Maintaining and upgrading computer workstations for our clients is a key part of our IT consulting work at Marathon. While computers do have a limited lifespan, if you give your PC some TLC every so often, you can minimize downtime and crashes that can be caused by a lack of upkeep.

Here are five easy PC maintenance chores every computer owner should keep in mind:

Promptly install system updates. Make the task of keeping your computer software up to date a priority. While this is often taken care of for you at work, it’s easy to ignore the prompts to update your system when you get home. Regularly installing these system updates is an important task to keep your machine running smoothly. Routine system updates also help keep your PC secure from the latest online viruses and other threats.

Invest in a surge protector or an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). One easy way to help extend the life of your PC is by not plugging it directly into a power outlet. Instead, you will want to at least purchase a surge protector or an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to regulate the power fluctuations that can wear down internal components in your machine. A quality surge protector or UPS will be able to extend the life of your machine and protect you from a sudden power surge.

A clean computer is a happy computer. Make a recurring quarterly appointment on your calendar to clean up your PC. Hit the inside of your keyboard with a shot of compressed air. Doing this will clear out the dust and bagel crumbs and keep your keyboard in good working order. For your mouse, check the pads on the bottom that allow it to slide. If they are showing build-up, wipe them off with a damp cloth. You can also wipe down the outside of your PC tower to remove any dust. If you are concerned that excessive dust or debris has built up inside your tower, let your IT professional know and they can clean things for you. Opening it yourself or using compressed air could create a static charge and destroy your machine.

Minimize any movement. Computers with spinning hard drives should not be moved while they are powered on. You should take extra care when transporting a laptop because they can also be negatively affected by too much movement. Your hard drive is made up of tiny, delicate parts that spin at thousands of RPMs. Too much movement can disrupt the precision mechanics and alignment and cause a crash.

Back up your data at home too. While reliable backups don’t really extend the life of your PC, having a complete backup file makes it easier to switch to a new machine after a crash. Backing up data at work is one of the key functions of your IT team. It’s important to be consistently backing up your data at home too. Think of the monthly fee for Backblaze, Carbonite, Mozy or another solution as a very inexpensive insurance policy for your vacation photos, tax documents and all the other irreplaceable files on your home computer.

These do-it-yourself tips can extend the life of your machine and give you more uninterrupted productivity. You will want to apply these best practices and more to all of your workstations at the office.

Contact Marathon if you’d like to learn more about how we can help keep your computers and network in top shape.

Photo credit: Cats Love Macs, too 😉 by Andrey Belenko (CC by 2.0)


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