Caring for Your Computer

1217CleanComputerOur computers have become a huge part of our lives; we depend on them to do our jobs, manage our money, stay in touch with friends and family, and even to entertain us. Most of us never truly realize how vital they are to our daily lives until we have to go a period of time without them. That's why it's so important to take care of your computer and perform regular maintenance.

Here are 10 tips to keep your computer running efficiently:

Get virus protection. A computer virus can come from any file you download — even those sent from people you know. The smartest way to protect your computer is to purchase and run antivirus software.

Keep food and drink away from your computer. While it may be convenient to bring your laptop to the dinner table, it's not prudent. Crumbs from food can fall into the keyboard, and liquids spilled can cause permanent electrical and other costly damage.

Clean your computer. Dust can get into your computer and slow down its performance. So, be sure to regularly dust and clean your computer using approved computer cleaning products.

Make sure your computer has proper ventilation. Don't push it up against a wall or set it near other items that will impede ventilation.

Watch the temperature. Don't expose your desktop or laptop computer to extreme hot or cold temperatures.

Protect your laptop when carrying it. Use a protective laptop case and padded backpacks and carrying cases when transporting your computer.

Remove old files. Just as you declutter your home, it's important to declutter your computer by removing old files and programs you do not use or need.

Protect your battery. Laptop batteries have limited lives. One way to preserve the life of your battery is to unplug it after it is fully charged.

Be careful when plugging in and removing external devices. Never force them into slots, and be sure to eject them properly.

Back up. Make sure you regularly back up your computer data to ensure you have access to your information in the event something should happen to your computer.

Take these steps today to keep your computer — and your life — running properly.