In today’s world everyone depends on their computers. We use them for business, personal reasons, gaming, watching movies, listening to movies, and many other things. One of the worst feelings you can have is needing to access your computer, then realizing that there’s a problem. It doesn’t matter whether you’re running a desktop or a laptop, you need to know that it’s going to be there and in good working order when you need to do something that’s important to you.
As a computer consultant, I see and repair a lot of different computer problems. They run the gamut from simple issues to complex problems, but in many (though not all) cases there is one thing they have in common: the problems could have been avoided.
You want to keep your computer smoothly and I want to help you do that. With that in mind, I’m glad to share with you some tips to keep your computer in tip-top shape.
Install every update.
Yeah, they’re annoying. Didn’t I just install the last update a few weeks ago? That might be true, but updates are provided to help keep your operating system and software applications running more smoothly. Depending on what’s in the update, it might fix known bugs and errors, provide new capabilities for the software you use, add new levels of security, or something else. Updates should be installed as quickly as you get messages telling you that they’re available. Don’t wait. If you get an update, install it as soon as possible.
Backup your files.
Computers can and do crash. When this happens, files can be lost or destroyed. The good news is that external storage, from small flash drives that fit on your keychain to wallet-sized external hard drives that hold one, two or more gigs of data, are now very affordable. It’s good practice to back up your files for later reference or just to keep things safe. My suggestion to to always carry a drive in your laptop bag or keep one alongside your desktop computer and save everything — I mean everything — that you don’t want to lose.
Keep your computer clean.
I’m willing to bet that most people eat or drink at least some of the time when they’re using their computer. Is this you? If so, be extremely careful. Crumbs seem to easily find their way between keyboard keys (especially desktop ones) and spilling coffee or soda on your keyboard could be bad news. Take precautions whenever a food item or beverage is nearby. Take a few moments every so often to clean your screen and wipe down your computer with a soft cloth. Also, buy a can of spray air at the local office supply store and aim it at your keyboard from time to time.
Run antivirus and spyware scans on a regular basis.
Now, let’s move on to keeping the inside of your computer clean, and by that I mean the hard drive. Every time you go online your drive collects cookies, which are small programs that track your online use. It’s easy to set your computer to not collect cookies, but the problem there is that many sites won’t allow you to have access unless your cookies are enabled.And then there’s email, which, like rogue websites, can place things on your drive that your computer is better off not having. My tip here is to run antivirus and spyware scans on a regular basis, as well as taking the time to defragment your drive. These actions will go a long way toward making your computer time worry-free.
Keep your disks organized.
You never know when you’ll need to refer to startup or other disk to reinstall an application or a driver of some sort. It’s always a good idea to keep your disks organized and near your computer. Same with passwords. Write them down and keep them in a secure place for safekeeping.