Basic Computer Maintenance You Should Be Doing to Your PC
Even though computers are more affordable than they once were, that doesn’t mean you have to replace them every time it slows down. Here are some basic computer maintenance tasks you should be doing, but probably aren’t.
The starting price for even the most minor computer repairs could run you hundreds of dollars for something you might have been able to do at home. With the cost of computers seeing no change in the near future, your investment of thousands of dollars needs a little help to last.
Some basic computer maintenance can help you to get a few extra years out of your devices and keep it running as fast as it did on day one.
Follow these 5 tips to keep things zooming along.
1. Dust Is A Menace
Whether you realize it or not, the dust that collects in, on, and around your computer can actually do some damage to it. While it might just be an annoyance or you might not always feel like dusting, having a can of air around to blow on your PC every few months matters.
Keeping your keyboard clean matters a significant amount to your productivity. Ask anyone who’s ever had to deal with a missing or broken key and they’ll tell you they never realized how bad it could be. Spilling a drink, letting dust collect, or getting crumbs under keys can impact their response time and change your typing productivity.
Dust can actually slow your computer down. Every computer is outfitted with fans because, as electricity flows through circuits and data moves ever faster through the components, they will heat up. The fan or cooling system in your device keeps it in working order.
When things heat up, components can pop, short circuit, or even catch fire. Dust will exacerbate the fire by fueling the flames.
Dust can also weigh down your fans and other hardware, keeping your computer from being able to cool itself down.
Be sure you’re blowing some air on your computer, wherever there’s a hole or an opening, to loosen up dust and let things clear out.
2. More Files Means More Work
The more files your computer needs to load up when it boots, the more work it has to do from the start. Having a bunch of files on your desktop means that your computer will be keeping those, supposedly most important, files at your beck and call. Moving them to other folders tells your computer that they’re part of your overall archive.
The less hard drive space you have, the less room your computer has to perform basic maintenance or do any of the processing it needs to do. Keeping a clean hard drive allows your computer to spend more time at rest.
Come up with a system of deciding whether or not files are essential to you and whether or not you need to have them on hand all the time. If you’re keeping photos of your friends and family on your computer instead of your backup device, it’s time to reset your priorities. You won’t be going through those photos casually on a Tuesday afternoon for no reason.
Put them in storage via a backup device and save room on your computer. It’ll be less work for your PC in the end.
3. Updates Aren’t Just There To Annoy You
One of the most irritating thing for PC users is the bombardment of requests to update your software all the time. It seems like whenever you update your software, you have to learn a new interface and could risk running into problems. Everyone has a horror story related to updating their software.
However, those updates aren’t arbitrary. Take a look at the tab labeled “more info" and you’ll often see that you’re being asked to update your software because of security issues. As developers work on their old software, they realize security flaws and need to fix them.
Failing to update your software leaves you vulnerable to hacking, ransomware, and any number of attacks.
While constantly having to update might be irritating, don’t be caught off guard. An update to fix security problems in a piece of software could save your system from a major attack that could leave you without access to important data. Updates aren’t just there to annoy you, I swear!
4. Runtime is Finite
Just like car components, air conditioners, or any kind of mechanical object, no running mechanism is meant to run forever. Your computer’s components have a shelf life like anything else. With the right maintenance, they can last for years longer than their shelf life.
You need to keep your computer clean, back it up regularly, clean out old files, and shut down unnecessary programs as often as possible. This will keep the computer from continuing to run longer than you’re actually using it. Allow it to go to sleep as often as possible and put it to sleep whenever you’re not actively using it.
5. Temperature Matters
As stated before, your fans are important to keep your computer running. If you visit any major data center, where all the data is stored on Facebook or Google, you’d find you need to bring a jacket. Computer equipment needs to be kept cool to keep it running and keep components from overheating.
If you do most of your computing by a radiator, you might want to move your computer desk. In summer months, position yourself a little closer to where the air conditioner is so that your computer stays cool. Keeping the temperature regulated in your home will help your computer last longer.
Basic Computer Maintenance is a Search Away
Before you hire someone for basic computer maintenance, try using your favorite search engine to find an answer to your problems. You’ll be surprised to find that most issues are common enough to warrant a ton of search results. Try out a few solutions and see if you can’t avoid a steep repair bill.
If you find yourself stuck, check out our guide for some of the advantages of hiring a computer specialist.