10 Essential Computer Maintenance Tips for Your PC (2022)
It's no secret that computers don't last forever. You can extend their lifespan to five to eight years with proper computer maintenance. Computer maintenance means keeping your PC in good condition through regular cleanings, updates, and virus prevention. Regular maintenance can defend against avoidable computer woes like:
- A glitchy operating system
- Overheating CPU
- Fast-draining battery
- Viruses and Malware
Let's look at ten vital PC maintenance tips in 2022 to keep your computer running like new for years to come.
How to clean your computer
Regularly cleaning your computer can help keep it running smoothly and prevent costly repairs. Dust and overheating are especially damaging to computers, so take steps to reduce those risks.
1) Clean your computer keyboard regularly
Research shows that your keyboard is 20,000 times dirtier than your toilet seat. So, aim for a quick wipe once weekly with a damp, lint-free cloth, but be sure not to soak it.
If your keys are hard to press or sticky, then chances are your keyboard is clogged with dust, dirt, or food crumbs. To remove dust from these surfaces, you can use compressed air to blow it away.
To clean an external keyboard:
- Disconnect your keyboard from its USB port. If it's wireless, turn it off.
- Tilt the keyboard upside down. Shake it gently to remove any loose debris.
- Spray compressed air at an angle and about 1-inch from the keys.
- Use a damp microfiber cloth to clear any dust or grime.
To clean your laptop:
- Turn your laptop off and unplug any USB or power plugs.
- Turn the laptop upside down. Gently tap the underside, so any loose debris falls out.
- Put the laptop back in its natural position. Spray compressed air from about 1-inch away between keys.
- Spray in short bursts moving from one side of the keyboard to the other.
For tough-to-clean spots, use a cotton ball dipped in isopropyl alcohol. Alcohol evaporates more quickly than water, making it perfect for hardened grime. Read our complete guide to keeping your keyboard clean.
2) Organize your cords
Dealing with long, confusing cables can be troubling, especially when they get all mixed up and tangled. Organize your cords to make them easy to find at a glance, declutter and keep them from getting tangled.
Try these wire organization tips:
- Start by grouping your cords by type. For example, gather all your USB cables, power cables, etc.
- Hide the power strip and plugs.
- Use zip ties to keep groups of cables together to help you avoid tangles and make it easier to find the cord when needed.
- Label your cords, so you know what they're for.
- Invest in a cable management system such as a cable box.
A little bit of organization can go a long way when it comes to your cables.
3) Wipe down your monitor
If your monitor is fingerprint-y, get a lint-free microfiber cloth and wipe it down once a week.
- Avoid circular motions. Wipe gently in long motions, side to side or top to bottom.
- Don't press too hard, as this can cause screen damage.
- Avoid harsh chemicals like bleach.
- For stubborn grime, use distilled water to dampen your cloth slightly.
- Use compressed air to remove dust on your screen.
Our disinfecting your PC guide will help you keep your computer clean.
4) Maximize your laptop battery life
It's not possible to overcharge a laptop battery. Leaving your computer plugged in after fully charging doesn't overcharge or damage the battery. However, if you want to optimize the battery's lifespan, it is best not to keep it constantly charging.
Lithium-ion batteries last longer if they stay between 20 and 80 percent full. So, it can be tempting to charge your laptop battery all night, but you should unplug the battery once it reaches 100%. Here are more tips to maximize your battery's life:
- Charge a new laptop computer for over 24 hours before using it.
- Unplug the notebook occasionally to let the battery drain.
- Remove the battery to extend shelf-life if you always plug in your laptop.
- Remove the battery if you won't use the notebook for a month or more.
- If the battery is in storage, run the charge down to 50%. The battery will drain in storage and can be damaged if it sits unused for too long.
- Charge the battery sometimes during lengthy storage times.
- Always follow the manufacturer's guidelines for charging your device.
5) Run antivirus and malware scans regularly
Malware and viruses can wreak havoc on your computer, causing data loss, performance issues, and even identity theft. Regular scans with a good antivirus program can help keep your computer safe from these threats.
When choosing an antivirus program, pick one that is well-reviewed and has good detection rates. Acer offers Norton Security Ultra to protect your financial and private information from cybercriminals. Microsoft Defender Antivirus is a free option built into Windows to provide real-time virus and threat prevention.
Whenever an antivirus software update is available, install the update and run it that day to remove any malware.
