With the festive season almost in full swing and Christmas and its holiday to look forward to, what’s the best present you can give your computer this Christmas?
Some TLC of course!
Spend a little time :
- Backup your computer files – keep what you have (and love!)
- Make a (system) recovery disk – if Windows blows a fuse, you can recover
- Clean out old files and programs you never use – get rid of the space and memory hogs
- Empty the recycling bin, delete temporary files – throw out the waste (trash)
- Perform some diagnostic checks – maintain the hardware as well as the software
- Give your screen and keyboard a shine – why not!?
- Shut down your computer – clears memory hogs, applies software updates, gives a rest to electrical components and hardware
These few things can help maintain your PC’s lifespan and overall performance meaning the first thing you buy in the January sales won’t be a new work computer.
Here’s a more detailed look at our suggestion for a Christmas present for your PC:
Backup your computer files
A backup, or the process of backing up, refers to the copying and archiving of your computer files so that it may be used to restore the original after a data loss event. The location that you make the backup is always somewhere other than the actual computer itself – to an external (hard drive, usb) device or location (cloud).
- Online or cloud backup is simple, automated (scheduling) and with encryption, secure.
- An external hard drive or USB drive is typically used more on a when I remember basis as these don’t always support scheduling
Make a System Recovery Disk
Windows 8 or 10 allows you to create a recovery drive (USB) or system repair disk (CD or DVD) that can be used to troubleshoot and restore your computer. Each type of recovery media gives you access to Windows’ advanced startup options.
Users often fail to make one of these drives/disks until it is too late. However, you can search for the program in Windows and handily it provides a wizard that will guide you through the process.
Back in the day, Windows computers used to come with an install disk – although Windows was pre-installed, you also got a CD/DVD with your new PC that had Windows software on that could be used to repair a faulty software problem or recover from an irreparable error that would require a complete Windows reinstall.
Clean out old files and programs, trash (recycle bin) too
Just like our houses that tend to get cluttered (mine at least), so do our PCs – over time, miscellaneous files fill up the hard drive. This in turn will affect the performance of your PC and it will work harder to find the files and programs it needs to access. Removing as much junk as possible will help to get back your PC vim.
To assist you, Microsoft have created a built-in program called Disk Cleanup. It will empty the Recycle Bin, remove temporary and other files you no longer need etc. In Windows, search for Disk Cleanup.
That’s files that Windows knows about. You should also check whether there are any other files that you have created that are clogging up your hard drive. Programs too – are there any that you don’t use anymore or perhaps you have never used?
Maintain the hardware as well as the software
Most PC manufactures have a set of programs that check to see the status of the hardware – diagnostic tools. You can run these to check everything is tickety-boo. The tools range from those that can run on boot-up, can be run online or can be downloaded to subsequently run. Problems can be identified for the following hardware:
- Hard drive
Give your screen and keyboard a shine
Shut Down your PC
From a software perspective, the operating system and the programs you run on it tend to accumulate all sorts of stuff – computer memory can get clogged up and files accumulate on the hard drive over extended periods of use – temporary files, disk caches, page files etc. etc. All those items can slow down the PC, but happily it all goes away when you shut down or restart the system. Shutting down your computer every once in a while, can give it a clean break of sorts and make it seem nice and zippy again.
By the way, we do mean actually turning the PC off to shut it down, not just hibernating or putting it to sleep.