Simple But Effective Computer Tip – Shut Down Your Computer

a man sitting at a desk using a laptop computer

With all the newer gadgets such as tablets, smartphones, personal laptops, and the like, it is often tempting to keep them in sleep mode when not in use.  However, when it comes to using computer equipment on the job, there are some fairly compelling reasons why a nightly shutdown of work-related equipment is a good habit to acquire.  In this post, we will discuss some of the highlights as to why sleep mode is not always ideal. Check out this simple but effective computer tip.

Effective Computer Tip

Computer Processes

Especially with legacy software, there are processes running in the background even when an application is not even open.  Over time, a PC’s memory can get bogged down with all these rogue processes and issues that begin to occur such as computer crashes, operating system lags, and programs that freeze up.  By shutting down your work computer every night, it gives your computer and its memory a clean slate for the next morning.  This reduces program issues and speeds up productivity levels.

Save on Electricity

Rare are the offices that only consist of one or two computers.  Many offices have quite a few PCs and their fair share of printers as well.  It might not save an office much money if they only have one or two PCs to shut down every night, but companies who have more than that will notice significant savings in their electric bill if the entire office shuts down their equipment at night and on weekends.

The average PC uses anywhere from 80 to 250 watts.  If your local utility company charges a modest 12 cents per kWh, then assuming 250 watts for a PC, a company will pay over $20 a month in electricity costs to keep just one PC running 24/7.  Multiply these figures by the number of PCs in your office, add a few printers and some tablets and the total can be quite significant.

Save on Wear and Tear

The cooling fans installed to keep the power supply and CPU from overheating will get a break if users shut down their PC every night and they will last longer.  In addition, although no one should have such a messy workstation that it potentially is a fire hazard, it certainly is possible.  Some users in cramped quarters tend to stack paper, file folders, and other paraphernalia in and around their computers.  Talk to any computer repair person and they will probably have a story about someone who had a PC go up in smoke because their cooling fan overheated.  Having office staff get into the habit of shutting down their equipment every night reduces the chances of fire.

For more information on computer tips to help you work smarter and safer, please contact us.

Computer Tips: How Can You Get A Better Internet Performance?

a laptop computer sitting on top of a wooden table

If you are running a small business that does not have a great internet connection, you probably shake your head every day at how long it takes for a website’s page to load. No one likes to wait a significant amount of time for any type of web page to load. Regardless of the speed you have provisioned for by your ISP (Internet Service Provider), there is a chance you can do a variety of things to achieve better internet performance. You may be surprised at how a few small changes can give you a faster internet connection.

Better Internet Performance

Get Rid Of Malware And Viruses

It is very important that you make sure your computer is free of any viruses or malware. One of the reasons many computers are slow when it comes to internet performance and system performance is malware.

Test Different Browsers

Some people prefer one browser over the other because some browsers load websites faster than others. You may be surprised at how using a different browser can make a difference in how long it takes for a website to load.

Check Your Router

Is your router capable of handling the highest speeds that your Internet Service Provider offers with your Internet plan? There are some old routers that were not built to handle many of the download speeds. This is because the technology in the old routers is not up-to-date. It is important to keep your router’s firmware updated so you will not have any issues with your internet connection.

Clear Your Cache

How often do you clear your browser’s cache? If you have files that are corrupted in your browser cache, you can experience a variety of problems, including slow performance.

You should not have to deal with a slow internet experience, especially since technology is constantly being improved. Contact us today for additional computer and internet tips.

Computer Tip of the Day – How to Do a Factory Reset on Windows

a woman sitting at a table using a laptop computer

Knowing how to reset your Windows laptop or desktop computer comes in handy in many situations. Whether you want to give away or sell your computer, it has a virus, it is running slow or whatever your reason is, resetting your Windows is a great way to start from scratch. Here are a few ways to perform a factory reset on your Windows 7, 8, or 10 computer.

Factory Reset

Use a Recovery Disk

Many computers will come with a recovery disk. This disk lets you wipe your computer clean and install Windows again. Recovery disks usually come in a CD or DVD format. Just put the disk in and follow the instructions.

