Some practical advice from our friends at Small Dog Electronics
“My computer is running slow!!” How many times have you uttered that in front of your device? Nobody likes to see the “pinwheel of death” spinning on your desktop, making you wonder if it is ever going to stop. Before you bring your computer in for service here are some simple tips you can do at home to keep your computer at optimal performance.
Make sure you give it a good night’s rest.
The “brain” in your computer (whether it be an iPhone, iPad, or Mac) gets tired just like you do. It is always a good idea to shut down your computer before you go to sleep. This allows systems to reset, memory to re-organize, trash and temporary files to be completely removed. It is always a good idea to completely power down other electronic devices in your house including your television, VHS/DVD/Blu-Ray player, and stereo. You would not leave your car running all night? The same applies to other electronic devices in your household.
Keep your Operating System up to date.
Software updates are critical for the smooth and steady performance of your computer. Do NOT ignore them, despite what your Facebook friends tell you. A software update bug is far easier to fix than a computer running old and out dated software.
Location, location, location.
Use and store your computer in a clean, well lit, well ventilated room. Do not use it, your iPhone or your iPad in the bathroom. The mist from your steamy hot shower in the morning can potentially damage your device. Keep food and drinks as far away as possible. A liquid spill immediately voids any warranty. Don’t use Wite-Out on your screen either…;)
We love our pets, yet pet hair can get into the cooling fans and really muck up the works so to speak. (woof, meow, moo???) Cigarette smoke is not only bad for your lungs but bad for your Mac as well. Smoke of any kind whether it be from a candle, incense burner, cigar, or “other” (wink, wink) can get into every crack and crevice in your device. Even the surface you rest your device on can potentially be troublesome. Stone, marble and the like conduct heat better than you would think.
Empty the trash and delete the cache.
Or was it the other way around? Either way, it’s always a good idea to remove unwanted and unnecessary files and folders. You would be amazed at how much disk space this junk takes up.
Empty your browser. Your browser stores information about websites you go to so they load faster the next time you visit. Over time these files build and do nothing but take up space. Get rid of ‘em! In Safari: Safari > Reset Safari. You will have the option to NOT delete certain items such as saved passwords and auto-fill forms.
Click on Finder and select Applications. Scroll through the list and if you have not used it in some time, it may be time to do some spring cleaning of your programs. Click, hold and drag to the trash can. You can always download Skype again if needed.
Open iPhoto and empty the trash there as well. At this point, empty the trash can then restart your computer.
After your computer restarts, take a peek at your Login Items. They are the programs that start when you boot up your computer. Go to your System Preferences, select Users and Groups Click on the Login Items tab and uncheck programs that you do not need immediately upon start up. Remember they can always be started at a later time.
If you have a lot of media on your hard drive such as movies or songs, you may want to consider an external drive. Movie files can be especially large. A full length high-def movie can be as large as 3 GB! Move them from your hard drive to an external drive. This not only frees up space on your drive, but saves it from searching through movie and music files to get to last weekends baby shower photos. Make sure that you are backing these files up, though, as Time Machine does not back up external drives by default but can be configured to do so.