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19 Ways How You Can Take Care of Your Computer Properly



19 Ways How You Can Take Care of Your Computer Properly

Computers are electronic devices that contain hundreds of fragile components that have to operate in tandem to make everything work smoothly. If one component goes off, it can cause the whole system to malfunction or cease working entirely. 

To avoid this, taking care of computing devices is a good practice every user should adopt to maintain peak performance and prolong the longevity of the system.

Table of Contents

How to Take Care of Your Computer

Here we have discussed the various methods by which you can take care of your device. Note that some of the methods described require specialized tools to gain access to the internals of the device.

Clean Components

  • To clean the keyboard, flip the keyboard upside down or at an angle above 120° and tap the keyboard until loose dirt and debris fall off. For stubborn stuff, use compressed/canned air in short bursts and wipe the keyboard clean with an electronics-safe contact solution.

For additional cleaning, removing the keycaps and then cleaning your keyboard can give a better result.

  • To clean the display, spray the contact solution on a lint-free cloth and then gently wipe the panel until there is no dust or grime. Never rub the display as it can scratch the panel or cause damage to the fragile display components.
  • To clean the vents and heatsink, turn off your computer and then use a screwdriver to gain access to the internals of the device. Remove the fans and the radiators (for water-cooled computers) and gently clean the components with compressed/canned air.

For air-cooled heatsinks, remove the fan and then use the compressed air to remove the dust from them.

  • To remove dust from ports, use a soft-bristled brush and apply the contact solution to the brush. Gently rub the ports until clean and then use compressed air to dry off the ports. 

Handle Components Carefully 

laptop dropping

Computers have many fragile and moving parts that can get damaged when handled improperly. Components like the hard disk, display, water cooler reservoirs, and optical drives are more susceptible to damage. These components have fragile and/or carefully calibrated moving parts that can cause irreparable damage when handled haphazardly. 

Always follow the manufacturer’s suggestions while handling the device or while moving them from one place to another. Never put any heavy objects on a laptop or on top of a desktop case. 

While moving, it is a good idea to remove any wires and cables attached to the system to avoid tripping or damaging the wires or the ports of the device. Removing moving components and heavy objects from inside the device like the hard drive and the graphics card can help avoid any damage or additional strain in case the system experiences an impact while moving.

Provide Sufficient Airflow

laptop propped

Insufficient airflow can choke the components and increase temperature beyond the optimal operating range of the device. This phenomenon can severely harm the device and can reduce its lifespan or render it completely useless. 

Without proper cooling, the computer may start throttling the components to avoid further increasing the temperature. This can cause the system to become unresponsive and reduce performance for the user. 

To fix this issue, avoid putting your computer inside closed compartments or blocking the vents when the device is operational. For laptops, using them on a flat surface, propping them up, or using a cooling pad to facilitate airflow can help maintain temperatures inside the device.

Use a UPS

UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) is a device that can provide power to computers for a short period of time. Installing a UPS on your computer can allow users to safely turn off their devices in case of a power outage.

This helps users to save their work and to reduce the chances of system corruption due to abrupt power loss. 

Avoid Overcharging

charge limiting software

Batteries have a finite life and will deteriorate over time. However, when used extensively or carelessly, batteries can lose the ability to hold charges very quickly or potentially pose a safety hazard. 

To solve this, avoid charging your laptop for long periods of time or when going to sleep. This can significantly help maintain the health of your device’s battery life. Using charge-limiting software that limits the charging capacity can also help users maintain the health of the battery and prolong its longevity.

Set Power Options

Power options is the feature that allows Windows (laptops and tablets) devices to turn off or go to sleep automatically after a certain period of inactivity. 

