Whether you’re running a bleeding edge, 4090-powered, 24-core processor machine pushing games at 8K or a humble Celeron netbook that can barely handle two tabs open simultaneously on Chrome, you should always focus on trying to make sure your computer is running at its optimal. Taking your computer to a specialist computer for servicing is something we recommend you do at least once a year if possible. However, we know it can be a hassle for some people, so we threw together a list of 8 everyday computer maintenance tasks you can do from the comfort of your home. While all the below tips are beginner friendly and easy to do, if you feel unsure of any of the below processes, do not attempt them yourself and call in a professional to avoid any unnecessary damage or issues.
No matter how enclosed a space your computer is in (and it should not be in one that’s too enclosed and tight due to overheating concerns), dust eventually becomes a problem. First, make sure your computer is switched off and unplugged. Look at your computer’s openings, such as USB ports, HDMI ports, and ventilation grills, for dust build-up. Depending on the amount of dust accumulated, it may be simply dusting the area with a duster or soft-bristled brush. Otherwise, use a compressed air can to lightly blow on the dusty site to loosen and break up the dust.
Light physical cleaning of your computer and peripherals
Over time your computer case, keyboards, mice, and other peripherals can accumulate grime and dirt, so consider dusting them and wiping them down with a soft-bristled brush or microfiber cloth. For any difficult stains or sticky residue (stay away from those Cheetos!), use a lightly damp cloth to rub on the affected area. Make sure to wring out all the excess water on the fabric before using it, so it is not very wet. Doing this once every couple of weeks will help you avoid too much accumulation of grime and debris, so this process doesn’t require much effort in the future.
Remove unwanted files and programs
If you’re teetering at the edge of a full HDD or SSD (especially if your OS is installed on it), you may be sacrificing performance for no real gain if you have a lot of large unused apps and programs. Use Windows native Disk Cleanup tool or Add/Remove Program tool to help in this process. This can be a quick win to improve your computer’s performance.
Run your antivirus
Many of us have antivirus software on our computers, but we never use it. Using trusted antivirus software can help you identify viruses and other forms of malware before they infect and damage your computer. It’s essential you schedule your antivirus to run at least once a week and ensure it’s set to run on any files downloaded or in case a new drive or USB pen drive is installed on your machine. Do not browse any dubious websites or download files from unknown sources. Always try visiting sites with HTTPS in their URL rather than only HTTP. And if you need help with virus removal contact us right away!
Keep an eye on the Task Manager
Hit CTRL + ALT + DELETE and select Task Manager to pull up your best friend for troubleshooting performance issues. You can identify applications or processes that are hogging up your system resources. It is crucial you know what the process or application is doing before stopping it, as you could inadvertently kill a critical system process. Still, the Task Manager is a beginner-friendly way to identify resource hogs. If needed, you can consult with more tech-savvy friends or professionals if you find any suspicious-looking activity.
Just when you refer to that report that took you over a week to put together, your hard drive crashes, and you cannot access the file. But you had that backed up, right? Right? Unfortunately, it’s much too easy for us to forget to carry out this critical step in data security, so make it a point to schedule backups with the frequency being decided by how often your data is updated and how critical that data is. We recommend taking monthly, if not weekly, backups and storing them on a local drive, an offsite drive, or the cloud.
Keep your computer updated
Your operating system, drivers, and apps will get updates from time to time, and generally, it’s a good idea to keep them updated immediately, as they sometimes come with security patches. However, Windows has been known to release some buggy OS updates from time to time, so if it’s not a security patch, consider waiting a few days before installing it to see how the reaction is from the rest of the internet. You can update your OS and device drivers using the Windows Update tool and the Device Manager tool, respectively, or find driver updates from your manufacturer’s website.
With the number of hacks and leaks from reputed sites, it is inevitable for your online credentials to be leaked eventually. You can use a site like https://haveibeenpwned.com to find out if your details have been uncovered. Some best practices to secure your passwords is to:
- Use a password manager to help maintain different passwords for each site so that all your sites are not compromised in case of a single leak.
- Change your password often. Even if the password leaks, if it’s already changed, it doesn’t really matter.
- Set up Two Factor Authentication (2FA) if the platform supports it. This secures your logins behind an additional step, not just a password. This is most commonly an auto-generated code that changes every few seconds that you have to enter from an authenticator app.
We hope that by following the above DIY tips, you can keep your devices running at their optimum while also avoiding unnecessary trips to a maintenance center. For anything more complicated than this, there’s Digital Ninjaz. Our team of professional Ninjaz has the knowledge and experience to assist you in overcoming any computer repair and maintenance service you may need. We’re ready to help, so contact us now!
Contact an IT Ninja
Please let us know how we can help you, and one of our team members will get back to you soon.
[divider style=”solid” height=”2px” color=”#f22b2b”]