Your computer is probably getting even more of a workout than normal now if you’re working from home because of COVID-19. While having the ability to work remotely and use computers for other tasks is a big plus, you do need to take steps to ensure your machine keeps running at its best.
You don’t want to skip a few minutes of maintenance work here and there now, only to wind up having to spend hours trying to get your computer to unfreeze or regain data in the future. Follow a few simple tips to keep your computer in good shape.
Clean Up Software
One of the most critical steps you should take is to clean up your computer’s software. After you’ve been using a device for a while, you’ll have all sorts of programs installed on it that you don’t even realize or remember are there. You’ll also find your PC filled with lots of information that’s unnecessary, such as old installations, thumbnails, temporary files, and web pages.
All this data slows down your device. It also takes up considerable desk space and may run in the background, eating up resources. To help your computer run better, canvas your system for unwanted programs and information that can be uninstalled and deleted.
There are many great clean-up tools on the market to do this job for you automatically, so don’t spend hours trying to handle it manually. For instance, check out Trend Micro’s Cleaner One Pro for Windows product, or their similar software tool designed specifically for Mac machines.
Set up all systems to update whenever new versions of software become available. Windows usually have a steady stream of updates, plus there will be newer editions released of things like firewalls and security software, browsers, drivers, apps, games, etc.
Stay on the hunt for program updates and patches as such installs improve the overall user experience, increase security, and generally help keep a computer running efficiently.
Another tip is periodically to check the settings on your computer. With all the updates mentioned above, sometimes settings might change without you realizing it. As such, check options occasionally to be sure your computer continues operating how you want.
In particular, check the start-up section of your machine. Over time, as you install more and more software programs, many of them run as soon as you boot your device up. This slows the response time and can cause problems with operations. Check this side of things a few times per year to see if there are changes you need to make.
Clean the Hardware
Make sure you clean the actual hardware of your device every so often, too. A dirty keyboard and mouse generally stop working after a time, plus dust and other debris getting into vents and other spaces will cause your machine to work inefficiently and reduce its shelf life. Use a damp, lint-free cloth to clean accessible surfaces. Never spray water or other moisture onto devices directly or allow water to pool on or near it.
Also, ensure none of the vents are blocked by obstructions such as paperwork, books, walls, cabinets, etc. Use a compressed air canister or an air compressor to clear out vents and other ports and crevices every so often, too. Doing this will help ensure the computer doesn’t overheat due to lack of airflow.
Empty the Recycle Bin
We’re all guilty of forgetting to empty the recycle bin on our computers as the year proceeds. We should all remember, though, that just because we’ve deleted something initially, this doesn’t mean it has really gone. Items sit in the recycle bin until we manually empty it. This situation might not sound like an issue, but the data in the bin still sits on the hard drive and therefore takes up memory.
Shut Down Systems Completely
It pays, too, to shut down your computer’s systems entirely on a regular basis. If possible, get into the routine of doing this when you log off for the day. If this isn’t feasible, at least do it a few times per week.
This task can prolong the life of devices, especially Microsoft Windows machines, as these often handle system patches during shutdown mode.
Maintaining your computer may not be the most exciting task on your to-do list in a day, but it is an essential one. Complete the above jobs every few months or so, and you’ll have an optimally operating machine that will cause you fewer headaches and last for longer to boot.