05 Feb 2014

Maintenance Tips to Help Speed Up and Prolong the life of your Computer

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Tech Tip:

Maintenance Tips to Help Speed Up and Prolong the life of your Computer

Do applications on your computer seem to be loading slower than before? More likely than not, you are in need of some computer housekeeping. Keeping applications up to date and deleting unused files are usually all that is needed to help boost the performance of a seemingly slow computer. Simple maintenance and cleaning can help dramatically extend the life of your computer.

Before you call a technician, try following our helpful tips on how to keep your computer running smoothly. With regular maintenance you can considerably prolong the life of your computer.

Tip #1: Update your anti-virus and anti-spyware

If this is something that is not being done automatically, make sure to install the recommended software patches and update your anti-virus software regularly. Refer to our previous articles on Keeping your Computer Safe and Secure and Installing Safe Adobe and Java Updates to learn how.

Tip #2: Reboot your computer weekly

If you leave your computer running constantly, rebooting weekly will make a significant difference. This can easily be done when leaving the office for the weekend. If you happen to live in areas where you are susceptible to storms and power outages, it is important to shut down daily (and during a storm) in order to prevent hardware damage. Power surges will corrupt your data and your Windows system files.

Tip #3: Delete temporary files and cookies

The more time you spend on the Internet, the more temporary Internet files you accumulate. These files can congest your Internet browser & put a lag on your general computer usage. You should delete these files weekly. To do this, follow these simple steps (shown for Internet Explorer):

  • Click, Tools (or the tools icon) from the tool bar. Next, select Safety>Delete browsing history (Ctrl+Shift+Delete).


  • You now have the option to choose which type of content to delete (Temporary Internet files, Cookies, History, Download History, Form date and Passwords). All of which will help to further free up your system.


Tip #4: Clean out your email

It is very important to empty, archive and compact those files in order to keep your Outlook (or another email client) running smoothly – pay special attention to your Inbox, Sent and Deleted items folders. Refer to our earlier article on how to Speed up Outlook While Securing Email Records to learn how.

Tip #5: Install the Latest Windows Updates

Ensuring that you have installed the latest system updates is another easy way to keep your computer running smoothly (and safe too). Turn on “automatic updates” so that the most important updates will download and install without needing to do anything extra.

  1. Click, on the Windows Start Button > All Programs and locate Windows Update from the menu bar.
  2. In the left pane, click Change Settings.
  3. Once the dialog box shown below opens, under Important Updates select Install updates automatically (recommended) and click OK to save.


Tip #6: Remove Dust and Smoke

Computers generate static charges which attract dust and cigarette smoke. These particles contain moisture that can form into a type of mud – covering the inside components of your computer and causing them to overheat and fail. Performing the preventative steps listed below can help to prolong the life of your computer.

  • Clean the area around your computer regularly to prevent dust from collecting. Items that generate dust include plants, pets and cigarette smoke.
  • Keep all food and drinks away from your computer. Food particles that get into your keyboard can attract and increase the amount of dust in your electronics.
  • Wash your hands regularly to keep dust and other matter from transferring and building up on your keyboard and computer.
  • Clean dust build up with a soft brush or static free vacuum.

Tip #7: Clean your Keyboard and Mouse

Studies have shown that computer keyboards can have more bacteria than toilet seats! Weekly cleanings will help to keep your devices clean and running smoothly. Remember, before cleaning any equipment, make sure to unplug each item first. Follow these quick tips on keeping your computer devices clean.

  • Keyboard: Flip upside down and give a good couple of shakes to remove anything stuffed between the keys. You can also use compressed air to remove hard-to-reach debris. Wipe the keys down with a damp cloth or disinfecting wipe, then dry to remove any remaining moisture.
  • Mouse: The same steps apply as for keyboards except for the particles underneath the scroll wheel. Turn the mouse upside down and roll the scroll wheel to help dislodge anything that may be stuck inside. To clean the eye, use a cotton-swab to lightly clean this area. For track ball mice you will want to clean the ball with a moistened cotton-swab while rolling the ball around to make sure all areas are cleaned.

With regular maintenance using the tips listed above, you should be able to speed up and prolong the life of your computer. If you have any questions about how to protect your computer from viruses or simple clean up steps, please contact the hardware team in the BMS Support Center via email or call 800-634-7734 ext. 6.

How do you keep your computer running smoothly? We want to know. Share your tips here.