Do-it-yourself computer maintenance

Below are five steps to take periodically to ensure your computer is running smoothly and your data is backed up and preserved. The better care you take with your computer, the longer it will last and you will stay more productive with less downtime due to problems.

1. Trash Unnecessary Files & Programs

Take the time once a month to go through your hard drive and examine the files there. Determine which should be saved elsewhere for future reference and which can be trashed. If you download programs on a regular basis to try new things or just to have access to new programs for projects, properly un-install those programs when no longer needed. A cleaner hard drive runs smoother.

2. Defrag Your Hard Drive

Defragging your hard drive is another step to ensuring your laptop will run more efficiently. Taking the time to defrag once a quarter will allow your programs to run quicker and make better use of the space on your hard drive. When you defrag your hard drive, you should notice fewer freeze-ups and your programs will run better.

3. Clean Your Computer

Physically cleaning your computer helps prevent overheating and those nasty dust bunnies from building up inside your fans and exposed ports. Cleaning the screen also means you’ll always view your data clearly and it’s much easier on the eyes. Keeping your case free of dust and dirt buildup will help prevent dirt from getting inside.

4. Back Up Your Files

Full back-ups should be conducted periodically to secure your important data. There are a variety of software and hardware options available. You should choose the method that is easy and can be done without much fuss. It may require trying different methods before you find the best back-up system for your needs.

5. Update Your Software

Just as you keep your anti-virus and firewall software up-to-date, you should also keep your software programs updated. For many programs the updates will address security issues which help keep your computer and data protected.

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