Everyone needs a little TLC from time to time, and so does your desktop computer. If you work eight hours a day on yours like I do, it can get pretty junked up on both the inside and outside. The best way to take care of your computer is with routine maintenance. This includes both hardware and software maintenance. If you follow this rule, you can extend the life of your desktop, keep it running at peak performance, and avoid unnecessary tech support calls.
How To Take To Care Of Your Desktop
Install Antivirus Software
Ask your IT provider what antivirus program they recommend for your desktop. Once you install it, make sure you also download and install any updates that are released. An antivirus program can cost from $50 to $100 a year. This is a lot more cost-effective than paying to have your computer restored if it gets infected with a virus.
Download & Install Software Updates
Software updates keep your desktop running smoothly and securely. Software developers release updates to fix glitches and bugs that could affect IT security. It’s a big mistake to ignore these updates. If you do, you’re opening the door to hackers who want to steal your private information.
Defragment Your PC
If you notice your computer is running slower than usual, or it takes a long time to load a file, it may be time to defrag your hard drive. Your hard drive becomes fragmented whenever you edit, save or delete computer files.
Defragging the hard drive in your PC puts everything back in order and fills in the gaps. It speeds things up and provides additional storage capacity.
Macs don’t generally need to be defragged because the macOS file system automatically defragments files on its own. Windows 10, Windows 8 and Windows 7 automatically defragments files once a week. However, if you notice files are taking too long to load, consider checking to see if your hard drive needs defragging.
A cluttered hard drive can be unorganized and run slowly, but it can also cause security issues. This means removing software that you rarely use. Just like you declutter your pantry of food that’s expired, practice good computing hygiene by deleting those old programs. Make sure that everything related to the software program is removed. For Windows computers go into the Control Panel > Programs and click “Uninstall a program.”
This goes for services you no longer use as well. Don’t delete them, disable them, instead. Some services people rarely use and which can cause problems are Bluetooth Support Services, Remote Desktop Services and the Remote Registry Service.
Don’t Install “Crapware.”
These are things like add-ons, toolbars, enhancers, accelerators, optimizers and most plugins. And don’t install software that says it will change the look and feel of your desktop. Your number one rule should be to only install programs that enable the things you need to do on your computer.
Backup Your Files
Backup all files in case your desktop fails. Make redundant backups and keep at least one offsite in secure cloud-based storage. One backup isn’t enough. Some people make the mistake of backing up their backup. Always backup your computer files from the original. And if you get a notice that your backup failed, don’t ignore this. Make sure your backups are reliable and easy to recover.
Always Use a Surge Protector To Protect Your Computer
All it takes is one power surge to fry your desktop. Protect your desktop computer from power surges. Always use a surge protector (surge suppressor). It’s important to know that not all are the same. Surge protectors are rated by joules (a unit of energy). 1,000 joules of protection can take ten 100 joule hits, or one 1,000 joules hit. The more joules, the better. It’s important to note that the circuits wear down over time. An LED light should come on to warn you that you need a new surge protector.
Keep Your Desktop Well Ventilated
The ideal temp for your computer is between 68 to 71 degrees Fahrenheit. If you store your computer in a cabinet, make sure it’s well ventilated. Never put your computer in a closet. Give it some breathing space.
The vents and fan keep your computer from getting too hot. Dust can get build up and cause it to overheat. Turn off your computer and unplug all the connections. Use a microfiber rag to clean off the exterior. Use a cotton swab to clean out the nooks and crannies. A can of compressed air is helpful to get the bits and pieces of food and crumbs off your keyboard. (Actually, there shouldn’t be any crumbs because you’re not eating over your computer keyboard, are you?)
Ask the techs at Excellent Networks if the inside of your desktop needs cleaning. We have professionals who can do this for you. And remember, a little bit of maintenance will help your computer go a long time.