Setting power options allows users to save battery and avoid frequent charges by placing the device in a low-power state. This helps slow down the deterioration rate of the battery inside the device and also has enough power when the user needs to use the device. To set power options

  1. Press the Windows key + R to open Run
    power options run
  2. Type powercfg.cpl and hit the Enter key to open the Power optionsmenu
  3. Click on Change plan settings  
    power plan change
  4. Inside, select the appropriate configuration of your liking and then click on the Save changes button to apply the settings
    set popwer plan

Protective Cover

Protective covers or cases can protect the device from accidental impacts and bumps. This is especially important in the case of portable devices as they are frequently handled and moved from one place to another.

Installing screen protectors, padding, or shell cases can help protect your devices from damage and dents. However, this should be practiced when the device is not in use as covering your device while operational can hamper the airflow to and from the device.

Turn-off Display

Turning off displays when not in use can increase their longevity and help maintain the usability of the component. This is especially true for devices that have an OLED display as they are susceptible to malfunction and artifacts when used for an extended period of time.

Using a screen saver or dimming the display when not in use can also be an alternative method that can prolong the usability of the screen.

Use Trusted Peripherals Only

USB device

Peripherals like USB drives and power cables should only be used from a reputed and compatible brand. Using off-branded components that do not meet the system specifications or regulations can irreparably damage the extension port or the device.

Hardware built from unknown sources such as USB killer can render your device useless by causing a power surge and allowing more voltage when connected. Therefore, only using genuine products can help you take better care of your computer.

Overclock Cautiously 

Overclocking also generates more heat as the overclocked modules are working under constant stress. If not cooled properly, this can prove to be a risk to the health of the system. 

To prevent damage, overclock the components in small increments and check for system temperatures and stability after every increase in value. Also, provide sufficient cooling to the device and always consult the manufacturer or the product page before attempting.

Delete Unnecessary Data

delete data from device

There are many methods by which users can delete unnecessary data from their device. Some storage management processes can also be done through third-party solutions.

Defrag Hard Drives

Defragmentation is the process of combining or reducing fragmented files that are cluttered throughout the drive. This process reduces the degree of fragmentation in files by physically reorganizing them.

Defragmentation improves the read-write processes in hard drives by neatly storing related files and folders in nearby spaces, which in turn makes the device last longer. This also reduces new files’ chance of getting fragmented after it is written on the drive. To defragment the disk

  1. Press the Windows key + E to open the File explorer
  2. Right-click on the affected drive and click on Properties
    disk properties
  3. Click on the Tools tab and then click on Optimize button
    defrag disk
  4. In the new window, select the drive you wish to defragment and then click on Optimize again to begin the process
    defrag disk optimize
  5. Let the process finish and then restart your device

Enable Network Protection

network protection

Enabling network protection and monitoring features like firewalls, VPNs, sandboxing and website blockers can allow users to avoid untrusted and potentially malicious websites that can pose a security risk. This action also thwarts any attempts of unauthorized access to the device.

Using ad-blockers and pop-up blocking tools can also prove useful as many of these ads and popups redirect users to other dubious sites that attempt to steal private information.

Other features like using password protection on Wi-Fi home networks and enabling spam filters on online services can also protect your device from online attacks which can help you take care of your device.

Enable Antivirus and Anti Malware

An infected device can face loss of file and system integrity and can behave erratically. Some devices even cease functioning completely when affected by malware or viruses.

Antivirus and anti-malware software lessen the risk of the device getting infected and when infected, attempts are made to remove the malicious software from the system. This helps maintain the overall software and health of the device.

Perform Timely Updates

System updates provide security patches and can solve many bugs and performance issues related to the device. Performing timely updates can maintain the health of the system and in most cases, improve its performance of the system.

Updating the system software can also provide additional benefits like added functionalities and support for newer or legacy hardware. By maintaining a healthy software update schedule, users minimize the risk of exposing their devices to malware attacks which in turn, can help maintain the health of the device.

To check for updates, 

  1. Open Settings by pressing the Windows key + I
  2. From the left, click on the Windows update tab and then click on the Check for updates button
    windows update
  3. If an update is available, click on the Download & Install button and let the process complete
  4. The system will prompt you when updates are ready to install

Download From Trusted Sites Only

windows store

Downloading files from the internet without proper knowledge or source and then damaging the system is the woe of many users. When downloading files, always download files from a trusted website or if possible, scan the file or piece of information for any malware before downloading them.

