New Year’s cleaning - seven ways to start the new year right!

As we start a new year, it’s time to clear out last year’s baggage. Here are some tips on how to start the new year afresh.

1. Clean your computer desk

If you are like me, your computer desk is like a magnet for all sorts of stuff. Mugs, little pieces of note paper, receipts, books, DVDs, etc. Now is a time to clear all of the non-essentials off of your desk. You’ll be amazed at how much larger your desk will appear.

2. Clean out your bookmarks

As you browsed through the web last year, you probably marked hundreds of pages as being interesting to you. But too many bookmarks is as bad as none. Go through your bookmarks and delete ones that are no longer of use. For the others, file them into categories for future use. If you don’t have time for that, save your bookmarks in a text file and delete all of your current bookmarks. Then your browsing will be manageable again.

3. Check old email accounts and clean out your emails

Many people have more than one email account. With accounts at home, work, and school, not to mention the numerous free email servers out there, you probably have some account that you haven’t read in a while. Do you really need those invitations to last year’s Halloween bash? Save any important email addresses and messages, and delete the rest. You may even want to cancel an account or two.

4. Update your browser

When was the last time you updated your browser? Time is constantly marching on and chances are that your browser has changed significantly since your last update. If you are tired of getting snitty messages saying that your browser is out of date, updating it now will take some annoyance out of your life. In fact, while you are updating that, why don’t you just...

5. Update all of your favorite software

If you use the software often, you deserve the best version. Bug fixes are submitted all of the time, and those things that annoy you may be gone in the next version. Do yourself a favor and update your favorite word processor, graphics software, music player, and, if you are able, update your Linux version. Life is too short to suffer bugs.

6. Check and clean your hardware

Last week I found that a long term problem with my printer was caused by a cable tie that had stuck itself into the paper feeder. Take time to look over and clean your computer, printer, and other hardware. Clean the spots off of your monitor. Go buy a can of air and clean the dust out of your fans and connectors. A few minutes of work can prevent your computer from overheating and burning out. Remember, DUST HAPPENS!

Now is also the time to fix or replace anything that annoys you about your computer. A mouse that takes two clicks to register one. A chair that is uncomfortable. That CRT that you always planned on upgrading to a flatscreen. Don’t spend another year yelling at your computer. Fixing your computing area not only lowers stress, it also can reduce back pain and prevent carpal tunnel.

7. Backup your hard drive

“I was just about to do a backup!”, is a phrase always heard right after a hard drive crashes. Forget the excuses and back up your hard drive NOW. Things are harder now we have super-mega-giga sized drives, but original data can still be burned onto CD’s and DVDs, and software is available that duplicates drives and synchronizes the data. If you’ve ever heard the whine of a damaged drive or mourned for data that just wasn’t there anymore, then you know that the document lost is always the best one that you’ve ever written. Hindsight is 20-20. Make copies of important documents today.

If you take time to follow these seven simple steps then you will have easier, happier computing in the new year.


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