It's been a year since the COVID 19 pandemic forced all of us to rely on our computers and associated devices for work and school. Most modern tech devices don't need a 'tune up', but as we into Spring, it's a good time for cleaning. So when you start to do a deep cleaning on your living space, take a few minutes to follow these steps to spring clean all items associated with your digital lifestyle.
Avoid computer and app cleaning products: it's Tempting to purchase do it all products that promise to clean on your computers and smartphones. Avoid these products like the plague. Most of these products do more harm than good. Your devices are designed to take care of themselves so avoid all of the extra junk.
Remove your 3rd Party Anti-Virus software. 15 years ago, computer manufactures didn't include AV software, now they do Macintosh users have xProtect and Windows Users have Windows Defender. Smartphone and tablet users just need to avoid downloading unknown apps from the Google Play Store and The App Store. Most 3rd party AV software causes more problems than good.
Change Your Passwords For All of Your Online Accounts. It’s always a good idea to change your passwords every so often, so why not do it this spring? There are too many data breaches occurring where your personal information is leaked into the hands of cyber-criminals. You wouldn't believe the number of calls we get at the office of people who have had their personal information stolen because they hadn't changed their passwords for years. If you make it a habit to change your passwords on a regular basis, you can avoid your personal information falling into the wrong hands. Using a Passphrase instead of a password helps you create passwords you can easily remember. Need help with creating a passphrase, visit www.useapassphrase.com. Passphrases are more secure than your standard password and are so much easier to remember. Creating passphrases along with using password management software such as LastPass (www.lastpass.com) or the password management system built into web browsers, such as Google Chrome, Opera, and Firefox will keep your personal information safe. Back-Up Your Files. I hate paper and keep everything stored digitally. Instruction manuals, pictures, documents, the list goes on and on. In this digital age, I know many of you are storing items digitally as well. It's the reason I'm always preaching about backing up your stuff ... and stuff isn't the "S" word I wanted to use. Cloud backup is your best option with services like Carbonite (www.carbonite.com), Google Backup and Sync (www.google.com), and iCloud drive (www.icloud.com) dying to save your important information. Remember there is a difference between Cloud Storage and Cloud Backup. Cloud storage is meant just to store one copy of your files, where Cloud backup keeps multiple copies of your files. Make sure your backup your files in multiple places, not just on the Cloud, but also on an external hard drive as well. Donate, Trade, or Sell Your Old Tech Devices. We have several laptops, desktops, tablets, and phones sitting around the house. I know you do too. Why are we keeping these devices? There's no good reason to keep them. Make it a point to stop hoarding your tech devices and get rid of them. If you have information on them that you want to ease, just reset your items to factory defaults and the information will disappear. There are many recycling places near you, just do a Google search to find one and get rid of that digital clutter. If you have a device that still works, donate it to a needy non-profile. Have something newer that you want to sell, sell it on Facebook Marketplace, or Craigslist, or trade it in on Amazon.
Declutter Those Devices. Don't believe the myth that too much stuff on your devices will slow them down. It is a good idea to remove old files, smart device apps, and computer programs for the sake of having a more streamlined device. Take a moment to organize those files, pictures, and videos. Don't forget about those emails. Most of us tend to use our email as a filing cabinet which is why our email gets so cluttered. Unless you're using Microsoft Outlook, Thunderbird, Apple Mail, or Windows Mail, too much mail won't slow your device down. If you are, you need to clean out that email quarterly. Don't forget to empty your recycle bin and your trash can as well. Take care of all of those cords. You probably use wireless devices when you can, but with technology, there are going to be some cords that need to be connected to our devices. If you can, hide those wires to your computers, printers, and even TVs with cord covers or check out some other solutions that will allow you to hide cords in your walls. For your smartphone and tablet, switch to wireless chargers to eliminate cords. You can also consider purchasing power centers in a central location of your home where the family has a convenient place to charge all of their devices. Clean Out those Crumbs. During all of the hours you spend in front of a screen, there's a good chance you're going to snack on something. After a while, your device is going to get pretty gross. For desktop and laptop keyboards, sure you can turn them upside down to shake out the dirt and crumbs. I recommend getting a can of compressed air to effectively get all of the debris out.
Clean Your Screen. The average smartphone and Tablet have more germs than a public restroom. Take the time to disinfect your handheld devices. To properly clean and disinfect them, use a solution of 50% Water and 50% of isopropyl alcohol. Only use a microfiber cloth to wipe down your devices.
Your home and office are not the only things that should be getting cleaned this spring. Don’t neglect your technology or it will not last as long as it should.
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