and then emptying the Recycle Bin.

Now, let’s dispel the myth. A lot of people think that once they’ve emptied the Recycle Bin, all of their data is gone forever. This is not true. When you delete data from the Recycle Bin, whether you’re using Windows or another operating system, it’s just marked as deleted and the space it occupies is freed up.

10 Technology Myths Busted!

Actually, the data is still there, patiently biding its time until it’s overwritten by new data. Erasing data permanently and filling those empty spaces is a complex process that takes quite a while.

So, it doesn’t make sense for an operating system to make you wait forever just to delete a file permanently. Unless it gets overwritten, that data can be effortlessly restored using a handy tool called Recuva. If you’re interested, you can find more information about this process on SuperUser through this informative Q&A.

10 Technology Myths Busted!

Good news! It’s possible to retrieve a mistakenly deleted file. However, keep in mind that someone else can also recover your private data that you assumed was gone forever.

If you want to completely erase data, you can utilize a free tool called Eraser. This program not only deletes your files but also writes over them, making sure they are truly gone.

10 Technology Myths Busted!

10. Keep Your Browsing Private with Private Browsing Mode

If you don’t want to be tracked or leave any evidence of your online activities, simply use the private browsing mode.

Setting the Record Straight

Whenever I discuss VPNs and the privacy they provide, there’s always someone who suggests that using a private browsing window is a simpler way to hide your online tracks. It’s not that I’m worried about people believing that private mode can make them vanish; what concerns me is that people often don’t take a moment to realize that private browsing won’t actually render them invisible.

10 Technology Myths Busted!

I mean, it’s right there, on the special window in every browser. It clearly says that it only deletes stuff saved on your own computer. So, anything outside, like other people or services, can still keep an eye on what you’re doing online. You can find more information about this on Chrome’s help page for the Incognito window.

Those outside sources can include your internet company, the people in charge of the network at your school or office, the websites you visit, the online services you use (like Facebook), and even some sneaky software that might be on your computer.

If you want to keep your internet stuff private and secure, your best bet is still to use a VPN. Using a private window is good for getting rid of things like your history, cookies, and stuff like that, but for real security and privacy, trust in a VPN.

To wrap it all up, remember that a private window only clears things off your own computer. For full protection, rely on a VPN.