March 20th marked the first day of Spring for 2021, so it’s time for annual Spring cleaning right? Dragging the old stuff out for a yard sale, packing the last of the holiday decorations up and beginning to take full advantage of the warmer weather and the days we’re stuck inside due to the Spring rain. As many of us find ourselves tidying up more, and cleaning around the house, or yard, we all should also take the time to clean out our computers and other devices as well.
When we clean out our computers and other devices, it’s not just about dusting off the screens or blowing out, and wiping down the keyboards. It’s also very important to clean the hard drive, USB and charge ports, update the software, and work on uninstalling outdated, or unused programs and apps.
Not only can this increase the lifespan of these devices but it can also help them to run faster, and operate better. In order to do this, we should take the time to properly clean the hardware, and software. Here are some helpful tips for both cleaning the hardware and the software of your computers, and other devices.
If you’re running a laptop with fans or a desktop computer whether it’s for personal, business, or even gaming, it’s crucial that you keep the fans cleaned out and running smoothly. Regularly cleaning the dust off of fan vents can help prevent the computer from overheating and potentially breaking causing you to lose all of your valuable information stored on it.
This can be a fairly simple task, and can be achieved with little less than a can of compressed air that you can pick up at many local supermarkets or other stores. However, if you do not feel comfortable doing this yourself, give your local Computer Repair store or a local reputable IT person and ask if they provide hardware cleaning services. Most often, these places will utilize what specialized tool called a DataVac and use it to blow out dust out of the machine, and safely clean other areas of the computer.
Another helpful tip is to clean out the data ports on computers and devices, this can also be done with compressed air and many times something like a toothpick, you would be very surprised, and maybe a little grossed out by how much dust and gunk can get stuck inside the charge port on your mobile device or tablet and inside the USB ports on your computer.
Power surges can damage computers, and many people don’t realize that power surges can cause surge protectors to lose their ability to do their jobs, protecting from surges. It’s a good idea to check them from time to time, especially after a notable power surge.
Cleaning a computer or other devices software not only helps protect the data stored on it, it also helps the computer operate more smoothly and efficiently. Using antivirus software can ensure that malware stays out of the system, but that antivirus needs to be regularly updated.
To keep your software cleaned out, and running as smoothly and efficiently as possible:
- Delete outdated/unused programs
- Download and install software updates/patches.
- Perform backup operations:
- Take a full backup of the harddrive, photos, videos, and any other important data.
- Perform maintenance tasks often.
- Run antivirus/antimalware scans, defragment hard drives, download and apply updates/patches.
- Defragment the Hard Disk Drive (HDD) (not applicable to Solid State Drives (SSD)). Computers can slow down if the data on the HDD is fragmented. To address this, Windows has a disk defragmenter tool that is built into the system and can be set to run automatically.
While installing updates, check to see if the programs/apps on the device are even being used, and consider deleting any programs/apps, and files no longer in use. Uninstalling and decluttering these unused or outdated programs/apps can ensure that your device doesn’t get bogged down with unnecessary data. It also limits the number of programs malware might attempt to hijack the device in order to gain access to the system.
In order to help detect hard drive issues that could lead to other potential problems, Microsoft provides a Check Disk tool for WIndows operating systems. Check Disk will scan for and repair issues such as file system errors or bad sectors. If you have never performed a Check Disk scan before, run a full scan, which enables automatic repairs. However, the process may take a few hours, so sit back and relax while it works it’s magic.
SME is here to help increase security posture and get rid of those sleepless nights, for any IT/security related questions, please give us a call at 703-378-4110 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.