Spring Cleaning

Marcel BrownSpring is finally here (although right now it doesn’t seem like it – stupid cold weather). Along with spring comes the annual tradition of spring cleaning. Obviously people think of spring cleaning as a time to clean out their garage, tend to their lawns, spruce up the house, and any number of odd jobs around their home. However, I am here to add a new tradition to your spring cleaning ritual – your technology! With all the recent hype regarding the Conficker worm, now is as good of a time as any to make sure your technology is properly “cleaned” and maintained. This article will detail a few things you should consider during your technology spring cleaning.

As long as you’re cleaning the house (or estimating when to schedule a maid), you might as well clean up the fans and vents in your computers. While you could blow out the fans and vents in your computers, canned air really just spreads around dirt and dust. You must be careful to actually blow it out of your computer, not back into it. I much prefer to vacuum out the large majority of dust in a computer, then save the canned air for the stuff that resists vacuuming. However, to be completely safe, vacuuming the inside of your computer should be done with a vacuum designed to safely do this. Vacuums can generate a large amount of static electricity and electronic-safe vacuums are designed to properly and safely discharge this static away from the user and computer, so as to not zap your computer. Most people don’t have electronic-safe vacuums, so if you would like this done properly, we can do this at The Tech Spot.

Is it time to replace the battery in your battery backup unit? Most batteries have about 3 – 5 years of useful life in them. A dead or weak battery does not allow the unit to do its job properly. If your unit is older than 3 years, this may be a good time to replace it. Also, how old are your surge protectors for your home theater equipment? If they are several years old, this might be a good time to replace them, especially if you are getting or recently purchased a new HDTV.

If you haven’t yet updated to the latest Service Packs for your Windows operating systems (SP 3 for XP, SP 1 for Vista) or the latest system update for your Mac operating system, give it some thought. With all the information regarding the Conficker worm highlighting how important it is to keep your OS updated, this is a good time to be sure you are up-to-date. A word of warning, however. Please be sure to have backed up before attempting a major OS update like a Service Pack. And don’t do a major update if you are on any sort of a deadline. If there are any underlying system problems they can cause a system upgrade to fail, possibly leaving the computer in an unusable state.

Of course, if you’re not comfortable doing all this stuff yourself, and I don’t blame you, pretty much all of these tasks can be completed with a Computer Tune-Up, exclusively from The Tech Spot. One of the benefits of letting us do a Tune-Up for you is that we fully back up your computer before we start the Tune-Up to keep your data safe. Let us do the dirty work for you while you spend your time soaking up the spring sun!

If you have any questions about keeping your computer maintained, please don’t hesitate to contact me!