New Year’s Technology Resolutions

by | Jan 14, 2013 | jahlberg

By now you may have made and already broken your New Year’s resolutions. Let me give you a list of resolutions AND a step-by-step guide so you can actually keep them.

  • Back up your data! – I’ve written several blogs about the need to back up your data (here, here, and here). I’m not just referring to the work side, but also the home side. Every year I run into people who did not back up their smartphones or home computers and are panicked because they are about to lose years’ worth of digital photos.  This issue is really simple and cheap to solve. Back up your stuff over the internet using a 3rd party service like MiMedia, Carbonite, Mozy, or a host of others.  Once you set it up, the backups can run automatically.

  • Save your files! – When you are working on a document, be sure to click the Save button often. I can’t tell you how many times I hear about someone working on a document for hours, never hitting Save, and ending up losing their work because their computer crashed or they closed the app and accidently clicked No to save.  I have a coworker who automatically keystrokes Control S to save her document every time she pauses in her work. 

  • Speed up your computer – The older my computer gets, the slower it becomes. I’m not talking about years old either, more like months. Even a year-old computer runs much slower than it did on day one. The directions below are for PC; check out this article to speed up a Mac.
    • Windows Update – Make sure your computer is current with Microsoft and other updates. For the most part, an updated computer will run more smoothly and have fewer problems.
    • Download and run CCleaner – This tool will safely delete old temp files, clean up old registry entries, and disable un-wanted services. All of these could be slowing down your machine.
    • Make sure your C: drive has enough free space – Not having enough free space can really slow down your machine. Hard drives are huge these days so it is not as much of a problem as it used to be. Shoot for having at least 10% free space. You can run the Disk Cleanup Tool under Accessories/System Tools to help free up space.
    • Defrag – Your hard drive might be fragmented which just means that different pieces of some files are scattered about the hard disk rather than all together. A file is faster to access when it is all together. You can run the Disk Defragmenter Tool under Accessories/System Tools to help with this.
    • Uninstall programs you don’t need – Often they are installed, not used, yet a part of them is constantly running in the background taking up resources. Get rid of them. Especially things like Bing and Google toolbars.
    • See what is running in the background – You can run a built-in Windows app called MSCONFIG and click on the Startup tab and uncheck the ones that are not needed. You can also do this using CCLeaner. I usually disable things like – QuickTime, Apple Push, Google Update, Bing, and many others. Simple enough to go back if you disable something that should not be. Just check the item off again and reboot.
    • None of the above work? You might have a corrupt Windows profile? – Give this drill a try.
    • Upgrade to Windows 8? Too early to tell, but it does seem to boot up really fast. The challenge will be hardware since it will most likely not work as well on old hardware. I would not try installing Windows 8 on a 5 year old computer and expect it to run lightning fast.

  • Get a good a virus/spyware app – If you don’t have a good one, then get one. A lot of new computers come with programs like McAfee and Symantec. The problem is that they are “free” for 6 months and then you need to pay for them. The bigger issue is that they are bloatware-type programs that try to do too much, get in the way of the user with useless pop-ups, and just don’t work really well. We have found great success with a program called Vipre. For home machines you can use the free versions of systems like AVG, Microsoft Security Essentials, and Avira AntiVir. Uninstall the junk that comes with your new computer and get one of these instead.
  • Is it time for a new computer? – I tell people to only upgrade when it makes sense to upgrade and not to spend too much money. Computers are much more powerful than most people need these days so they should last longer. Older computers will of course have slower processors, but they also have slower hard drives and slower memory. Combined they all add up to a slower machine compared to newer technology. I’ve found that after about 3 years, the technology has changed a bit, but should not be enough to be a huge speed change compared to a new machine. After 5 years, it might be time to get a new machine not only because of speed, but also because older hardware has a higher failure possibility.

John Ahlberg, CEO, Waident Technology Solutions

John Ahlberg
CEO, Waident

CIO in the corporate world and now for Waident clients. John injects order and technology into business process to keep employees productive, enterprises running, and data safe.

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