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Eight Ways to Make Your Computer Last Longer

Eight Ways to Make Your Computer Last Longer

Computers are big investments. Like any expense, it makes sense to get the most use out of your computer. Keeping your hardware humming for a few more years will mean good things for your finances and your sanity. Here are eight ideas to help your computer stay healthy and last longer.

1. Keep it Covered and Clean

clean computer

    Dust and dirt are your worst nightmare. One of the best ways to keep your computer running over the long term is to keep it clean. Dust and pet hair can gum up the gears and cause issues in functioning. Remember to clean your computer and keep it covered when not in use to prevent dust and dirt from getting into the inner components. Use canned air to remove debris, especially from fans. If fans get clogged with too much dirt, they can slow down and not remove the heat from the computer, causing a melt down much earlier. Clean your screen with screen cleaner, never window cleaner, as the ammonia will dull the screen. Also, don’t eat food or place drinks next to your computer for the same reasons. One accident can have serious consequences.

    2. Keep it Cool

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    cool computer

      Heat also causes many issues. Your CPU and graphics card can get so hot, they can cook. The computer generates heat when it’s running. When you combine that with ambient room temperature, your computer works harder and slows down. Try to put your computer in a clean room that stays cool and out of the sun. Provide proper air flow and don’t place anything in front of the fans on your PC. Again, clean your CPU fans to ensure they run smoothly and move heat out of the computer. You can also add extra fans to your PC or use a cooling stand for your laptop.

      3. Keep it Current

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        While those updates may seem like a pain when you’re trying to get work done, they are necessary maintenance for your system. If you have an Apple computer, the updates will not only update your computer, but also defrag the system. If you have a PC, you will need to do defrag and disk clean up manually (at least once per month). You can set it to run during the night so it doesn’t interfere with your work. Also, if you have a PC, keep your antivirus software updated.

        4. Don’t Jostle It

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        break computer

          While the computer is running, it’s a good idea not to move it. If you have a laptop, remember not to jostle or move it more than needed. Be gentle. Too much movement can damage the moving pieces and cause issue later. Also, if you have a laptop, hold it at it’s base, never by the screen, and use both hands. When traveling with a laptop, invest in a padded case.

          5. Surge Protector

          protector

            Make sure your protect your computer with a surge protector to prevent frying your hard drive. Also, during storms, unplug the computer as an additional precaution. It just takes one hot surge shot, and you’re going computer shopping again.

            6. Make Sure You Have Enough RAM and Hard Drive Space

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            ram

              Your RAM (random access memory used for active programs) and your hard drive (used for things you store like videos, documents, and pictures) should be at the right levels to meet your needs. If you got a good deal on a computer, it’s likely they gave you the bare minimum of memory and hard drive space. You can upgrade memory fairly easily, and your computer will run faster and last longer.

              7. Solid State Drives Are an Affordable Upgrade to Increase Longevity

              ssd

                One of the best ways to refresh a computer and lengthen its life is to replace the hard drive with a solid state drive. The new solid state drives are becoming more affordable now. They have no moving parts and run much cooler than standard disk drives. They also will increase your start-up speed, and you will notice a must faster response in your computer overall.

                8. Don’t Treat Your Computer Like a Light Switch

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                  Unless you have to keep your computer running all the time, you may want to turn your computer off when not in use to save on power costs. Turning it off once per day (like at night) is fine. However, continually powering it on and off multiple times per day stresses the components as you are changing the temperature inside the system, causing the hardware to contract and expand. Try to limit this stress. Your system will last longer.

                  Just like a car, when you perform routine maintenance and treat your computer with care, you will most likely squeeze a few extra years out of the system. When you consider the cost of computers, it makes sense to invest in a few additional efforts to stretch your money farther and gain additional quality and quantity from your system.

                  More by this author

                  Sarah Hansen

                  A corporate-sales professional turned entrepreneur

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                  Last Updated on February 15, 2019

                  7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                  7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                  Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

                  Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

                  Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

                  So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

                  Joe’s Goals

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                    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

                    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

                    Daytum

                      Daytum

                      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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                      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

                      Excel or Numbers

                        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

                        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

                        Evernote

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                          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                          Access or Bento

                            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                            Conclusion

                            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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