Ryo’s Recommendations: Healthy PC Tips
With the New Year comes New Year’s resolutions, and for many of us that means trying to live a healthier lifestyle. But just as important as your health should be your computer’s health as it’s just as essential as keeping us up and running on a daily basis both personally and as a business.
Ryo from our engineering department shares his top 8 tips to kick start your New Year with a PC working at its best.
1. Clean the air vents
PCs generate a lot of heat so the casing has fans to stop them from overheating. Blocking these air vents or a buildup of dust will cause the PC to operate above the normal operating temperature range, which over time, will decrease the lifespan of your PC.
Open up your PC’s casing, go outside and use a can of compressed air on the air vents. If you don’t know how to open the casing or own a laptop, you can remove a good amount of dust by using compressed air on the visible fan. If you think you’re having significant overheating issues and can’t clean it out yourself, you can contact the manufacturer for service.
Hard drive failure is difficult to predict and may even occur within the first few months of purchasing a new PC. Develop a strategy for backing up your data regularly and try to save important files in multiple locations such as external hard drives, flash drives and Cloud storage.
3. Power down
Shutting down or putting your PC into Sleep or Hibernate will extend the life of your hardware, so try to power down when you’re not using your PC for long periods of time. To avoid lengthy power-up times, use Sleep, Standby or Hibernate modes. If you own a laptop, power down before you transport or move your laptop as the hard drive is basically a series of spinning discs and leaving it powered on while moving it around can damage the hard drive
4. Create a new strong password
Start the new year with a new strong password, especially where sensitive information is contained. Try to use a mix of numbers, letters and capitals. You can test the strength of your password at www.passwordmeter.com
5. Install antivirus software
Many PCs come with a free trial of an anti-virus software and when that trial has expired, your PC is left completely exposed. Install an anti-virus software and set it up both to scan and update on a daily basis and make sure to check for any updates to the software.
6. Defrag your hard drive
Defragging your hard drive will organize the data and move the files you use the most to the beginning of the hard drive so they load faster, thereby improving your PC’s performance.
Defragging can be accessed in Disk Datafragmenter from the Start menu under Programs, Accessories then System Tools.
Note: Defragging is best done when you don’t need to work on your PC, so try to get it started before you go to bed and keep it running over night.
7. Clear your cache and cookies
Cookies and cache are two ways that information is stored on your hard drive every time you visit a website. Cookies are used to track different characteristics related to the user, while cache is used to make the loading of web pages faster. Cookies store information such as user preferences while cache will keep files such as audio, video or flash files. Cookies generally expire after some time, but cache are saved on your hard drive until they manually removed.
Note: Clearing cookies will mean that sites which normally remember your login information will need you to re-enter your username and password.
Here’s how to clear your cache and cookies on Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Firefox:
Open up Internet Explorer then go to Tools then Internet options then in the General tab, under Browsing history, click Delete. Check the Temporary Internet files and website files, Cookies and website data and History boxes then click Delete.
Open Google Chrome and go to the three horizontal dots icon then History and select History. Click Clear browsing data and check the Cookies and other site and plugin data and Cached images and files boxes then select Clear browsing data.
Open Firefox and go to the three horizontal line icon then History then Clear Recent History. Select the desired time range or select Everything then check the Cookies and Cache boxes then select Clear Now
8. Delete unused programs and files
Over the years, you’ll gather all sorts of files and programs that you may have needed at one time. Eventually you’ll find that you do not need or even recognize all of these programs, however each one of them is taking up memory and processing time. While it may seem like a daunting task at first, going through the decluttering process means better security, storage and speed for your PC.
In Windows there may be many programs that you’ve never heard of before because they are running in the background. Use Add/Remove Programs in Control Panel to remove these programs or any others not in use. If you are unsure about a program, tread with caution and it may be best to leave it alone.
Make sure to empty the Recycling Bin/Trash when you’re done cleaning out.
Remember, your PC and the IT network in your office is like an automobile – it requires regular maintenance, so try and keep these useful tips in mind throughout the year for peak PC performance.