Wrenches on top of keyboard represent IT maintenance.

Annual maintenance tips for PCs in the home and office.

The last few years have been crazy – and there’s no real end in sight. Most computers built before 2018 will need to be replaced by 2025 in order to receive support through Windows 11, but selection and options on store shelves are at an all time low. Until you’re ready to make your next purchase, keep your computers going strong with the following tips.

1. Remove programs you no longer use

Are your devices running slowly? It could be all of those programs you downloaded this year — accounting tools, marketing software, business applications, etc.  Get rid of programs you no longer need and free up space in the process. You’ll thank yourself for it later.

2. Organize your desktop

Take a look at your desktop and streamline this space. Remove any files and folders you no longer use and only keep shortcuts to frequently-used applications.

“Hoarding files on your desktop not only makes it challenging to locate what you need when you need it, but it can also compromise the speed of your computer,” says HubSpot.

3. Review your anti-virus software

Hackers pose a significant threat to businesses who rely on technology to store and process data. Still, 90 percent of small businesses don’t have any data protection at all for customer and company information.

If you currently use anti-virus software, make sure it still works and perform a comprehensive scan of your systems. If you don’t have any anti-virus software at all, make it your priority to get some.

4. Change your passwords

Believe it or not, people don’t change their passwords very often. Others don’t change them at all — shockingly, 30 percent of people have never replaced their passwords. This is a big mistake. Changing your passwords on a regular basis can prevent hackers from accessing your company’s valuable data.

Use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters — this makes it more difficult for hackers to guess your new password. Try to use different passwords for different applications, too. Use one password for your CRM system, for example, and a completely different one for your email.

5. Clean your hardware

Processors, servers, and other hardware can become dusty and dirty over time. It’s time for an end-of-the-year clean. Use a cloth to remove dust and grime from your equipment and wipe down your monitors. You can even use a clean toothbrush to remove dirt from your keyboards.

6. Clear your internet browser cache

Once you’ve dusted your hardware, it’s time to clean your software. Clear your internet cache and cookies in order to speed up your browsing experience and protect your personal information.

“Web browsers save cookies as files to your hard drive,” says computer expert Graham Cluley. “They’re small in size (only a few KB), but over time, you can accumulate a lot of them. This volume means your web browser must use more and more computing power to properly load saved web pages, which means your browser sessions will likely get slower and slower.”

Whether you use Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Google Chrome, clearing your cache can take as little as a few minutes.

Final thoughts

It’s not to late to make a fresh start for 2022. Don’t have time to complete these tasks yourself and your staff? There’s a managed service provider in Texas that can do all the work for you.