Keeping your computer maintained at home can help prolong its life and ensure it is running at peak performance. Whether it is a laptop, desktop or all-in-one computer, you can follow the 11 tips below at home to prevent your machine from burning out or needing costly repairs.
If you’d rather let our Technology Solutions Specialists handle this for you, schedule a time for a computer tune-up. New computers are costly, but a tune-up at Nuvera TechTrends is only $75 ($60 through September 30, 2020).
Keep It Clean of Dust and Debris
A dirty computer full of dust, debris, hair and anything else that can get jammed into the ports and the cooling fan may not run properly. If the cooling system cannot do its job, your computer is at risk of overheating and short-circuits.
Luckily, it is fairly simple to keep your computer clean. The tools you should keep in supply are canned air, a paintbrush, a small vacuum and some spray cleaner. You can use the canned air to blow surface debris off. The paintbrush is useful for dislodging hair and dust in the keyboard and any ports on the side. Vacuum up the dust and debris and use the spray to clean external surfaces. Don’t spray directly on the machine, instead, lightly spray the paper towel and wipe.
With a professional computer tune-up, the experts at Nuvera TechTrends will go a step further by cleaning the dust and debris built up inside your computer.
Avoid Overcharging Your Laptop
Computers today use Lithium-Ion batteries, which makes overcharging less and less of a problem, but it is still a best practice to not leave your computer charging 24/7. Not only will this help with energy sustainability and possibly your utility bill, but by unplugging your computer, you could see an extended life of the battery especially as your computer ages.
Be sure to keep and use your computer in a cool place, as high heat is also harsh on batteries. You can read more information about Lithium-Ion batteries from How-To Geek.
Don’t Block Fans and Vents
We’ve all taken our laptop to our favorite spot on the couch or chair with us and after a while noticed that it started to get really hot. This is because the fans and vents can get blocked when you’re using soft surfaces like your legs, the couch cushions or a blanket, instead of a hard desk surface.
Blocking fans and vents will disrupt the cooling system inside the computer. They need to remain cool to function properly, especially if you’re using your computer for high-performance work or gaming. Ensure you have proper airflow to your desktop or laptop and keep your computer in a cool environment.
Don’t Shut Your Computer Down Every Night
If you use your computer daily, it is best for the performance of your machine if you only reboot the system once per month. It can be hard on the internal components, such as the resistor and transistor, if you shut your computer down every night, which can shorten the computer’s lifespan. It takes a lot of electrical power for your computer to start up, and you will see better efficiency and maximum power if you just put it into sleep mode.
If you were to shut down your computer nightly, your computer has to work harder when you boot it up to run antivirus and background updates that would have otherwise been updated while it was in sleep mode when not in use. This can affect performance while in use.
If you are planning to be gone and won’t use your computer for a week or two, then it is better for your computer to be turned off and stored in a cool place. Ensure that your battery is between 60-80% before shutting down.
Rebooting your machine once per month will help your computer operating system. When electronics are on for long periods of time, they can be affected by bugs, memory and unused network connections. You will also be able to perform updates, just ensure you are rebooting at a time you won’t need to use your computer for a while.
Clear Your Internet Browser Cookies and Cache
Clearing the Internet browser’s (Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Internet Explorer) cache and cookies can help if you are having slow browser performance, pages that freeze, sign-in problems and error messages.
Browser cache stores information about your browsing history until it is cleared. Clearing the cache will help restore pages that freeze or don’t finish loading, update outdated pages with old content and fix online applications that don’t respond.
Browser cookies are pieces of data from a website that is stored in your browser while on the website. This can include your username or preferences and can also be used to track your web visit so businesses can customize ads pertinent to your shopping experience.
Uninstall Unwanted Files, Programs and Bloatware
Unwanted files, programs and bloatware can take up a lot of system memory, which will affect the performance of your PC.
You may have files and programs that you created or installed years ago that you no longer need, but are still taking up a lot of precious computer memory. It is important to go through your old documents and delete what you don’t need or save files you want to keep to an external hard drive.
There may have been a popular program that you installed onto your computer in the past, but you haven’t used it in years. You can learn how to uninstall these programs on Windows and Mac by doing a quick Google search.
Bloatware is software that vendors pay manufacturers and distributors to pre-install on computers. Most users are unaware that they are on their machines. Unfortunately, this bloatware can expose users to cybersecurity risks. When you purchase a computer from Nuvera TechTrends, we uninstall these programs for you before you leave the store with our free Good2Go package.
Don’t Save Large Programs to the Machine (Cloud/External Hard Drive)
If your career or hobby has you downloading large files, ensure you are not storing them to your machine. These files will take up a lot of space on your hard drive, which will affect the speed of your computer. Your best bet is to purchase an external hard drive to save these files, and you can find them relatively cheap at most retailers. You could also store them in the Cloud. There are many free and paid Cloud storage options for you to choose from.
Ensure Your Firewall Is On
Your computer’s firewall is its first line of defense to attacks. If it is not running, you’re setting yourself up for viruses and malware to infiltrate your computer any time you install new programs or files from unverified sources.
Protect Your Computer from Viruses and Malware
It is important to have an additional line of protection from viruses and malware other than your firewall. The best way to do so is with antivirus and anti-malware software, but you will want to ensure it is high quality.
The right program will help detect and remove threats in real-time, remove adware and malware, and set automatic scans. PC Mag has a list of the top programs you can purchase.
If you get a virus or malware on your computer and don’t have antivirus/malware installed, it can wreak havoc on your operating system, get your valuable data such as credit card or social security number, or force you to pay them money to access your computer again. If that is the case, contact our experienced tech experts right away. They will help you with the next steps to take.
Regularly Update Your Operating System
If you see that your computer needs an update, download it. Your operating system will inform you of any new updates available and you should download them as soon as possible. It might take some time for the update to install, so make sure you won’t need to use your computer before updating. You can also set up automatic updates and specify when you want them to take place.
Back Up Your Data
Computers are vulnerable to hard drive crashes, virus attacks, theft and natural disasters which can cause your valuable data to be lost in an instant. Protect your family photos, home videos, and other documents with Online File Backup from Nuvera TechTrends.
By regularly following these computer maintenance tips and tricks, you can ensure a longer-lasting device that won’t give you headaches.
Remember, these tips are useful, but the age of the machine will always be a factor. The internal processing power of your computer may not be able to handle new programs that are released. If your computer is five years or older, it may be time to upgrade your machine.
Technology is rapidly evolving and software updates quickly, however, if you are still getting optimal performance from your computer, keep following the tips above, or schedule an annual professional computer tune-up at Nuvera TechTrends.
If you opt for a new computer, our experts will help you choose the best device for your needs. They will help discover how you use your computer, what you would like to use it for moving forward and will ensure it is completely set up before you take it home with you.