• Routine Cleaning

A computer that is really dirty on the inside A can of compressed air

Just like a home, your computer needs cleaning too. Not just the software, but the hardware as well. With all the fans spinning and the air moving, dust and dirt get inside the computer. Once they start building up, dirt and dust trap heat and interfere with moving parts such as fans. When this happens, your computer breaks. But there is a simple solution, a can of compressed air. About once a month, open the side of the computer and aim the can at the most common dusty areas (fans, power supply, motherboard). In the case of laptops, blow out all external vents since you really can’t open it up. Ideally, you should do this outside as a plume of dust will erupt. Compressed air is cheap, but bring your ID.

  • Defragment

An example deframentation program

This one has fallen out of use with both the invention of SSDs and windows doing it automatically on a schedule, but it is still something you can optimize. There are several free utilities, like this one, that allow you to focus your defragmentation efforts. An example would be someone who plays World of WarCraft®. You can focus your efforts to make those files that you use load faster and more efficiently. Defragmentation puts like files closer together to decrease seek or read time. When it might have taken a minute to load that dungeon in WoW, now it takes 30 seconds. If you use a SSD however, don’t bother as there is no read time.

  • Update your drivers

Driver Disc

Most people don’t know how to update drivers, or even what they are. Drivers are basically a piece of software that powers the hardware it corresponds to. IE: A video driver runs the video card. Manufacturers bring out new versions of drivers all the time. Usually they are just bug fixes. But occasionally, you get whole new features. If your games are not running well, try updating the video and sound drivers. To do this, visit the website of whoever makes your hardware (Dell.com, HP.com etc). If you have a major brand computer, you should find updated drivers on their web site. Otherwise, you might have to visits the specific component’s manufacturer’s website (ATI.com, nvidia.com, Creative.com etc). You don’t have to be cutting edge, but once a month is a good habit to get into.

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