According to the Pew Research Center survey, at least 80% of American households have a computer. Replacing old technology with the new one gets cheaper with each passing day, but it’s not exactly affordable yet. According to the calculations, conducted by PC Magazine, you’ll still have to spend up to $2 899 for a new laptop.
Even though the prices aren’t skyrocketing, it’s faster and less expensive to maintain your existing technology in the proper state. We are not talking about complicated repairs or professional monitoring. These are your daily habits that influence the health of the computer system the most.
10 Top Software Maintenance Hacks
The health of the computer, just like that of a body, starts from within. Even if you keep the surface of the laptop clean, if the operating system is not in the proper state, the device won’t last long. So, our advice is mostly focused on maintaining the software and OS in their optimal state.
1 – Shut the laptop down before going to bed
It sounds like an obvious tip, but you surely can remember a couple of times when you neglected to turn off your device. Some users don’t ever shut their devices down, although it takes less than a minute.
The problem is when your device is in an inactive mode, but still on, the system remains vulnerable to viruses. While you are working, you are capable of monitoring security alerts and tech issues. When you are away from the computer, you can’t identify problems anymore.
So, an unattended computer is an open gate to hackers and malvertising. It’s not just about shutting the device down – the way you do it matters as well. We are all sometimes guilty of cold booting – that process when you press the turn off button without closing the programs or shutting down the system properly. It’s an urgency method, and of course, shouldn’t be used regularly.
2 – Make sure to keep a firewall active at all times
When viruses are attempting the penetration into your device, the firewall is the first major obstacle in their way. If your firewall is shut down or isn’t set up correctly, you are taking down that most essential level of defense. The PC is left wide open.
The firewall should be running all the time, even when the computer is switched into a background mode. So, when you are installing the antivirus software, make sure that it has built-in firewall protection.
This is especially important with file downloads. Whenever you are getting a file or opening an email attachment, the firewall should be up and running – otherwise, you risk getting trojans.
3 – Clean up your PC’s storage
This rule applies to the files of any type, but it’s especially important to delete all unnecessary software. For one thing, some programs tend to run in the background mode as soon as the computer is turned on, and the user is left in the dark. Such software will consume your CPU and slow down the system. When the laptop is continuously pushed beyond its limits, the system will break sooner or later.
Another crucial step is getting rid of the bundleware. Deleting the EXE file of the program is not enough – the software also uses additional system files and often has a right to modify storage files. You need to download a file manager that would identify such data and delete them along with the main file.
Software like CPU-Z automates the software monitoring process and identifies technical issues automatically. You’ll quickly know what files consume most of your system’s energy and clean up these in the first place.
4 – Make sure that a deleted program underwent full uninstallation
You can’t just delete the program icon and expect the software to be removed from the system. Each program has a built-in uninstall process that a file must undergo before the complete deletion. When you send a file in the Trash, it’s not the same thing.
The easiest way to take care of this issue is by using a built-in uninstall feature if the software has got one. The rule of thumb is usually that trustworthy programs, downloaded from the official source, have such features in their default functionality, but files from third-party catalogs or independent developers don’t. Viruses and malware, naturally, have no such features – their goal is to infiltrate your device for as long as possible.
To make sure you can delete malicious tools or any unneeded software, regardless of its origins, download a file uninstaller. Such programs identify utilities that you don’t use and prepare the uninstallation list automatically. All you have to do is approve of their decision.
5 – Store large media files on a separate hard drive
Big video, audio, or image files take up a lot of space on your PC, but most importantly, their usage might slow down the entire system. If you need to switch between HD videos and a browser, you’ll find that web pages start loading much slower. Generally, any time you open an extra demanding file on a general hard drive, you are putting a strain on overall system performance.
The fix is obvious: just get another hard drive. You want to store these large files on external hard drives, that can be quickly removed from the PC as long as the files aren’t needed anymore. Also, even if you need to combine the use of these files with the overall system functionality, it will put less strain on the overall performance – because the workload from these media files is transferred to a different hard drive.
6 – Run regular malware scans
The majority of antivirus tools indeed have a background mode that keeps monitoring file safety as long as the computer is on. On the other hand, you can’t rely on that functionality only. The thing is, these background checks are good at identifying immediate serious issues but tend to miss smaller infections. You won’t see the damage unless it’s already significant.
To keep your computer healthy, you need to detect security threats before they can inflict any significant damage. The only way to do that in time is running full security checks from time to time. They require having a 1-2-hour breaking from working with the PC, so be sure to schedule them beforehand. Even though giving two productive hours each week seems like a great sacrifice, the result is worth it.
Your antivirus will look into each storage file and notice even the subtlest security issue. Also, you can set it up to detect duplicated and damaged files – so it’s a great way to clean your storage space, too.
7 – Don’t get a habit of neglecting updates
When Windows sends you these update dialogue windows, pressing ‘Remind Later’ is about the worst thing that you can do. Each new system patch provides users with security improvements. By neglecting these changes, you opt for outdated protection algorithms. System updates are free and don’t take that much time – so neglecting them is not worth the trouble.
Windows installs updates each month on Tuesdays; the date might change from time to time, but now you know the approximate estimate. Plan it, so that when updates come, they don’t catch you off guard.
8 – Be sure to reinstall your OS every once in a while
Resetting your computer and installing a new OS version from scratch is the only sure way to get rid of deep-rooted technical issues. You need to get down to your PC’s bones and repair the very fundamentals of the system.
The nest part is, you don’t have to perform these changes manually. You can download an OS Reinstall managing software that will take care off identify issues and installing fundamental patches for you. All you have to do is to make sure you don’t have to use a PC for a day.
9 – Use Cloud Storage to free up space
Hard drives are good old reliable ways of storing data, but as time passes, their drawbacks couldn’t be more evident. They can get to the wrong person, break, or be misplaced. Large drives are also quite expensive, and smaller ones are not enough.
The solution is to combine a small and cheaper hard drive with a Cloud server. Cloud storages save your files on a third-party server. You can access the data via an Internet connection from any browser and device. As soon as you remember your account login credentials, your files are available anywhere and anytime.
Reliable Cloud providers like Google or Amazon invest heavily in their security algorithms. Each file undergoes thorough end-to-end encryption, which is perhaps not something that you are doing with your hard drive. Even if your device is stolen, another person won’t see your data, as long as you’ve changed the storage’s password.
10 – Make maintenance a habit
Each of the tips listed here can do wonders if you keep them a regular part of your working schedule. You need to tend to your computer’s health regularly. This means paying attention to technical issues and monitoring its performance.
The information about a computer’s efficiency can be found in system settings – go to the main settings panel and check the performance of your hardware – processing units, drivers, and cards.
The same rule goes for software. With CPU-Z Portable, you can keep track of daily CPU consumption and analyze which of these expenses can be cut off.
Let’s wrap it up
Keeping your laptop in good shape is a much cheaper decision. It’s also a responsible one – thrown out PCs create unnecessary waste and harm the environment. By keeping your computer in the optimal state, you optimize your expenses, save time, and preserve nature. We think each of these reasons is enough to convince you. So get on with each of these hacks and remember to keep them a part of your PC routine.