Scanning after downloading the file but before opening them can also minimize the risk of the potential file infecting the system and damaging its integrity.

Install Trusted Applications Only

trusted application

Software downloaded from unreliable sources carries the risk of containing malware and other PUPs. Downloading applications from legitimate and trusted sites is one way of minimizing the risk of getting your device infected by viruses and malware.

Sites like the Microsoft Store and official product websites are some of the legitimate sources from where users should download apps and software on their devices.

Disable Unnecessary Applications

Sometimes unnecessary applications that run in the background or without the knowledge of the user can cause the system to run more strenuously. This impacts the performance of the system and reduces the overall lifespan of the device as components are running or, resources are being utilized much more than they should.

Disabling such applications can help the system lighten the workload and process other more important tasks. Disabling startup applications from the Task manager can also help solve the issue and prevent applications from putting strain on the components by hogging system resources.

Service Regularly

The last solution would be to service the device on a regular basis. Cleaning the device and changing depleting components like the batteries, thermal pastes and coolant fluid can help maintain the health of the device and ensure that it is working in peak condition.

Other practices such as performing driver updates, and backing up important files can also go a long way in helping users take care of their computers. Make sure to always follow instructions properly and do the above-mentioned solutions on a periodic basis to prolong the health of the device.

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Why I Ditched Microsoft Excel for Google Sheets (And Why You Should Too!)




Hey there, fellow spreadsheet enthusiasts! Today, I want to share my journey from being a die-hard Microsoft Excel fan to becoming a Google Sheets official nerd. Believe me, it wasn’t an easy decision, but after experiencing the wonders of Google Sheets, there’s no turning back.

I’ve done so many other tech reviews, it just felt right to do one on Microsoft Excel vs. Google Sheets. So, grab your virtual seat, and let’s dive into why you need to stop using Microsoft Excel and start embracing the awesomeness of Google Sheets.

Excel, We Had a Good Run…

I’ve had a long and fruitful relationship with Microsoft Excel. We’ve tackled countless budgets, analyzed heaps of data, and even played the occasional game of spreadsheet Sudoku (admit it, we’ve all been there). But as the years rolled on, it became evident that Excel had its limitations, and it was time for a change.

The Love-Hate Relationship with Excel

Don’t get me wrong; Excel is a powerhouse when it comes to crunching numbers and performing basic calculations. It’s like that trusty old calculator you had in high school. However, when things get complex, Excel can feel like trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube blindfolded – frustrating and time-consuming.

Why I Fell Out of Love with Excel:

  1. Collaboration Nightmares: Ever tried collaborating with multiple people on an Excel file? It’s like trying to play a symphony with a broken piano. Google Sheets, on the other hand, offers real-time collaboration. It’s like having a jam session where everyone is in sync.
  2. Formula Frustration: Excel’s formulas are like a secret society’s code. Nested IF statements? Array formulas? It’s a maze. Google Sheets simplifies this with a user-friendly formula bar that guides you, making complex calculations less intimidating.
  3. Data Size Drama: Excel has its limits, and sooner or later, you’ll bump into them. Large datasets can bring Excel to its knees. Google Sheets handles big data gracefully, giving you the freedom to analyze without constraints.
  4. Dated Data Visualization: Creating charts and graphs in Excel is like painting with finger paints. Google Sheets offers sleek, modern data visualization options that can turn your data into works of art.
  5. Mobile Accessibility: In a world where we’re always on the move, Excel’s mobile app falls short. Google Sheets’ mobile app is user-friendly and lets you access your spreadsheets from anywhere, anytime.
  6. Automatic Backup: Excel doesn’t automatically save your work, and one wrong click can erase hours of effort. Google Sheets automatically saves your changes, so you can breathe easy knowing your work is secure.
  7. Free or Affordable: Let’s talk money. Excel can be pricey, especially if you need advanced features. Google Sheets offers a free version and affordable subscription options that won’t break the bank.
  8. Data Security: Sharing sensitive information via Excel can be risky. Google Sheets provides secure, permission-based sharing, ensuring your data stays safe and sound.

