Using a PC that is running slow? Not a great feeling, isn’t it? It’s not loading your stuff as smoothly as when you first got it from the shop anymore. Time to upgrade, yes? Great. Now you have to look up specifications, make sure your existing hardware is compatible, compare prices, go to the shop, buy it, get home, then put it together. What a drag.
What most people don’t know is that often, the reason we upgrade our PC is due to damage or deterioration that can be prevented by regular simple maintenance work. A computer is a sophisticated machine with delicate components, but with the proper care, you won’t have to upgrade yours as often. Here are our tips on how to tend to your PC to make it last.
Always Upgrade Your Software and Operating System
You know that annoying little flag pop-up at the corner of your desktop by the toolbar? Turns out it’s important to pay attention to it. It’s in the manufacturer’s best interest to keep the machine you bought from them running at optimal condition.
And with how fast new computer viruses and malware keep popping up, the manufacturer (and by extension, you) have to keep up with making sure your device stays secure. Unpatched or outdated versions of any software or operating system installed on your machine are vulnerable to attack and regular updates help keep things safe.
Clean Your PC
Over time, dust can build up on your PC and block airflow, causing overheating. Overheating can cause hardware damage that can only be fixed by replacing the part. Even if you don’t use your PC for demanding activities like video-editing or high-end gaming, a dusty PC can still cause overheating and potential damage.
For a desktop PC, you can open the case occasionally and clean it out using a can of compressed air. Keeping that environment dust-free is the goal here. There is no need for wiping with alcohol or cleaning solvents.
Don’t Block the Airflow
If you’ve done the previous step you’ll notice that your PC has a fan. The fan is there to regulate the temperature inside your PC case and keep things cool. After taking the case out and clearing it of dust, it’s important to place it somewhere breathable so the fan can do its job. Even if your PC case is dust-free, blocked airflow can result in inefficient cooling, and consequently, overheat.
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Read Also : How to Upgrade Your Computer on a Budget
Use a Surge Protector
This tip is useful for any electronic device in your house you want to keep safe, but especially important for your computer. A power surge can damage the hardware of your desktop computer, rendering it useless and potentially unrepairable. Be aware that although many extension cords nowadays come with surge protection, some still don’t. Extension cords with surge protection may be a little bit costlier than regular extension cords, but it’s an expense worth making for the health of your PC.
Use Only One Antivirus Program
Installing an antivirus program is like introducing a predator into an ecosystem to get rid of pests. Don’t use both a cat and a snake to get rid of mice, because the two might eat each other instead.
Antivirus programs function at a deeper level than regular programs. It scans all other applications before letting them operate and two antivirus software might see each other as malware threats and stop working. Or worse, cause your device to crash. The best practice is to use one trusted antivirus program and let it run in the background.
Don’t Use External Drives
Or rather, don’t use external drives you don’t trust. External drives like a hard disk or flash drives can carry malware or viruses and infect your PC. Even if you have a good antivirus software installed, it’s best to prevent being infected at all in the first place.
If you run into the inevitable situation where quick file transfers are needed, use email attachments instead. In the case of larger file sizes, a file-sharing web service like Dropbox or Google Drive works too.
Be Careful When Installing Programs From the Web
There are many useful apps you can install over the internet and many of them are safe and useful. However, there is always the risk of being infected by malware if you’re not careful. Just remember not to install any executable files (.dmg for Macs, .exe for Windows) from any site if you’re not sure what it does or where it came from.
Some browsers may let you know if the source is untrustworthy, but to figure that out for yourself, simply do an internet search on the publisher of said file. You’ll know immediately if the publisher is a known provider of malware by the kinds of content your search engine pulls up about it.
These are the tips we have for you to keep your PC upgrades to a minimum. They’re easy to keep in mind and can be done without any expert help. Once you get into the habit of doing them, you’ll be surprised how long you can use your computer for.
Do you have any other PC maintenance tips we missed out on? Let us know in the comments below!