Getting your tech in shape is as important as any other new year’s resolution. Read on for some essential tips.
Most everyone makes resolutions to help improve their lives and one of those should include your technology life. There are tech maintenance tasks that everyone forgets about, but really shouldn’t. We have shown you important PC maintenance tips before, and here we’ll cover a few more things that you should get in the habit of doing at least once a year – if not more often.
Update Your Wi-Fi Router Firmware
Making sure your Wi-Fi router is up-to-date are important in ensuring your connection to the web is secure and optimize performance. In addition to security, installing a firmware update can solve connection problems. A few years ago, I had connection issues with AirPlay between different Apple devices. I discovered the solution was to update my router because the latest update addressed the issue specific to AirPlay. Read our articles on how to update your Wi-Fi router’s firmware as well as how to update the firmware on an ASUS RT_AC3200. The steps for updating the firmware will vary slightly between brands, but both articles show the settings to look for on your specific router.
Backups, Backups, Backups
Hey, it’s 2018, and this should go without saying. However, every year I hear from friends and family that never incorporated a data backup regimen and ended up losing files. If you don’t have a backup of your data and disaster strikes, the truth of the matter is – it’s gone. And by the way – syncing your data with online services like Dropbox doesn’t qualify as a backup. Making a copy of a file in a separate folder on the same drive is NOT the same. Use multiple methods to create your backup strategy — the more backups you have in different locations the better.
Whether you’re a Windows, Mac, or Chromebook user, the following list of articles will help you develop a backup and file recovery solution that works best for you.
- Create a Full System Image in Windows 10 (Using native Windows tools)
- Create Windows 10 System Image (Free third-party utilities)
- Turn on and Configure Windows 10 File History
- Use a Reputable Online Backup Service
- Recover Your Mac with Time Machine
Even if you have had a backup system in place for years, it’s important to go through and make sure everything is up-to-date and working like you want. While the “set it and forget it” backup services make everything simple, you need to test and verify the backed-up data regularly. For more, read our article: Five Backup Strategies You Might Be Making. Also, if you are backing up your most important data, consider using an encrypted drive to make sure it stays safe and protected.
Clean Your Equipment
If you’re using a desktop computer, it ends up collecting a lot of dust throughout the year. At least once a year it’s important to blow that dust out with a can of compressed air. This ensures all connections aren’t compromised and prevents the CPU from overheating. Before blowing it out with canned air, make sure it’s unplugged from a power source. Also, make sure the air can nozzle isn’t too close to the components as you could jostle something out of its connection.
While you’re at it, clean the gunk that accumulates on your keyboard. You can buy a box of cleaning wipes for a few bucks and run it over your keys. I also will flip the keyboard over and use canned air to get out dust and chunks of food that fall into the grooves under the keys. Clean your monitor and other screens off with a microfiber cloth. You don’t need to bother with overpriced computer cleaning solutions, in fact, a microfiber cloth moistened with water, and a little pressure works very well.
For more cleaning tips, check out our Guide to Cleaning Tech Devices.
Other Tech Maintenance Tips
There are plenty of other things you can do to make sure your technology is up-to-date and getting the best performance. Whether it’s your computer, streaming video box, phone, or smart speaker, there will always be maintenance involved. Here is a look at some other simple things you can do to make sure you have the best tech year possible.
- Check your drive. Whether you have a traditional hard drive or SSD, it’s important to check the drive’s health. For a traditional spinning drive, read our article on how to check the health a computer’s hard drive. If you have an SSD, it should have a maintenance app for it such as Samsung Magician. It includes all the performance and optimizations tools you need to keep it healthy. Also, you can prevent drive failure by checking for disk errors in Windows 10.
- Restart your phone, tablet, and computer. Some mobile and desktop apps will hold onto system resources they are no longer using. Restarting the devices will free up system resources and keep them running smoothly. On your phone, you might want to go as far as powering it down, completely removing the battery, and powering it back on.
- Reset your cable or DSL modem. Every few months it’s important to restart the devices that connect you to the internet. Sometimes your ISP will increase your internet speeds and you might not know about it. Usually, unplugging the modem and plugging it back in will trigger the update so you can get faster connections.
- Check for updates on streaming devices and game consoles. Typically, your Xbox, or streaming media device will update automatically in the background. However, it’s a good idea to manually check them occasionally to make sure you’re getting the latest features and performance. If you don’t want automatic updates, go to the device’s settings and have it alert you when one is available.
- Responsibly get rid of old equipment. Nowadays we go through technology faster than ever. But you don’t just sell or hand off that old Fire tablet or Chromebook without responsibly wiping it first. If you’re getting rid of your computer, read our article on how to safely sell or donate old PCs.
What are some of the things you do every year to make sure all your tech devices are running optimally? Let us know in the comment section below, or for more discussion on all things tech, hop in our Forums.