Welcome to 2010! It’s a time for a new start, a new way to do things, and on and on it goes. Perhaps you could start your resolutions with a set that starts off the year right with your computer.
Blow Out the Dust
Yes – it is time to do this. You may be very surprised at the amount of dust tumbleweeds frolicking about inside your computer unit, bouncing off your NIC card, motherboard, and RAM chips. Not a pretty sight! But it is something you can (and should) do. So boot it down, take it outside, open it up and start a dust storm. Here’s a link with photos to generally show you how this is done: Geek to Live: Evacuate PC dust bunnies.
If you have a laptop you should clean it too. It may not seem as simple as the Desktop computer, but it is just as necessary. Oh, and while you are in there, get the crumbs out of your keyboard! Here’s a link to get you started: DIY: Clean up your notebook. It will probably be helpful for you to visit your owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s website to ensure you can take the case apart and put it back together again without damaging it (especially if you have never taken it apart before).
Back Up your Data
If you haven’t been doing this on some schedule, why not start off the new year right by doing this? The cost is truly minimal (get an external hard drive and use some free software), and the payback is huge if you have a failure to your system (software or hardware). Start the year off right by backing up your data!
Update Programs and OS
Make sure your computer is up to date – in all ways possible. You could start by making sure you have downloaded and installed all needed patches, hotfixes and service packs for your operating system. Windows users can visit http://update.microsoft.com and Mac users get started here.
While we’re talking updates, you may want to check for updates for the various software programs you frequently use (can usually be found in the ‘help’ link in the menus of your software, or you can visit the website of the program to see if updates are available).
Also, don’t forget you can update firmware for your computer hardware and chips. For me, this is quite simple since I own a Dell – I just put in my service tag number on their site and they have all drivers and updates in one location for my hardware. I trust your manufacturer provides something similar!
Clean out the Old
This could be temp files that you need to dump (perhaps you have read this blog before, or maybe not – I’d recommend Priform’s CCleaner) or programs no longer used. Why not look through your Add/Remove Programs list and do a bit of house cleaning this year?
Run All Maintenance Programs
I’ve typed on this subject many times – so be sure to read older posts here for running your Anti-Virus, spyware, malware, adware, badware, and other programs you may use for maintaining your computer. Of course, make sure you update the program definitions before you run them so you can eradicate the most recently released stuff that is in the wild (and perhaps in your computer).
I hope you start off your year with the peace of mind that comes from following the advice given above. May God bless you in this year – and years to come!