An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that holds especially true of your computer. Computers and laptops not only cost several hundred dollars to repair or replace, they’re our entertainment systems, our social devices, our repository for important (and sometimes personal) photos, movies, and documents. Doesn’t it make sense to keep your computer safe and well-maintained?
The following are five quick and easy steps that will go a long way in keeping your computer running for years to come, and can even boost your computer’s performance to get you the best bang for your buck. These simple precautions can save hours of frustration later!
Keep Your Hardware Clean
Dust, dirt, ash, and other debris can wreak havoc on a computer’s hardware, clogging fans and overheating vital system components. Make sure your computer is located in a safe, clean place–preferably elevated to avoid dirt and carpet fiber. Then, simply clean and maintain your computer or laptop over time. Invest in a bottle of compressed air. Regularly spray the air into openings and fans. You can also open the case for more thorough cleaning, but take appropriate precautions, including turning off the power and using anti-magnetic wristbands.
Keeping your computer dirt and dust-free can easily double the life time of your hardware and ensure effective performance. This holds true of other components as well–regularly clean monitors, laptop touchpads, keyboards and mice to remove damaging grease and other dirt.
Protect Your System: Anti-Virus, Anti-Malware, and Firewall
Once the hardware itself is clean, you have to make sure the system stays clean, as well. Viruses, trojans, and other malware are a leading cause of computer failure and can interfere with performance in almost limitless ways. Always keep a personal firewall and at least one active anti-virus software, like System Optimizer Pro, installed and running. If you don’t want to shell out cash, a free option is Windows Firewall.
Keep Your Software Updated
Since virus-writers and other evil doers are constantly coming up with new ways to exploit weaknesses in your system, you have to take care to keep your software up to date. Always install any recommended updates for your operating system, as well as updates to software such as Java and Adobe Acrobat, which are commonly targeted by hackers. Take a few minutes to activate Automatic Updates in your operating system and set a time for the application to download and install updates, so you’ll know you’re always up to date, hassle-free.
Defragment Your Hard Drive
Over time, the files on your hard drive become fragmented as blocks of memory are written and re-written, and this can slow performance significantly. If you’re using Windows, you can easily run the Windows Defragmenter that comes with the system by right-clicking the hard drive in My Computer and selecting Properties > Defragment Now.
Proceed With Caution
Finally, once your computer is clean and secure, the most important step is treating it well and using it conscientiously. Do not install software that may be unsafe or compromise your system. Always run your anti-virus software and be careful of dangerous websites. Remember, keeping your computer maintained now will save hours of headache in the future!