How to Make a Computer Last Longer

Even though my website is mostly about help with small business websites, you do need a working computer to access and work on your websites, so let’s side track a little and talk about keeping your computer and other electronics running smoothly.

Here are some tips to help you save money on computer replacement costs:

1. Get All Software and Firmware Updates

Don’t ignore those messages that say you need to update software – get and install those updates. They’re important. There’s so much hacking going on right now – there’s a war out there. Your computer is connected to the Internet, so when it’s on, it’s very vulnerable.

Once software updates are available, hackers know about them, too. They also know what holes are in the old software. This means they’re going to try to use those holes to get into your computer and either use your computer to send out email or try to get your personal data.

2. Consider Switching to a Mac

I heard a guy on the radio this morning on a local talk show where they bring in specialists about certain topics. This guy was helping people with computer problems and he said one thing that shocked me. He said if you plan on browsing the Internet, don’t do it on a Windows computer! He advised against doing that and he said to use a smart phone, tablet or a Mac instead.

macbook

I’ve been on a Mac for about 8-9 years now and there’s no way I’ll ever go back. First of all, it’s Apple’s software running on Apple’s hardware. You’ll have a lot less driver issues and crashes. Second, you don’t need to restart Macs – like hardly ever. I keep mine running for months without a restart. Third, they boot faster. Windows computers tend to take longer and longer to boot the longer you have them. Stop the insanity! 🙂

Macs are safer. Since more people use PCs, more viruses are going to be written for them. Also, the core operating system (kernel) for a Mac is very small compared to Windows. That’s less that can be affected. The Mac operating system, OS X, is based on Free BSD, which is like Linux or Unix. Those systems have been around a long time and they’re very solid and stable.

There’s a lot more software out for Macintosh now. Also, you can run Windows on your Mac with Parallels. It’s about $50 extra plus you have to buy Windows, so it’s not bad. It runs inside OS X – or you could say while you’re running your Mac.

Here’s my Mac running Windows 7:

windows-7-on-mac

3. Clean Out the Dust!

At least every 3 months (even do it monthly), get a can of compressed air and clean out your computers, laptops and electronic equipment. This is SO important.

Most electronics need air to cool down. When it’s difficult for the air to pass through them, they run hotter. This stresses the components and they wear out faster. If you want your computers, laptops and other electronics to last a long time, make sure you spray them out with compressed air.

It’s as simple as spraying the air into the vents. You should see dust fly out the other vents. Do this to all vents.

If you’re adventurous, you can open up devices and spray them out. This is the best way. Just make sure they’re unplugged and off and that you ground yourself before touching them.

Here’s a video that covers computer cleaning:

4. Don’t Over Charge the Battery

If you’re using a laptop or other device that has a battery that you charge, don’t charge it with the device off. This over charges it. I see people do this all the time – they leave their laptop off or in sleep mode overnight and keep it plugged in. Only charge it while you’re using it – this will make your battery last a lot longer.

5. Use a Surge Protector

Clean power is important. A spike or brown out will ruin electronics. I had a TV become useless during a brown out. It didn’t get enough power and then it stopped working – even when full power came back. Spikes are also bad and you might not be around every device you own when a thunderstorm rolls through.

6. Have Plenty of RAM (Memory) and Hard Drive Space

When your computer has enough resources, it works less. If there’s more memory, then it can keep more thing in memory instead of having to offload to the hard drive what needs to be in memory (this is called using the swap space).

When there’s enough hard drive space, the disk drive management software doesn’t need to keep moving data around to make room.

7. Consider Upgrading to SSD

Solid State Drives (SSD) are pretty awesome. I did the SSD upgrade and my Mac runs better than brand new now. I love it. It runs like it’s supposed to. So instead of replacing a computer, just upgrade the old hard drive that has to spin to one with no moving parts. It’s a lot faster and SSD drives are very reliable now.

 

Conclusion

Small businesses rely on computers and computer maintenance is maybe not high on the priority list but it should be a part of a maintenance schedule. Just like you have to maintain vehicles, buildings and other equipment, don’t forget about your computer. Regular maintenance will help it last a lot longer and this saves you money!

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