With the ever-increasing advancements in computing technology, computers have become quintessential in our personal lives. The COVID19 pandemic has deemed “work from home” to be the new norm. With workplaces shut down, the need for personal computers and demand for hardware is at an all-time high.
Whether you are building a brand-new gaming rig or you make a living out of editing videos, coding, or rendering, computer hardware is after all expensive, even more so due to supply shortages. Therefore, proper maintenance is necessary to ensure a smooth user experience and to prolong hardware lifespan.
Maintenance involves hardware as well as software. While enthusiasts and advanced users may tinker and service their own hardware it might be a daunting task for novice or regular users. Therefore, maintaining the software side of things is a more realistic approach. A simple task such as installing a decent free antivirus software goes a long way in making your computer function better and your computing experience safer. The better functionality bit might invite questions, but it must be added that it is a by-product of better security—as viruses could hurt the speed of your system too.
Now, without further ago, let us discuss all the crucial ways that could make your computer function better if you are a Windows user.
- Turning on Windows Updates – Extremely important and often blatantly ignored, keeping your Windows updated is the easiest and most effective way to keep your system functioning optimally.
- It is recommended that you update Windows first after a fresh install on a new system before installing the various drivers. Each driver requires a certain version of Windows to function with all features enabled.
- Updates add security patches that address vulnerabilities in installed software that cybercriminals may exploit to gain unauthorized access to your device and manipulate or steal your data.
- Updates make your operating system more compatible to newer hardware and new features to existing software.
- They optimize bugs in the system and preinstalled software, making your operating system more stable, which reduces the probability of a system crash and loss of data.
- Installing an Antivirus Software – While not as deadly as COVID, computer viruses have plagued users for years. From slowing down your computer to deleting or manipulating your files, viruses can cause a large spectrum of issues. They can infect your system via system vulnerabilities or as more often is the case – Due to the users’ fault. Actions such as visiting dodgy websites, accessing unsafe emails, or using a USB flash drive that has not been scanned for viruses are a few examples.
Cybercriminals innovate newer methods to disguise malicious programs as harmless ones which increase the risk of viruses infecting our systems. It is often difficult for a normal user to predict the true nature of such websites, emails, or programs. Microsoft defender was introduced in Windows systems as a free program to combat this issue. But considering its basic nature and limited features it is best suited for more experienced users.
A dedicated Anti-Virus Software on the other hand provides a multitude of features to make sure that your system remains safe under all circumstances. They prevent you or your kids from visiting unsafe websites, filter spam mail, double-check potential system vulnerabilities that may have been overlooked and help create a safe environment for secure online financial transactions. Additionally, features like VPN, security from unsafe Wi-Fi and other system utilities may be provided.
Various grades of security software are available so choose the one which best caters to all your needs. Bitdefender is a veteran in this field and does fall in the category for ‘best antivirus for Windows’. They regularly update virus signatures which ensure that you are well armed in this never-ending battle between cybercriminals and programmers trying to protect you from the same. There are plenty of other popular anti-virus providers too that might suit your requirements better. It is always a sensible approach to do a little bit of research before finalizing.
- Get rid of unwanted files – Your operating system runs of your storage drive. A minimum amount of free space is required for your system to function optimally. There are ways which may cause your storage to clutter:
- All files when deleted normally usually end up in your Recycle Bin. The Recycle Bin however stores your deleted content for a specific amount of time before eventually removing it from your system permanently. However, the contents continue to hog your storage until that happens. So, it is recommended that you empty your recycle bin from time to time. Conversely, if you are absolutely convinced that a file is of no use to you from the get-go, you may choose to delete it permanently by selecting your file and pressing Shift+delete on your keyboard.
- Unwanted files are also generated with normal use. As you browse the internet, temporary internet files and cache files accumulate. Temporary files from other older programs, system error logs, and registry keys also remain. These can be removed using the Windows Disk Clean-up tool.
- Disk Defragmentation – Files are stored on your storage device in little pieces. Fragmentation refers to these pieces being scattered across your hard drive. This slows down your system as your hard disk needs to search for the scattered pieces as you try to access the file. Windows Disk Defragmenter reorganizes all relevant pieces together making your drive run more efficiently.
- Backing up of data and creation of a system restore point – Always backup important data whenever possible. This saves you a lot of hassle if your system fails or in case of a malware attack.
A system restore point is created by Windows as it senses major changes in the Operating System. In cases of severe system instability, it is possible to revert back to a previous stable state prior to the changes being introduced. You can create restore points to your liking.
There you go! 5 simple yet effective ways to make your computing experience safer, faster and more hassle free which every Windows user should be able to implement.