You can purchase computers today in a wide range of shapes and sizes, with a vast array of capabilities and features. Whether you have a collection of devices for work duties or leisure, it’s important that you take the time to maintain them, to ensure optimal performance at all times. Whether that means, keeping the device physically clean or running maintenance tools and tasks; these things are designed to ensure your system runs faster, longer and without hiccup.
A system that has been kept in good condition, will typically last longer, both physically and internally. An overheating system, an error-filled operating system, a laptop battery that doesn’t appear to charge, are all things that can be avoided by adopting a little bit of maintenance.
So, let’s go through these 6 things you should do, if you want to leverage the power of your system for as long as possible.
1. Update Your System
When it comes to the very basics, one of the first things you should do, is ensure your operating system is kept up-to-date with the latest patches and security fixes. Whether you’re on a Linux, Mac or Windows based system, ensuring you have the latest patches installed, will ensure your computer both performs optimally, and is secure.
When it comes to the Windows operating system, they are known for pushing out updates on a fairly regular basis. Depending on how your system is configured, these updates can occur in the background, depending on the priority of the update itself. The primary objective is to ensure your system is running correctly, so if you ever receive a suggestion for a new update, then install it.
One thing to note is that, not all updates are created equally. Which means, some can take considerable longer to install than others. For this reason, you may want to set aside some time to carry out your updates, without interruption.
2. Back Up Your Data
When did you last back up the data on your system? A lot of people think about backing up their data or talk about backing up their data, but when it comes time to actually doing something, they fob it off for something else. People never consider, what they could potentially lose, in the event that their hard drive failed.
If you stand to lose a lot of sensitive data, then you should definitely consider backing things up.
If you have no idea how to go about doing things, if you lack a suitable backup plan, or would just like more information on the topic, then I recommend you check out Consumer Reports for the best possible overview on your options. I have quite a lot of data on my system, but only a tiny portion of it is what I would consider sensitive. For that reason, I’m able to back all of that up to a single USB stick. It’s a very quick and cheap way of securing all the data that I need.
However, there are tons of options available to you. One tool that I like is Fast Backup, as it allows you create incremental backups of your data.
Another thing you can do is create a full disk image of your entire hard drive, right after you’ve reset and reinstalled all your apps. This way, anytime you need to start anew, you can, by using that same disk image. It should help you conserve a lot of time, in the event that your system is bogged down with issues.
3. Organise Your Cables
Having to deal with all the different cables that make up your system can be both tedious and confusing, especially when you can’t make out what belongs to what. You want to organise everything, so that it doesn’t look cluttered and so you can access whatever you want, when you want.
Here are some things to consider:
- Consider hiding your plugs and power strips.
- Think about grouping all your different kinds of cords, for example, power cables together, USB cables together, etc.
- Use zip ties to bind your different cable groups together. As this should make it easier to find whatever you’re looking for.
- A cable box is a good investment, if you’re serious about your cable management.
- Consider labelling your cords if you can.
If you take the time to organise your different cables, it can go a long way in easing any issues you’d otherwise have.
4. Run Regular Virus Scans
A malicious file is capable of infiltrating and corrupting integral system files on your system. This can result in data loss, sluggish system performance, and in some instances the theft of personal affixes. Regularly scanning your system with a proficient antivirus scanner, should keep your system safe from most threats.
When it comes to deciding on which virus scanner to go with, it’s best to lean towards the best reviewed ones. You have the well-known Norton Antivirus solution. Microsoft also has its own built-in defender that is free, but also very effective. It offers real-time virus and threat protection.
Your only job is to ensure your antivirus scanner is kept up-to-date with the latest virus definitions.
5. Clean Up Your Apps
Set aside some time, every couple of months to look through all the different apps you’ve installed on your system. And if you find something that is no longer of any use to you, then you should uninstall it. This is especially the situation for free games, browser toolbars and other things that only eat up resources.
Just be sure of what you’re removing. You don’t want to accidentally remove a device driver, and now, that component is no longer working.
There are tons of different tools out there that you can use, to tell you what’s on your hard drive, what folders and apps are consuming the most amount of memory, etc.
Such tools can come in handy, especially when looking to free up hard drive space.
6. Defragment Your Hard Drive
Once you have removed all the apps and tools you no longer need or use, it’s now time you spent some time defragmenting it. This process will basically organise your files, so that the system can more easily and quickly access it – essentially improving system performance.
You can access the defragmenter tool by typing dfrgui into the Run box (press Windows Key + R, to open that up).
In addition to the built-in solution, there are also many third-party solutions that come with a wide range of features that just might interest you.
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website https://www.compuchenna.co.uk