Most bloggers and writers have experienced that terrible moment when a computer decides to stop working. And that means you are forced to stop working, too. You can prevent that from happening. Today, freelance writer Beth Bauer (@JourneyofBethB) provides computer maintenance tips that will keep your computer up and running so you can continue producing manuscript pages and blog posts without interrruption.
When was the last time you ran maintenance to keep your computer running smoothly? For me, it had been too long.
I was horribly behind schedule. I should have posted a new article on my blog days ago, and I had an assignment due to a client by the end of the day. So, at 7:00 on a Monday morning I booted up my trusty laptop to get started.
I sipped my fresh cup of dark Guatemalan coffee and waited for the prompt to enter my password. It seemed like my computer was running awfully slow. The little circle on the blue screen just kept going round and round. That was the beginning of what became three days from hell..days without my laptop. Ultimately, it cost me $280 to be reminded that my laptop is a machine, and all machines need maintenance, or they break down.
And when they do, your blog and blogging efforts—even your book writing efforts—break down, too.
Power Off and Delete Cookies
I asked the computer technician to give me some pointers on keeping my laptop running smoothly. He looked at me with a smug look on his face and said, “You should power it off on and every night. Don’t leave all of your apps open for days and weeks on end.”
I already knew that, but I admit I had gotten a bit lazy.
He also told me to delete my cookies. Cookies are merely files from websites that you visit that get stored on your computer. They aren’t harmful, but too many will slow your computer down.
Another thing that bogs down your computer is irregular defragging. Defragmenting, or “defragging,” rearranges the hard drive by putting chunks of related data back together, so your files are organized efficiently. Then, your computer system can access files more productively. Defragging will leave your computer’s free space together, which allows new data to be kept in a more orderly fashion, thereby causing your computer to run faster.
Perhaps you have opted for manual updates because your computer always seems to want to update at the worst possible times, like right before a pressing deadline. That’s fine, as long as you still do it, but too often we get busy, or lazy, and we never run the update.
Updates can be critical to keeping your computer running smoothly. It’s additional code, or changes to code, that developers have produced specifically to fix common bugs, so don’t put it off. If you put off updates for too long, your computer might crash.
Delete Old Files
Ask yourself this; how many of the actual files and images on your computer do you want or need? Do you have tons of duplicate images and rewritten word docs? Are those old PowerPoint presentations just taking up space? What about that ridiculous poem you wrote for your ex?
Take out your calendar and schedule some time to delete old files off your computer that you no longer need or want.
After you delete all those unwanted files, you might as well take the next step and organize the ones you keep. Create folders for things in a way that makes sense to you.
For example, put your articles in category folders, or organize them by date. Do the same thing with images, workshops, presentations, videos, etc.
Think how much easier it will be to find that vital document once everything is organized efficiently.
Run a Virus Check
Most operating systems, like Windows, run a virus check automatically, but it sure doesn’t hurt to rerun it just to be sure.
According to a recent article by Brand Galilee, “The estimated cost of all households impacted by viruses, spyware, and phishing is $4.55 billion.”
Don’t let yourself become part of the statistic. Run a regular check for viruses.
Create a Point to Restore Your System
Before you install new software on your computer, you should create a System Restore point. You never know when new software will wreak havoc on your system.
Having a System Restore Point helps you restore your computer to a previous point in time if the new software creates problems. It’s the safest way to reverse problematic system changes to your computer without losing your essential data. Plus the function is built right into the Windows operating system, so there’s no reason not to utilize it.
You’ve worked hard to get to where you’re at as a blogger. Keeping your computer running smoothly by performing these regular maintenance routines will save you time and energy. That way you can focus on writing, and not lose valuable time trying to fix your crashed computer or while you wait for it to be fixed.
Do you have any maintenance tips you’d add to this list? Tell me in a comment below.
About the Author
Beth Bauer is a freelance writer, travel blogger, yoga instructor, and entrepreneur currently working on her third novel. She has traveled to over 20 countries in just the last two years and enjoys life as a digital nomad. She is originally from the Pacific Northwest of the U.S.A., and when she’s home lives on the Long Beach Peninsula with her dog, Ozzie.