When it comes to computers, there is a common misconception that devices start to slow down from essentially the moment that you turn them on for the first time. While it’s true that today’s technology may not be quite so "state-of-the-art" even as soon as six months from now, that doesn’t mean that everything you buy will need to be put out to pasture quite so quickly.
In fact, there are a number of basic steps that you can take to keep your computers running totally efficiently – so long as you’re proactive about the process, that is.
Regular Computer Maintenance: Breaking Things Down
By far, one of the most important regular maintenance steps that you can take to keep your computer running perfectly involves downloading updates whenever you’re able to do so.
Note that this includes updates to both the operating system and to any critical apps that you’re using. On a MacOS computer, you can find operating system updates by going to the "System Preferences" screen and selecting the "Software Updates" button. On a Windows machine, you can find the same option by opening the "Control Panel."
In addition to offering important security fixes, operating system software updates often include crucial changes to the code that help your machine grow more efficient over time. This is why, even though they’re admittedly a minor inconvenience, you should still make it a priority to download them.
If you’re willing to put additional money into your machine to increase its lifespan, you should definitely focus on adding more RAM. There are certain hardware-based components of a computer that you essentially have no control over, with the motherboard being the primary example. If you decided that you wanted to upgrade the motherboard, you’d essentially just be building a new computer.
But if you spend a few hundred dollars on RAM, you can easily swap it out yourself and enjoy an almost instant speed boost as a result. If your computer came with 4GB of RAM, the best thing to do would be to upgrade to at least 8GB. If you’re willing to go to 16GB, that’s even better – the machine will feel as good as new and you won’t have to think about an upgrade for years to come.
Keep in mind, however, that you’ll need to make sure you’re buying RAM that is comparable with the machine you have. Determine the model number of your computer and check online for which types of RAM are compatible.
Finally, if your computer has a traditional hard disk drive, you could always upgrade to a flash-based solid state drive for an instant performance boost. It will make even the most resource-heavy apps feel faster. Just be sure to back up the contents of your old hard drive before you make the change to help guarantee that you won’t lose any critical data in the process.