Why I Fell in Love with Google Sheets:

Now that you know why I had to part ways with Excel, let me tell you why Google Sheets became my new spreadsheet crush:

  1. Seamless Collaboration: Real-time collaboration is a game-changer. With Google Sheets, my team and I can work on the same spreadsheet simultaneously, leaving version control issues in the past.
  2. User-Friendly Formulas: Google Sheets’ formula bar guides you through creating complex formulas, making even the trickiest calculations manageable.
  3. Data Freedom: The freedom to work with large datasets without worry is liberating. No more hitting Excel’s limits and sacrificing data.
  4. Modern Data Visualization: Visualizing data has never been easier. Google Sheets offers sleek chart options that help convey insights effectively.
  5. Mobile Magic: Google Sheets’ mobile app keeps me productive on the go. I can access and edit my spreadsheets from my smartphone or tablet without a hitch.
  6. Automatic Peace of Mind: Knowing that Google Sheets saves my work automatically is a weight off my shoulders. No more “did I save that?” moments.
  7. Budget-Friendly: Google Sheets’ free version has impressive features, and their paid plans are affordable, making it accessible to all budgets.
  8. Top-Notch Security: Secure sharing options ensure my data remains confidential, granting access only to those who need it.

In Conclusion

Breaking up with Microsoft Excel wasn’t easy, but transitioning to Google Sheets was one of the best decisions I ever made. It’s more than just a spreadsheet tool; it’s a game-changer for productivity, collaboration, and data analysis. So, my fellow spreadsheet fanatics, it’s time to make the switch. Embrace the future with Google Sheets, and you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. Trust me; your spreadsheets will thank you!

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How safe is my data after a hack or leak?




How safe is my data after a hack or leak?

The UK’s elections watchdog revealed on Tuesday it had been the victim of a “complex cyber-attack” potentially affecting millions of voters.

It also emerged personal details of police officers in Northern Ireland were published accidentally.

But what can you do if you are concerned your data may have been leaked, and how can you prevent issues?

How safe is my data?

Generally, when public organisations such as the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) respond to Freedom of Information requests they should remove any identifying data.

But in this case the force published confidential details by accident, leaving some officers and their families with concerns about their safety.

However, an average person affected by a data leak or hack should not panic.

Regarding the cyber-attack affecting UK voters, the Electoral Commission has apologised to those affected but says on its website the data it holds is “limited, and much of it is already in the public domain”.

“According to the risk assessment used by the Information Commissioner’s Office [the data regulator] to assess the harm of data breaches, the personal data held on electoral registers, typically name and address, does not in itself present a high risk to individuals,” it says.

This information could be combined with other bits of data about you, such as what you share on social media, to identify you – but this takes a lot of time and cyber criminals will generally only target prominent individuals like this.

And unless you have opted out of being named on the open electoral register, much of this information will already be publicly available online.

If you are concerned about a different data breach, and are worried your information may have been lost, there are also websites which will tell you if your email was part of a known data breach.

The Electoral Commission specifically recommends people use the free online service Have I Been Pwned (sic) to check this.

What can I do to keep my data safe?

If you believe your password to an account may have been compromised, it makes sense to change it.

But you should be mindful not to respond to any emails recommending this, as they could be attempting to scam you – instead you should visit the website as normal, and change your password there.

This is also why it is important to have different passwords for different accounts.

By always keeping different log-in credentials, a future hack is less likely to affect you seriously as the hackers will not be able to use your data beyond accessing a single service you used.

Another thing people can do is to remain vigilant online to avoid any data loss.

Recent research from Barclays released on Wednesday shows that 87% of all scams take place on tech platforms, such as dating apps, social media and online marketplaces.

