Usually technology is wonderful and if used appropriately, can save us time, energy and money. But those times when our computers are not working efficiently can be some of the most frustruating and time consuming.

I recently received the following article through a newsletter in which I am a subscriber.  Thank you to The Tyler Osby Team at Fairway Independent Mortgage, (http://www.wealthwithmortgage.com/) for allowing us to reprint the article for our readers.

8 Tips to Improve Your Computer's Performance

It's hard to believe that in just a few short weeks, the majority of schools across the country will be back in session. No matter how much you and your family have used your computer this summer, now is a great time to make sure your desktop of laptop is in top shape for the school year.

Here are 8 tips to help improve your computer's performance and save you from the unexpected expense of needing to replace a computer that stops working at optimal levels.

  1. Purchase a Quality Antivirus Program: When you purchase antivirus software, it is important to make sure that, in addition to virus protection, it also protects against spyware and adware. While viruses have the ability to wipe out a computer, the spyware and adware can slow your machine to a snail's pace and compromise your personal information. Be sure to keep your software current by downloading any updates. Also, remember to renew your subscription every year.
  2. Perform Your Windows Updates: Your computer will periodically instruct you that there are available Windows updates. It is important to perform these updates, as many will pertain to both computer security and overall operations. You can also set Windows to automatically update for you.
  3. Use Your Windows Firewall: Newer versions of Microsoft Windows (including most versions available in the last 10 years) come equipped with a personal firewall, which can protect your personal network from any outside networks. But it only works if it is turned on. On newer versions of Windows, you can access your firewall settings by clicking the "Start" menu, selecting "Control Panel" and then selecting "Security Center".
    For older versions, you can click the "Start" menu. Now click the "Run" button (or type run in the Start Search field). When the run window appears, type firewall.cpl and click "OK." The firewall settings are under the "General" tab.
  4. Make Sure You Have Plenty of RAM: Not to be confused with hard drive space, RAM is the memory your computer uses to run programs and data for files you are currently working on. If you run more programs than your computer's RAM can handle at one time, it will run more slowly as the programs compete for RAM. To fix the problem, you don't necessarily need to purchase a whole new computer. Instead, try purchasing more RAM from a local computer store.
  5. Uninstall Any Unused Programs: Now that you've learned about the importance of RAM, you can understand why it's crucial to keep only the programs you use. To delete any unused programs, click "Start" and then click on "Control Panel." Find the icon that says "Add or Remove Programs," and click it on. Scroll down to find the appropriate program, and have it removed. Your computer will prompt you with instructions.
  6. Perform Regular Housecleaning: Regularly deleting your temporary Internet files, cookies, and Internet history will do wonders for maintaining a quick and clean PC. To do so, click "Tools" on the taskbar of your Internet browser. Scroll down and click on "Internet Options." From there, select what you would like to delete. Another bit of housekeeping you should regularly perform is emptying your trash bin.
  7. Defragment (Defrag) Your Hard Drive: Defragmenting your hard drive may be the single best thing you can do to keep your computer running optimally. As you add programs and data to your computer, the information in question takes up blocks of actual physical space on the hard drive. Whenever one of those blocks is deleted, a blank space is created. By defragmenting your computer, you remove the blank spaces and create a more efficient pathway. In order to perform a "defrag" on your hard drive, start by double-clicking your "My Computer" icon. Next, right-click on the "C-Drive" option. Click "Properties," "Tools," and then "Defragment Now." Depending on how fragmented your computer's hard drive is, some system defrags can take several hours - and during that time, you cannot use your computer.
  8. Use an Email Service with a Good Spam Filter: The ability for an email service to effectively filter out insidious spam emails is highly important when it comes to minimizing your risk. In addition to regularly cleaning out your email spam file, you should also never give personal information via an email.

By taking a proactive approach with your computer, you will save yourself a lot of time, money, and frustration...and be all ready for the coming school year!

Reprinted with permission from The Tyler Osby Team at Fairway Independent Mortgage.

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