6) Run disk cleanup to purge your system of junk files and programs
If your computer is feeling sluggish, it might be time to run disk cleanup. This process will purge your system of junk files and programs you no longer need, freeing up valuable hard drive space and improving performance.
To purge your PC of unwanted files:
- Uninstall unnecessary software and trialware. Control Panel > Programs and Features. Right-click and choose Uninstall on the unwanted program's icon.
- Empty the recycle bin.
- Delete temporary files with Windows Disk Cleanup.
- Run disk cleanup software such as CCleaner.
- Remove browser cookies and empty the cache.
Windows disk cleanup
To remove temporary files, run Windows Disk Cleanup Tool.
- Click the taskbar's search icon, type disk cleanup, and select Disk Cleanup from the list.
- Select the drive you want to clean. Click OK.
- Under Files to delete, select the file types to delete them.
- Click OK.
After you finish disk cleanup, you will notice an immediate difference in the speed and performance of your computer. Depending on the deleted data size, the process should take 30 seconds to a few minutes.
Your system will be leaner and more efficient, and you will have more space on your hard drive. For more tips, we outline eight ways to free up your hard drive and deep clean your computer.
7) Defragment the hard drive
Is your computer running a little slower than it used to? One of the best ways to speed it up is to defrag your hard drive.
As you add and remove files, your hard drive can become fragmented, and the files spread out. When this occurs, the hard drive works harder to access the files, slowing down your computer. Defragmenting rearranges and compacts the files to speed up access.
SSD drives don't need defragmenting as older hard disks do. However, Windows Defrag Tool takes care of both drive types.
To defragment your hard disk, follow these steps:
- In the Windows taskbar search, type 'defrag,' and choose Defragment and Optimize Drives.
- Choose the drive to defragment and click Optimize.
- Set a regular defrag schedule. Select Change settings and choose daily, weekly, or monthly.
It's recommended to defrag your hard drive at least monthly.
8) Keep your PC cool
PCs are built with heat-dissipating cooling systems to regulate the device's temperature. When these systems fail, your PC can overheat, leading to performance issues, including crashes and slowdowns. So, follow these tips to ensure your PC doesn't overheat:
- Check that the fans are working correctly. Physically cleaning them will help.
- Keep your CPU cool. Make sure your computer has adequate ventilation to avoid overheating.
- Have two inches of space on either side.
- Run your laptop on a flat surface as beds or couches block the vents.
- Keep your device cool by avoiding direct sunlight and keeping it in a cool, dry place.
- Avoid using programs like games that use a lot of CPU power.
Read our full guide for further tips.
9) Update Windows OS and programs
Keep your PC up-to-date by installing all the latest software and security updates. Updating your software not only protects you against potential security threats but also helps to improve your computer's performance.
Microsoft keeps rolling out updates and security patches to improve the user experience. You can check Windows Update for available updates and install them.
- Ensure you install the latest Acer driver software.
- Firmware keeps your hardware working correctly, so keep it up-to-date.
The safest way to get driver updates in Windows is through Windows Update.
10) Backup your data
Regularly backup important files, such as personal photos, videos, and financial information, to a separate location. Crashes, glitches, and hardware failures have the potential to damage data. Backing up files is the most vital computer maintenance procedure PC users can do. If something happens to your computer, you'll be able to restore these files quickly and easily.
Here are four tips to help ensure your data is safe:
- Use a cloud backup service: iCloud and Google Drive offer an easy and convenient way to back up your data. You only need an internet connection, and your data is stored off-site.
- Use an external hard drive: External hard drives are a great way to create a backup of your data.
- Use a USB flash drive: USB flash drives are convenient and portable. You can store your files on the flash drive and take them wherever you go.
- Use a backup service: Many online backup services will allow you to store your data in the cloud. These services typically offer more storage than cloud backup services and are customized to your specific needs.
Like an automobile, your computer needs regular maintenance to run correctly. Consistent computer maintenance is essential to keep your computer running correctly, extend its lifespan and keep you safer while browsing online. You can keep your computer healthy and fast by performing a few simple tasks.
*The opinions reflected in this article are the sole opinions of the author and do not reflect any official positions or claims by Acer Inc.
About Robert Stark: Robert is a Taiwan-based writer and digital marketer at iamrobert design. He has a passion for helping people simplify their lives through tech.
Robert is a Taiwan-based writer and digital marketer at iamrobert design. He has a passion for helping people simplify their lives through tech.