There are few things worse than taking a computer or laptop and trying to update it after missing a year or two of patches. What seems like it should just take a day can take weeks of frustration trying to get patches to work, operating systems to recognize changes, and for updates to install without glitches. In some cases the disconnect is so bad an administrator may have to effectively nuke a PC and start over fresh with a clean install.
Maintenance Makes a Difference
The above problem, and other common computer maintenance issues, can be avoided with proper PC and laptop computer maintenance tips. Regular device maintenance is important not just for smooth running of the node within an entire network, it also helps shut down loopholes and backdoors that viruses and unauthorized intrusions use to their advantage to cause trouble. And it’s all preventable, which costs far less than replacement.
Use the tips below to keep your computer or laptop running optimally.
Computer maintenance tips for software include:
- Regularly check for patch updates from manufacturers and make sure they are installed as soon as possible. Failure to do so can leave your computer open for hacks with out-of-date vulnerabilities, especially when connected to the Internet. Set a monthly, or even better a weekly, schedule to ensure patches operating systems are up-to-date.
- Run network system reports to identify abnormal data activity, such as large spikes of data transfer at night when nobody should be working online. You may be able to automate these system reports if you have a cloud backup provider that in the process of backing up your newly changed files will also send you a daily report of which newly changed and created files were backed up — thus telling you if there was a sudden spike in recent file updates.
- Ensure that unauthorized programs are not being downloaded or run on the system, creating an unmonitored backdoor opening. Incoming packet logs as well as program installation logs will highlight when and where this problem is occurring.
- Update office and IT policies as technologies change and remind coworkers to follow them. Human beings remain the number one weak link in an IT network defense.
- Update or replace software in a timely manner when new large updates become available and are cleared for wide usage. Failure to update software regularly leaves your PC open to vulnerabilities hackers and virus-writers enjoy taking advantage of.
- Update virus and firewall definitions weekly to work with the latest definitions for intrusions.
- Utilize online backup tools for data preservation and recovery regularly. If data loss strikes, you’ll be able to restore it to your computer with little downtime, as opposed to sending it in to a data recovery service.
Computer maintenance tips for hardware include:
- Make time for regular cleaning. Dust and desk grit can build up, ruining keyboards and getting into the fan and power unit of a processor. A compressed air spray is the standard tool for dust cleaning.
- Ensure the right hardware is being used for the system and office. Significant network slowdown can occur over time when using outdated equipment. Keep hardware in a secure, dry area to prevent damage and data loss disasters such as flood or breach.
- Keep enough free disk space on your devices. If disk space is full, computers will perform slowly, may freeze, or create other user interruptions. By utilizing off-site, cloud based backup, you can free up disk space and keep your device running optimally. To free up space immediately, you can move your archived files to your cloud backup account. It’s also a best practice to use cloud backup for the rest of your business-integral data so you won’t ever be without it.
- Actively seek and disconnect unauthorized hardware. A network is only as safe as the cleared hardware used. An unauthorized Wi-Fi router for example opens the barn door to entry. An uncleared router usually fails to have the necessary firewall safeguards the administration requires, which means once physically connected anyone getting the signal has a clear, unimpeded access to a network exposed.
- Look for overloaded electrical connections. Power strips can stop some problems temporarily but an overloaded socket could eventually start a fire. Multiple PCs on the same power line can be fried instantly with no home of repair when an electrical surge hits due to overloading a circuit.
- Identify areas where cabling is getting exposed or damaged and address it. A bad cable can slow down network traffic considerably or, at worse, cause intermittent cutoffs of signal connection.
By applying the tips above, you can keep viruses, physical device damage, and device malfunctions at bay, while improving overall performance. When it comes to the business environment, focusing on preventative maintenance will not only eliminate downtime, but will reduce surprise costs as well.
Perform an IT risk assessment on your business to identify other areas that may be putting the safety and performance of your devices and data at risk, and to identify the preventative steps you can take to avoid them.