It says these scams are on the rise, and it wants tech platforms to shoulder some of the liability.

“Without the joint help of tech organisations, the Government, and regulators, we risk enabling the unchecked growth of what is now the most common crime in the UK, hurting countless individuals, and costing our economy billions each year,” says Barclays CEO Matt Hammerstein.

“Our data shows that tech platforms – particularly social media – are now the source of almost all scams. However, there is no current legislative or regulatory framework obliging the tech sector to support the prevention of these crimes, as there rightly is for banks.”

But there are a few simple steps you can take to stay safe online, which can help protect your data – and your wallet.

These include using a strong password for each site you visit, avoiding emails from people you do not know, and being careful when visiting unfamiliar websites.

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The Rising Importance of Managed IT Services with Proficiency in Apple Devices for Today’s Business Landscape




The Rising Importance of Managed IT Services with Proficiency in Apple Devices for Today's Business Landscape

In the rapidly evolving world of business technology, there’s an undeniably prominent shift toward Apple devices. Their sleek designs, unparalleled security features, and user-friendly interfaces have made them a favored choice among business professionals. Yet, the challenge remains: how do businesses ensure they’re tapping into the full potential of these devices while ensuring security, efficiency, and smooth integration into existing systems? Enter managed IT services companies, particularly those that are Apple aficionados.

If you’re a business owner or decision-maker, you’ve likely encountered the classic dilemma: hiring in-house IT specialists or outsourcing. With the increasing reliance on Apple devices in modern businesses, it’s not just about finding IT support but the right IT support.

Why Apple?
Apple’s ecosystem is unique. It’s not merely about devices but also the secure, interconnected universe they create. An iPhone syncs seamlessly with a MacBook or an iPad, leading to an integrated working experience. However, with this high level of sophistication comes the necessity for specialized knowledge.

“You wouldn’t hire a general handyman to fix a specific issue with your car. Similarly, hiring general IT support might not do the trick for businesses that rely on Apple devices. They need specialists,” points out Aaron Kane of Machero in Chicago.

The Perks of Outsourcing to Apple-Savvy Managed IT Services
The advantage of partnering with a managed IT service familiar with Apple’s world is multi-fold. They bring a deep understanding of Apple’s operating systems, know the best practices for integration, and can troubleshoot issues specific to Apple products. This expertise is often hard to find in generic IT teams.

Furthermore, such companies can help businesses deploy Apple devices in a way that they’re used to their maximum potential. They understand the nuances of iOS, macOS, and other Apple-specific software and can guide businesses in deploying tools and applications best suited to their needs.

Ed Anderson of Dyrand Systems in Vancouver (Visit their website) echoes this sentiment. “Modern business operations demand agility. And in a landscape dominated by Apple devices, you need IT support that speaks Apple’s language fluently. Outsourcing to managed IT services that are Apple specialists is more than a trend; it’s a strategic move.”

The Security Element
Security is one of Apple’s hallmarks. Yet, the best hardware and software security features can be undermined if not handled appropriately. Regular updates, patches, and knowledge of potential threats specific to Apple’s ecosystem are crucial.

Jorge Rojas with Tektonic Managed Services emphasizes the security component. “When we talk about Apple devices, we’re looking at a different kind of architecture, both in hardware and software. The threats these devices face, while fewer than others, are unique. A managed IT service team that is well-versed in Apple’s realm is your best bet against potential cyber threats.”

In Conclusion
Today’s business world isn’t just about adopting the best technology and understanding and integrating it seamlessly into one’s operations. With their growing popularity in the corporate world, Apple devices come with their own demands and intricacies. While these devices offer many advantages, leveraging them requires specific skills and expertise.

The choice is clear for businesses keen on not just surviving but thriving in today’s tech-centric environment. Partner with a managed IT service that knows Apple inside out. It’s an investment that promises smooth operations and a competitive edge in a landscape where technology is the game-changer.

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