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Your Achievable New Year’s Resolution

January 01 2015

tech help 2015 resolutionsStart the year prepared. Set some time aside now to give your computer some basic maintenance, and start the year lean, agile, and in control. "Complete Computer Maintenance" is an important New Year's resolution, and we want to help you achieve it. For your convenience, we created an easy to follow checklist and broke it down to three general areas: Files, Hardware & Software, and Online Browsing. Tackle them one by one, and you'll be set sooner than you think.

FILES

1. Organize your files. Delete duplications.

Whether it is personal or professional, whether it is information about your utilities or your favorite place to volunteer, you may have a lot of data stored in your computer that you need to be able to access quickly and reliably. Set some time in your calendar to go through your files, organize them into folders and delete duplications or files that you no longer need.

2. Back up your data.

There is nothing worse than losing your photos, work documents, or personal files. You can prevent future loss by taking action now.

  • Mac users: There is a built-in program called Time Machine in your Mac, which requires an external hard drive.
  • For Windows and Mac third-party alternatives, read our archived articleread our archived article.

HARDWARE & SOFTWARE

1. Perform Operating System and Software Updates.

These manufacturers' upgrades allow you to install new security patches, drivers, remove bugs, etc. Mac and Windows notify you when there are updates, and you may have already chosen the option to update them automatically. Double check that there have been no hiccups. If there are, below are some resources for troubleshooting. Also, check if there are pending updates for any software you have purchased and installed/downloaded, and complete those as well.

2. Uninstall unused programs and apps.

If you never use them, uninstall them and give your computer some extra space. Here are instructions to permanently uninstall programs and apps that you no longer use:

3. Cleanup disk space.

Windows users accumulate quite a bit of temporary files and system files over time; it is very easy to delete them.

  • Disk Cleanup for WindowsDisk Cleanup for Windows
  • Mac users: Be sure to empty all your trash cans. Right-click the Trash icon and select Empty Trash.

Because Mac's Operating System works differently than Windows, this is not a task that Mac users usually have to do. There is nothing native to the system as there is on Windows OSs. However, if you want to use a third party provider, keep in mind that MacKeeper is not from Apple.

4. Clean up your equipment.

Unplug your computer and very gently, wipe-down your computer with a microfiber cloth. Refrain from spraying liquids directly onto the machine; rather, mist your cloth and gently wipe all components of the machine.

ONLINE BROWSING

1. Secure your WiFi.

Make sure your provider has given you a password. If they haven't, call them and ask them to set you up with one.

2. Clean your browser's cache, recyclable bin and temporary files.

This task not only improves security, it also improves the speed of your searches.

  • Windows OS – You could clean your browsers manually, one by one, or you could use a product like CCleaner, which can clean most browsers we use in Windows (Chrome, Firefox, etc.) at once.
  • Mac OS – Reset Safari this way: while Safari is open, select the Safari menu on the top left corner, and select Reset Safari option. Make sure "Remove Website Data" is checked.

3. Clear any saved logins and passwords. Create New Passwords.

Create new passwords for your bank, credit card and other websites that hold personal information. Set yourself a quarterly task to create a new password if your website does not already prompt you for one. I know; we cringe at the thought of having to do this, but it is worth having that extra layer of security. Guard your passwords as carefully as you do your money.

4. Make sure your virus and malware protection is up to date.

This is particularly important for Windows users.

Need assistance with any of these tasks? Give us a call! We'll be happy to help you.

Be a hero this year: Have any family or friends who aren't tech savvy? Help them give their computers maintenance as well. It is very likely that they need it and will appreciate your help.

Wishing you all a fantastic New Year!

To view the original article, visit the Tech Helpline blogTech Helpline blog.