Like any machine, your PC needs regular light maintenance.
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To-do lists, work in progress documents, activity plans. Every employee will be familiar with at least one of those terms in the office.
In fact, most office workers will have a system to manage their day-to-day activities, and many will rely on their system to keep them productive, on track with deadlines and motivated throughout the working day.
But there are certain tasks that we’re not quite so enthusiastic to complete. We’ve all been in a situation where a line item on our to-do list has been sitting there for a number of days or weeks, but for whatever reason, we’re hesitant to tick it off.
Maybe we’re not fully certain of where to begin the task, or we’re simply putting it off because it’s tedious. Either way, those small insignificant tasks can turn into big problems further down the line if we keep avoiding them.
And it’s the same for the tasks that perhaps don’t appear on our to-do lists. For example, the tasks that involve the wellbeing of our PCs.
As an office worker, we rely heavily on our PC and its performance to complete many of the tasks on our to-do list, whether it’s sending an email to a colleague, accessing the internet or using specialist software.
Yet, just like the recurring tasks we avoid, the wellbeing of our PC only becomes part of our to-do list when it becomes a bigger issue. To avoid your PC letting you down at the worst of time, here’s five simple PC hacks that you should add to your to-do list:
1. Complete a weekly virus scan
On average, office workers spend six and a half hours per day on their PCs and in that time they can potentially be exposed to hundreds of viruses. It only takes a couple of accidental clicks on a rogue email to set off a potentially dangerous virus that can consume your whole system.
Once activated, viruses can infect programs and files, disrupting the system’s performance and causing programs to lag and become sluggish.
What’s worse is that some viruses can infect our systems without any obvious indication, that’s why regularly running virus scans are essential if we want to be protected.
Companies offering computer security products provide free virus scanning software that can be done at times when you’re away from your PC for maximum productivity effort, for example during your lunch hour or when you’re in a meeting.
2. Upgrade your hard drive to an SSD
All factory-built PC and laptop systems will have a standard hard drive installed that stores all your computer’s data and files for the operating system. However, over time, these mechanical hard drives will wear down due to the moving parts inside and this can affect the whole system.
The PC might be slow to boot up and programs can crash which can have a counter-effect on our productivity and time at work.
Replacing the hard drive with an SSD can help prevent unexpected slow-downs whilst also giving your system a boost. Tools like Crucial’s System Scanner and the Crucial SSD Install Guide, as well as YouTube tutorials and forums, can provide guidance to help you upgrade your PC or laptop.
3. Perform a digital declutter every once in a while
Ever been in a situation where your manager asks you for that excel sheet you created what feels like ages ago, and you spend the next hour frantically searching through all your files to find it?
We might refer to our desktop or inbox as an ‘organised mess’, but when it actually comes to finding stuff quickly, we can spend more time than we should looking for it.
Not to mention, keeping unwanted files can eat up our storage space too. Spending half an hour or so every month clearing out our emails, putting our files into folders and having a general digital tidy up keeps us organised and productive during work while also helping to free up some storage space.
4. Shut down your PC daily
Sometimes the simplest of tasks can save us from disaster and making sure we switch off our computer properly is one of them. Properly shutting down our systems after working each day rather than putting it into sleep or hibernate mode, not only saves on the electricity bill but it also benefits our computer’s performance if programs crash.
That said, if your system is going through updates or installing big programs, it’s best to leave the system on during these updates to avoid disruption.
5. Clear cookies and caches
If you’re an office worker who uses web browsers, emails or anything that requires the use of the internet, it’s a good idea to regularly clear your cookies and caches. Cookies are helpful for storing usernames and passwords for websites but can cause problems with our PC because the build-up of data takes up a lot of storage space and ultimately ends up slowing down our PC.
Similarly, caches are used to speed up the loading pages of internet browsers, which is great, but the process saves itself down as a file on your computer, again causing an unnecessary build-up of data that slows down your PC.
To prevent this, the best thing to do is to clear all your browsing cookies and caches regularly. You can find the option to clear caches and cookies in your browser’s settings menu.
So, next time you’re writing your to-do list for the week, think about adding some items that relate to the wellbeing of your PC in addition to your general work tasks.
And if you’re part of an internal IT team or the IT lead for your small company, consider implementing these tasks company-wide to ensure that employees who may not be the most computer literate know what to do to maximise the performance of their PC.
For most office workers, a PC is comparable to the engine in a car, without it, we simply cannot operate as employees. Learning to look after our PCs using these simple hacks will help us become more productive in the long run, saving us time and alleviating some of the pressure on busy work days.
Jonathan Weech is senior SSD product marketing manager at Crucial.