As we all return to our work and studies in this new year, it’s always a good idea to take a step back and see if there is any way to make things easier on yourself in 2018. If your computer hasn’t been making things easy on you lately, here are a few tips on getting your system ready for the year ahead.
Security & Feature Updates
If you’ve been putting off those software updates you’ve been nagged about, now would be a good time to finally click the install button. While Windows 10 and macOS have made updates less of a hassle, there are still lots of programs that may need some manual intervention. Keeping your software up to date ensures that you have a good defense against most security issues as well as getting new features that may simplify your work. Here are a few programs you may especially need to check up on:
- Adobe Flash
- Microsoft Office
- Web Browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Opera, etc.)
These programs are frequently taken advantage of by hackers, so make sure the latest security patches at minimum are installed.
Clearing the Digital Hoard
As time passes, we all leave some junk laying around that we don’t need. Computers do the same thing! Web browsers are especially guilty of hanging on to random stuff they really don’t use anymore. The more of this junk a computer collects, the slower it can become. Windows has a built-in tool called Disk Cleanup that can delete a lot of these files. Just search for Disk Cleanup in the Start menu. Macs have a few built-in options, as well. There are also third-party programs like BleachBit that can clean more obscure system folders along with securely deleting files so they cannot be recovered. Most web browsers also have an option to clear out unused files within their settings.
Back Up the Important Stuff!
After cleaning out the mess on your computer, make sure to set up regular backups to keep your useful data safe. Windows and Macs alike have built-in backup solutions. You can either back up to a local storage device like a USB hard drive or you can use a cloud backup service like Carbonite, iDrive, or BackBlaze.
SMU-owned machines can be protected using CrashPlan Pro. New SMU computers have CrashPlan set up on delivery, but if your current SMU computer is not backed up you can install the software using the LANDesk portal.
The new year is also an excellent time to clean up and back up your SMU e-mail. Outlook offers several options to organize your mailbox and archive old e-mails. If your mailbox is low on space, archive or delete any messages with large attachments. Remember, freed-up space in your mailbox is not made available until you empty the deleted items folder! You may also want to take some time to create some e-mail routing rules or Quick Steps to keep your messages organized in the future.