#happylife: Tidy up your computer and add a few years to its life

#happylife: Tidy up your computer and add a few years to its life
iStock/fotek

Spring cleaning isn’t just a thing for your closets, yards or kitchens — a digital spring clean-up can add years to your PC or laptop’s life!

If you are someone who complains about your computer moving too slow and feel it might be time to invest in a new machine, test out a few of these tips first. They might just save you a couple bucks!

Computers, like cars, are naturally always trying to do things to help improve your experience as a user. Also just like cars, we need to keep them clean and perform maintenance from time to time.

New Horizons Computer Learning Center created a checklist for spring cleaning your device. You can view it here. Spirit Dorris, General Manager for New Horizons, said one of the most important things you should do is make sure your anti-virus software is up to date and then run it. Failure to do so can make you more susceptible to getting hacked.

“We never get to it, it’s that constant procrastination. Every time you delay, you’re basically saying, ‘my computer is wide open for an attack. It is more important to stop that second and update, than it is to do anything else on your computer,” said Dorris.

Dorris added that the tips on the list should be performed weekly, and not just every spring to make sure your computer is running smoothly and that you are protecting yourself, as more viruses are created everyday than companies are able to block.

He himself created the list out of fear. Ten years ago, he and his wife found themselves trying to recover 50,000 photos from a laptop that had stopped working.

“There are a lot of things you can replace. You can replace furniture. You can replace appliances. A once in a lifetime shot with you and your spouse, you with your kids, the birth of a child. It’s irreplaceable,” explained Dorris.

The family brought the laptop to several local experts and had no luck. Their final attempt to recover photos required that they send the hard drive to a specialist in Seattle. He was able to recover 90% of the photos at a cost of $1,300.

He added, “it was Earth shattering. Especially when I work at an IT training school. I felt like I took a lot of blame on my shoulders. I was working very fast and very efficiently to try and get things recovered.”

Dorris recommends backing up your photos and important documents to an external hard drive AND an additional storage space, like the iCloud. He advises caution backing photos up to social media in case policies change.

To help speed up your computer, make sure you are removing unnecessary files from your desktop. After you do so, make sure you permanently delete them from the recycling bin – or they are still there!

For items needed on the desktop, create a folder and put them all inside.

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