Restore With a Recovery Partition

Many computers will come with a recovery partition that you can use to restore your computer. You’ll need to press a combination of keys while booting up your computer (there is a short time opportunity for this). Following are the key combinations to press. Acer: Alt + F10; Asus: F9; Dell: F8; HP and Lenovo: F11. Follow the instructions on the screen to restore your PC. Not all computers have a recovery partition.

Do a Factory Reset On Windows 8 or 10

Windows 8 and 10 let you restore your computer directly from the settings. On Windows 8, go to Settings from the menu bar on the right and then to Change PC Settings. Click on Update and Recovery, then on Recovery, and under Remove everything and reinstall Windows, click on Get Started. On Windows 10, go to Settings, Recover, Reset This PC, and Get Started.

For technical help with your PC, just contact us.

Computer Tip of the Day: How to Reposition Computer Task Bar

a person typing on a laptop with their hands

Many people keep their computer icons on the main screen. Word, Excel, your browser, like Explorer, Chrome, or Firefox — there they are, ready for access. However, to make the icons more convenient to access when windows are open, many people reposition the computer task bar at the bottom or side of the screen so that can be seen no matter how much stuff you’re working on.

Reposition Computer Task Bar

You know how frustrating it can be when these icons rearrange themselves, seemingly spontaneously. If the toolbar is at the bottom of your screen, it suddenly moves to the left. If it was on the left, it may suddenly appear at the bottom.

Because we are creatures of habit, this can be very frustrating and impact productivity. Fortunately, fixing it is very easy.

To reposition the computer taskbar, simply right-click the blank space on the taskbar. When the menu opens, select “properties.”

Look to see if the taskbar is locked. If so, a checkmark will appear next to “locked”. If so, unlock it by clicking on the check mark.

See if the taskbar is locked, with a checkmark next to the listing if so unlock it, and click the “apply” button.

After this, simply select the placement you do want. Then click the “apply” button again. You can lock the taskbar after this for greater security.

If you ever want to move the icons around on the taskbar, you’ll need to unlock the taskbar again. After that, icon movement is a simple drag-and-drop procedure.

For more information, contact us.

Five Essential Computer Maintenance Tips

a close up of a computer motherboard with some tools on it

Computer Maintenance

Performing computer maintenance on your devices is a matter of both convenience and savings.

With proper maintenance, you’ll experience less downtime and fewer unexpected malfunctions, helping you work with greater efficiency and productivity. You’ll also save on the costs of major repairs or device replacement.

The following computer maintenance tips will help you prolong the life of any device:

  1. Clean it, and treat it gently. The chances that a device will break down increase if it’s kept in hot, humid, or dusty conditions, banged against hard surfaces, or covered in food particles or spilled liquids. Regularly clean your device, eat or drink next to it with caution, and handle it with care.
  2. Take care with what you install on it. For instance, if you’re downloading a file or an app, make sure it comes from a legitimate source, it’s compatible with your device, and it’s free of malware.
  3. Investigate suboptimal performance. Sometimes, a computing device may perform poorly because you’re taxing its resources. For example, a computer with relatively low RAM (the memory called on when you’re using various programs) will struggle more with software involving videos or graphics. However, always check the reasons for slow performance or other problems, such as a program crashing repeatedly. You may have to perform some sort of disk repair, or perhaps it’s a sign that your device is harboring a virus.
  4. Keep your device updated. Updated versions of software include fixes for previous problems, such as security holes that hackers can readily exploit. A device operating with outdated software is much more likely to get compromised by a cyber attack. (One example comes from the healthcare industry, where outdated technology is one of the major cybersecurity vulnerabilities.)
  5. Use a surge protector. If your device is plugged in during a storm, a surge protector can help defend it against a sudden sharp increase in power flowing through your electrical lines. Power surges can wreak havoc with hardware.

For additional computer maintenance advice, please contact us. We can help you maintain your devices by keeping them in good condition and detecting and resolving problems before they have a chance to become emergencies.