Computers are like most things in life – the better you look after them the longer they will last. Most people use their computer more than a car these days, so it makes sense to look after it to the same standard.
Here are a few tips on what you can do to keep your computer happy.
We'll start off with a simple one - SHUT DOWN REGULARLY
Nowadays, shutting the lid on our laptops, or letting it go to sleep is really convenient. All our programs and web browsers are still there so we can carry on where we left off. After long periods of time, however, the temporary files that the computer creates for itself build up to the point where it can slow down and, in some cases, change the way it behaves. Shutting the computer down clears out these files so the computer can work quicker. This is also a solution to a lot of software type problems, so try it out before you contact your IT specialist. It's best to shut your computer down once or twice a week as a minimum.
Clean Inside and Out
Cleaning the outside of your computer is as simple as wiping the screen and keyboard regularly. If you want to be more in depth, you can vacuum the keyboard and fan area as well to reduce the amount of dust build up. Remember to also use tools and products designed specifically for computer cleaning!
When I say clean the inside of your computer, I mean digitally rather than physically. Although in some cases that can help!! (**Disclaimer** Make sure you know what you're doing first! If you decide to take it to bits and it goes wrong, you only have yourself to blame!).
There are loads of pieces of software that can 'clean up' your computer. Some are brilliant, and some can cause more harm that good. If you want to use software like this and you aren't sure, always research first! There are also things you can without software that will keep your hard drive 'clean':
- Empty the trash/recycle bin - do this regularly but check you don't need anything first
- Delete deleted items - in email programs such as Outlook or Apple Mail, deleting an email doesn't mean it's gone forever. So sort them by date order and get rid of the oldest or even clear them completely. Think to yourself 'do I really need these emails from 4 years ago?' This also applies to sent items too!
- Reduce duplicate items - try to avoid keeping duplicate files if possible, and get rid of any that you don't need. The only time that duplicates are a good idea is for...
Backups are essential. If you can, back up in more than one place. The most common way to back up is on an external hard drive. You can now also back up using Cloud based services such as Dropbox. If you want to see an explanation of 'The Cloud' click here.
It seems like almost everyday we are asked to update our software in some way shape or form. Although annoying, updates are a good thing. Whether it's an update to your operating system, or just an update to allow online videos, it's best to do them. They make sure that our software works as it should and they enable the latest features. Always check that the software you are updating is legitimate and always check before downloading updates if you are not sure. On that note...
Unfortunately, some things get downloaded can cause harm to our computers, especially when it comes to software. You might, for example, try to watch a film online and then a message pops up saying you need to install software first. Be cautious, if you aren't sure check with someone before you do anything.
These are some very basic tips to keep your computer happy. Follow them and your computer will thank you for it!
If Google was a Guy (warning, contains swearing!)
Dan Jones is an IT expert at Impact UK and an overall superhero.