New Year’s Computer Resolution

Posted by Darren Tedesco

January 7, 2014 at 10:00 AM

I’ve never understood the infamous New Year’s resolution. What’s so important about a single day (i.e., January 1) that warrants a different human behavior from what existed a day earlier (i.e., December 31)? People—myself included—should make resolutions all the time when they want to change, even if they make the resolution on June 19. I know, it sounds “soap-boxish,” but you can get away with that when it’s your own blog. :)

In any case, while you might have weight loss or getting in shape, eating better, getting more sleep, or a whole host of other standard resolutions on your docket, how about adding this one: getting your computer into shape. Of course, via Commonwealth’s Shield program, we take care of advisors’ common software patches (e.g., Microsoft Office, Adobe, Java, Antivirus), but there are other things that you can do to your computer to help it perform even better. Here are a few:

  • Don’t install things you don’t need. Every time you install a program, it writes information into your computer’s registry (think of it as your system’s nervous system). The more stuff that you don’t need in the registry, the worse your computer might perform.
  • Uninstall things that you no longer (or have never) used. New computers bought at nationwide box stores are infamous for preinstalling eight gazillion pieces of software on each new computer because of alliances with third-party companies. The majority of this software, you’ll never use. Get rid of that software. And if you’re not sure whether you’re using it or want help deciding whether and how to get rid of it, ask a technical support specialist.
  • Use a computer cleaner regularly. The most popular free one out there is called CCleaner, but there are other decent ones as well. This will help clean up your hard drive of temporary files, clean up junk from your registry, allow you to prevent unwanted programs from starting up when you boot your computer, and the like. And if you are not comfortable using CCleaner or want help, ask our helpdesk.
  • Add more memory. Although the amount of memory you can add to a PC or Mac is limited by its motherboard, if you have a 64-bit operating system, you can add 16GB of memory for around $100, which is cheaper than a new system.
  • Upgrade to a solid-state hard drive. If you have a relatively new computer but it still seems a little sluggish, a solid-state hard drive will substantially speed up your reads to or writes from that drive. Keep in mind that doing so will wipe out your operating system, so this is more of an in-patient surgery than just a minor tweak. The cost? About $100, depending on how much storage space you want.
  • If you already have moved into the world of solid-state hard drives (SSD) and have Windows 7 or later, you don’t have to worry about defragging your SSD anymore; this is a relic of a PC era gone by.

Happy New Year to both you and your computer!

Topics: Technology

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