Tech Housekeeping for a New Year

As the year begins and you begin to dust off the files that you use with your classes, there are a few easy housekeeping tasks you may want to do to keep your computer going and you relatively happy with it.

  • Locking your workstation– one of the easiest steps you can take to securing your computer from prying eyes is to lock your workstation if you are going to leave your computer. I’m not suggesting that you lock it every time you step away from your desk, but if you leave the room, it’s a really good idea. Locking the computer means that a password must be entered to use it. It’s not a reboot and it doesn’t take any time for it to get connected. Truly, it doesn’t even lose it’s connection to the wireless network. But what it does do is keeps anyone without the password from getting onto the computer and using it under your login. To lock your workstation, simply hold down the “windows key”, in the lower left hand corner of your keyboard, and tap the “L” key. This will bring up the Novell login screen effectively keeping others from using your computer in your absense.
  • Disk Cleanup– over time, your computer file system gets messy with files strewn out all over the place, temporary files from internet sites and remnants of deleted files. This can lead to slower performance and a machine that just seems to be bogged down a little bit. Take a moment as the year begins to do a cleanup of your disk by running a program that comes with your computer meant to help eliminate some of these problems. To run Disk Clean up, click Start –> Programs –> Accessories –> System Tools –> Disk Cleanup. A window will appear on your screen calculating how much space will be freed up. When that process is done, another screen will display in which you can select which categories you want to clean up. You can safely check all of these boxes to clear out some of the precious hard disk space on your computer. It may take a little while to complete depending on how many files need to be cleaned up.
  • Disk Defragmenter– after running the Disk Cleanup utility, I usually run Disk Defragmenter to help reorder all the files that I have on my computer. It doesn’t change my view of my files at all, but it does allow the computer to use the free space moreefficiently. This also has the potential to help with the performance of a computer as it gets older and as files are continually being created and deleted. The program can be found in the same place as Disk Cleanup. Click Start –> Programs –> Accessories –> System Tools –> Disk Defragmenter. When the program starts, you can click on the “Analyze” button to see if defragmenting is necessary. If it is, click on “Defragment” and again, let it run. The amount of time it takes is dependent upon how “fragmented” your drive is. For both of these programs I usually start them and walk away for awhile and just let the computer work.
  • BACK UP– Finally, take this opportunity to back up your stuff. I don’t careif you use an external hard drive, Dropbox, networkstorage or CD’s. If you don’t back up your stuff and your hard drive fails, there’s no getting those files back. For more information about backing up your files, read Back It Up from last year.

If you have questions about how to go about computer maintenance or backing up files, be sure to email me and I’ll help you work through whatever the issue.

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