Tech tips to start off the New Year right

Here are some great ways to keep your computers and other devices lean, mean, and ready to face the New Year

Physically clean out your computer

Spend a few minutes to take the side panel of your computer and wipe down the air vents and fan blades with a dry cloth (turn off your computer first!). It might be tempting to use your vacuum cleaner, but beware that the static generated by a vacuum can be fatal to some computer components.

Check your anti-virus is running and up-to-date

An anti-virus program is only useful if the virus definitions are up-to-date. Open your anti-virus program and check the last time the definitions were updated. Most anti-virus programs update every day or so. If there’s an option to check manually run that, and also check automatic updates are enabled.

Manually check for Windows updates

Windows Update is usually a “set it and forget it” feature, but now and again it’s good to go in and check for updates manually. Windows Update now offers updates for certain installed apps and there are often useful Optional Updates. While you’re in there make sure that automatic updates is actually enabled. Unpatched computers are the most vulnerable to virus and malware.

Backup your files

Hard drives fail all the time so you should be backing up. The quickest way is to manually copy your important files to an external hard drive, though it’s best to have an automatic backup that runs periodically.

Change all your passwords

This sounds excessive, but there have been so many high-profile cases of websites being hacked and password databases stolen. To keep your accounts safe you should periodically change your passwords, also make sure not to use the same password on multiple sites. If you need help remember passwords then Last Pass is a great browser extension for managing passwords.

Upgrade your hard drives

One of the best upgrades you can do to a computer (both desktop and laptop) is to replace spinning hard drives with solid state drives (SSD). In most cases your computer will feel so much faster it’ll be like a brand new computer. No more waiting five minutes for your computer to boot, after this upgrade it’ll only take seconds.

– Compiled by Ankita Das

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