Spring Cleaning.. for Your Computer
As spring cleaning ramps up at home, we suggest that you also take a look at some tips to help do a little sprucing around your computer. To that end, here are some tips to keep your computer running at peak effectiveness.
- Your first step in diagnosing a slow computer should be to look at your programs starting up as soon as your log in to your machine. Many programs such as Skype, iTunes, and Xythos Drive attempt to start up immediately. This makes the computer boot incredibly slowly; further, most of these processes will sap memory throughout your computer experience. If you don’t need to use a program on startup, it is much better to load it only when you need it.
- Check the Task Manager (PC) or Activity Manager (Mac) to see what programs you have running. Sometimes, programs that are running for long periods of time can build up memory usage, and may need to be restarted or even reinstalled.
- Scan for viruses regularly. Wesleyan computers have anti-virus software pre-installed, but if your computer continues to run slowly, it is still worth getting a “second opinion.” Mac users should talk to their DSS about options; PC users are encouraged to first try Malware Bytes.
- Be cautious of what you download from the Internet. Even items that look legitimate, such as browser toolbars, can add new startup programs and even malware to your computer.
- If a hard drive clicks, immediately stop using it and call your DSS! Failure to do so could be the difference between recovering your data, and having a completely dead hard drive. Hard drives commonly last 3-5 years; if you have an old machine be vigilant for extreme slowness when opening or saving files, crashes, blue screens, and unavailable files, these are all signs that your drive is dying. Sounds like bubbling or straining fans are common in older machines are not cause for immediate concern, although they could point to overheating issues.
- Always check the amount of space left on your primary hard drive (most often the C: Drive or Macintosh HD) If you have less than 15% of your hard drive free, your computer can begin to act slowly. If you have less than 5% you could cause operating system issues. If possible, keep pictures, music, or videos on an external drive. Talk to your DSS if you are worried that you don’t have enough space on your hard drive.
- Finally if you have an older computer, the cheapest and easiest way to speed it up is to buy more computer memory (RAM). Typically doubling your RAM is around $40 for older machines and you will immediately see results. Be aware that there are many varieties of RAM; talk with your DSS if you are not certain which kind you need.