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Tech tips

7 pro tips to speed up your old computer

There’s nothing better than getting more for your money — especially when it comes to tech. And with the rapid evolution of technology and marketing practices, it’s easy to believe newer is always better.

While many fall for this notion and shell out cash for the newest devices, some remain steadfast and invest a bit of time and effort, along with a few bucks (if needed), into their existing equipment. Got some antiquated gadgets? Tap or click to see what old tech in your house right now is worth big bucks.

If you have an older desktop, save a few hundred dollars and just fix it up like new. Here are seven tips to maintain your computer, starting with cleaning it up.

1. Pay attention

Just as your appearance is a reflection of your health, the same is true of your computer. If your screen, keyboard and ports are dusty and coated with fingerprints or debris, chances are your system isn’t in great shape.

When tidying up hardware, it is essential to use proper computer cleaning products to protect your equipment from damage.

For the cleanup of your screen or camera lens, turn to Windex Electronics Wipes. The anti-static cloths safely remove dust, smudges and fingerprints from a host of electronics — including computer screens, TVs and mobile devices.

The quickest and safest way to remove dust and other debris is a can of pressurized spray, such as Dust Off. A few quick blasts of air and your keyboard is clean and ready to use. Follow can instructions for maximum safety and never shake it before use.

A pressurized can of air is also a useful tool to help clean out dirt and debris from the ports on your desktop. It is important to note that when you use a can of pressurized air, use the straw attachment as directed and always follow the instructions.

2. Clear the clutter

The first thing you notice about a computer after its hardware is the desktop. Is yours filled with a countless number of thumbnails? While this makes it convenient to locate files, it can result in a mountain of clutter if you don’t practice some organization skills.

If you have several files and programs you rarely or never use on your desktop, delete them. Simply right-click on the application or file and select Delete. This will not delete the program from your computer, but it will remove the shortcut from your desktop.

Now it’s time to organize the icons. Don’t waste time dragging icons around your screen. Right-click the screen (not an icon) and select Name, Size, File or Date modified under the Sort by option. For Mac users, check out Apple’s how-to guide. Now you can arrange your icons into neat rows.

3. Leave no crumbs behind

Cache and cookies, which track your internet activity, are temporary files your system creates every time you visit a website, regardless of which browser you use. Routinely cleaning up these files will help ensure your system runs efficiently and is protected.

Here’s a quick tutorial on how to clear these bits of information:

4. Out with the old

It’s easy to clog up your computer with files. Old downloads, numerous documents and thousands of photos can significantly slow down your system. Keeping your files tidy is the key. Go through those documents and photos, and delete everything you don’t need.

If you have a bunch of unused files to delete from your Windows PC, CCleaner is an award-winning tool that can quickly clean up those extras. CCleaner is available in two versions: Free and Professional ($19.95), which has a free trial.

If your system is a Mac, the easy drag and drop program Files Shredder ($19.99) will not only delete files from your system, but it will remove them permanently to make them unrecoverable.

5. Check all the nooks and crannies

In addition to maintaining your files and folders, it is crucial you perform a yearly cleanup. For Windows users, Microsoft’s Total PC Cleaner (free) can clear up disk space, plus clean and optimize the system and memory. This tool will delete junk files, speed up your PC and boost its performance.

A CleanMyMac X subscription ($34.95/yr.) is a deep-cleaning tool that scrubs your Mac system squeaky clean. The software can uninstall unwanted apps, free up gigabytes of space and speed up your Apple desktop.

6. Keep it healthy

To maintain your computer’s health, you need to ensure it is free of viruses and malware by performing routine scans. That’s why it’s critical to have an antivirus program on your device that you can trust.

7. Stay up with the times

Last, but certainly not least, you must update both software and firmware regularly. If you neglect to keep your PC up to date with security patches, you run the risk of cyberattacks, which could prove fatal to your computer.

Don’t leave your system vulnerable. When you receive a notification there is an update for your computer, click “Update.”

Want to check for updates? Here’s how:

For Windows 10, click the Windows icon in the lower-left corner of your desktop and tap on the Settings gear. Select Update & Security, then choose the available patch or update.

But when it comes to browsers, those who use Chrome should be careful. Tap or click to learn how a new Google Chrome update could wipe out your data.

Mac users open the App Store app and tap Updates (left sidebar). Choose an update to download, and you’re done.

Avoid the need to rush out and buy a computer every time a new one hits the shelf. Extend the life of your current system with this collection of tricks and get more bang for your buck.

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