5 Tips to keep your computer running smoothly.
When surfing the net and admiring the unbelievable amount of Website Design creations and the information that they contain do you take the fact that you are able to do this for granted? What would happen if your computer stopped working?
Due to the fact that for the vast majority of people using a computer is a daily practice many people do not actually think about the well-being of the machine and just take the fact that it works for granted, until it stops working properly or completely!
Below we have listed our top 5 tips to help you keep your computer running smoothly throughout the year…
After the basics have been taken care of like Backing up data and software updates following these steps will make for a better computing experience…
- Verify all backups – How many of us actually check to see if our backups work or have been successful? Unless you are in a computer based industry like Website Design you may not actually realise the importance of your files until they are no longer available. Apple Macintosh has a “Time machine for Mac” option which will allow users to verify backups however Windows does not currently have such an option. The best way to check the validity of a Windows file backup is to manually open the folders and check that all of the expected files are actually present. This process may take a while but it will be worth it in the long run. Windows system image backups can be checked for validity by running the restore from image option directly after making the image backup and before adding any further data.
- Clean the Desktop - There are conflicting opinions as to whether storing a large amount of data on your desktop actually slows the machines operation, but refraining from doing this will speed up the machine start up and could save valuable information if your file backups are not configured to include the desktop information.
- Password Strength – Many people still believe that a simple password (if unique to them) is sufficient as “nobody could possibly know that!” Wrong! – Normal everyday words and combinations of these and numbers are all in the hackers computer files that they use in their cyber-attacks. Industry experts STRONGLY recommend the use of 12-character passwords with combinations of random numbers and letters varying between upper and lower case. Never use the same password for different websites or applications – If you need to create a password for any reason make sure that it is unique to that purpose. This sounds complicated but the creation of a password protected Microsoft Excel or any other password protectable file to store your passwords in will solve this problem. If you really want to be secure write your usernames and passwords down on paper and keep them in a very safe place; no hacker can use a computer to access this information.
- Hard Drive care – Standard hard drives do need regular care and maintenance to allow them to perform efficiently. Regular defragmentation is recommended which can be initialised in the System Tools section in the control panel. A quick way to do this for individual hard drives is to enter My Computer / Computer, right click on the hard drive, select Properties, Tools and then the “Defragment” option. It is worth noting that Windows 7 automatically runs a defragmentation session once a week if the OS (operating system) defragmentation tool is the default option for the drive. Solid state drives should not be defragmented due to life expectancy issues (see manufacturer’s instructions for more details.)
- Delete unwanted backups – If you have the space it is worth keeping the last two OS or file backups that you have made; any more would just be a waste of hard drive space. This also applies to old iOS device backups which can be found in iTunes under “Preferences” and by selecting “elect devices.” Following this and as long as your mobile devices are running properly highlight “Delete Backup” to clear valuable disk space – properly functioning mobile devices will only need the last backup to rely on.
For the general user the above mentioned steps and practices should be sufficient to keep your computer in good working order but for the more experienced there are a few extra steps and practices that can be implemented to increase data security and machine functionality.
- External Data and Backup Storage – Storing valuable data on an external device / disk is an excellent way of ensuring that your data is safe from machine failure. External devices such as hard drives and Flash drives are easily available and are relatively inexpensive when compared to the cost of a complete computer and the valuable data that they will be protecting. Copying your backups and data to such devices ensures that if either the PC or External device fails your data is protected and can be restored to a new PC or external device if necessary.
- Fresh Operating System Installation – By implementing the above External drive data and backup policy it is much easier to regularly re-install the operating system (If you have the correct Operating System disk supplied at the time of machine purchase) to ensure that your machine remains free of any bugs or other operation effecting glitches that can build up over time. Most new PC purchases come with operating systems that will ask you to create a “system image” at the first use stage (this can be accessed in the “Backup and restore” section of the control panel for future use) which can be used for this process in the future, this is much easier that a fresh OS installation due to the fact that all of the drivers for your particular machine will already be saved in the image. It is worth noting that a fresh OS installation will wipe the hard drive of all data – this is where the external hard drive option comes into its own – and will require all programmes and updates to be re-installed after the OS has been re-installed. The same applies to the OS generated system image backup however all of the updates, programmes and data that were present at the time of the image creation will be present; data added after the image creation will be lost making regular system image creation vital if you are to solely rely on this method. It is strongly recommended that you have a copy of all important data and the programmes that are on your computer and their activation codes before attempting any of the above processes however for the fresh OS installation it is VITAL. This form of computer management should only be attempted by an experienced computer user – if in doubt seek advice.
A smoothly running computer will allow you to complete tasks quicker, help to prevent system crashes resulting in financial outlay and potential loss of data and make your viewing of Website Design, content and interaction as pleasurable as it could possibly be.