Well, we made it through what felt like the longest year of all time and 2021 is here. The New Year is a time to work on resolutions and goals for the coming months—it is also a great time to make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep your computer running smoothly and securely over the next year. Here’s our New Year’s Computing checklist:
- October Feature Update—In the closing months of 2020, Microsoft released their latest large-scale update for Windows 10, under the umbrella of update “20H2.” This batch of updates to the architecture and security of Windows 10 is far from minor (weighing in with a footprint between 3 and 5Gbs). Expect the feature update to take anywhere from 20 minutes to several hours to apply. Windows 10 takes an all or nothing approach to updates, meaning you either receive them or you don’t (And you should, if your computer is online) so if it hasn’t applied yet, it’s a good time to check your queue and schedule the update.
- Move Forward By Backing Up—Every computer has a hard drive and every hard drive will eventually fail. If you have any information on your computer that you don’t want to lose, it is important to set up some sort of backup. This can be a local backup, in the form of an external hard drive, or a cloud backup program that uploads your data to an offsite server. The best backups are the ones you can set once and will run automatically, without further prompting, such as LiveDrive.
- Clear Out The Clutter—The longer a computer is in use, the more it tends to accumulate unnecessary or unwanted programs. Take this opportunity to check your installed program list through control panel. Maybe there’s a program you don’t use anymore, or something you thought you might need, but didn’t. Uninstalling these applications can save space and system resources, as well as reducing the number of processes that are running when you first boot up your system.
- Subscription Check—If you use a subscription antivirus, now is a good time to check and make sure it is up to date and determine how much time is left on your subscription. If you don’t currently have an antivirus program, it’s definitely a good idea to get one. Here at MCT we suggest Vipre Antivirus and Webroot Enterprise—both are available for sale and we can install them for you.
- Remote Access—If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that flexibility is a virtue. If you haven’t yet, it’s a good time to make sure you can complete your work or school tasks from home. People all over the world are adopting new tech to work, socialize and stay in touch with family. Having a good (secure) remote access solution can make it so any computer is a work computer. And programs like Zoom, Skype and Microsoft Teams can ensure you’ll be able to stay in touch, wherever you are.
- Is It Time To Think About An Upgrade?—With tax return season quickly approaching, now is an excellent time to evaluate your current system. How old is your computer? How has it been running? After 3 to 5 years, it’s normal for desktops and laptops alike to begin experiencing hardware failures. If you’re running a computer in that age range, it might make sense to considering upgrading to something new for 2021 (probably something with a webcam). If your machine is running slower than it used to, a few hardware updates may be in order. To run Windows 10 well, most computers should have at least 8GB of RAM. If you are still using an old spinning hard drive, switching to a solid state drive could drastically improve your performance for far less than the price of a new system.
If you have any other New Year’s Tech resolutions, we’d be happy to help you find a solution: give Mankato Computer Technology a call today.