If you’re anything like the average computer user, you’ve probably dropped your computer off a building once or twice, or spilled ketchup on your keyboard, or something. Consequently, your computers probably don’t last too long.
But computers are expensive, and, given that the average computer only lasts five years or so, you’ll need to see a better (and longer) return on your investment. So how do you get that thing to last longer, then? Here are some helpful tips:
Protect The Cover
It’s a basic, but truly underrated, step: protect your laptop’s cover, and you’ll protect the internal hard drive from damage. You can get hard plastic covers from just about any Target or Walmart (or online tech retailer). For extra protection, cover your already plastic-protected computer with a soft cloth case. Don’t forget to also clean the computer (the inside, outside, and the fan) with a gentle cloth to remove dust that can damage the insides by trapping in heat. Your computer (and your wallet) will be thanking you for it later.
Get More Memory
Computer painfully slow? Adding RAM (random access memory) will allow your computer to process more with the memory that it has instead of relying on hard disk memory, making it exponentially faster. (Think of it as your computer’s “short-term memory”). Try doubling the RAM for a huge effect in computer performance. (For the average user, 512 mb – 1GB of RAM should be more than enough.)
Avoid Spyware, Malware, and Viruses
Install anti-spyware, malware, and virus programs on your systems. Comprehensive anti-spyware programs will locate and destroy spyware programs that collect users’ personal data and use it to generate advertisements (pop-ups); it’s typically secretly installed with many internet software programs and can certainly overload and crash your computer. Viruses spread malicious software; anti-virus programs carefully scan your e-mail and downloads for these. Make sure to set up your software to automatically update so as to be able to catch new viruses (you can also schedule it to perform automatic weekly scans.)
Clean It Out
Get rid of any programs you aren’t using. Uninstall fancy software programs that you never use, as these take up valuable space on your computer. Use your computer’s “disk cleanup” function (or download a free one, like ccleaner) to get rid of “unseen” files and empty caches; then go through your files manually and delete images, videos, mp3s, and documents you have no use for. Better yet, get an external hard drive or a few ultra-secure USB drives to keep extra files on.
Save The Battery
First rule of conserving battery life? Leaving your computer fully on day and night will drain the battery fast. If you’re not using them, disconnect any external, power-draining device like mouses, firewire/USB devices, or optical drives.Use “standby” mode when intermittently using your computer throughout the day, as this will “power down” the device accordingly (monitors and hard disks turn completely off). “Hibernate” mode is for when you’re away from the computer for an extended period of time — it’ll completely shut off your computer, but restore it completely to where you were once you turn it back on. Also, dim your screen (using its light at full capacity is a huge battery drain.) Lastly, don’t leave your battery charged for long periods of time — let it drain every once it a while so as not to use it up.
Defragging your system will allow your computer to work much more quickly and efficiently. Defragmenting works by reorganizing your hard drive so that relevant data pieces are near each other, leaving it with a giant chunk of free space at the end of the process. The first time you defrag, it might take a while — up to 2 days, for some — but bimonthly defrags will take much less longer — and make your hard drive work less hard while significantly improving performance.