Knowing and Optimizing Your Computer

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When you know your computer, you are able to optimize its performance better. Let’s get you started on a better relationship with your computer.  

Know Your Hardware

While computers are complex and sometimes hard to understand, you should at least know what hardware is in your computer. There are quite a few different hardware components and you most likely have heard of them all before. All computer hardware is important, and without each piece, a computer wouldn’t be able to function. As far as optimizing your computer goes, you’ll want to look into the type of processor your computer has and how much RAM(memory) is installed. RAM isn’t the same as your hard drive (which is where all of your files are stored). 

Your processor is responsible for processing tasks, or doing what you want the computer to do. Your RAM is where the processor stores the items it is working on. The RAM is a temporary place where open programs will run. The hard drive is where files are stored. Some computers also have an additional video card installed, which offers better graphics quality, and the ability to have more than one monitor.

Processors have “cores”. The more cores a processor has, the more tasks it can handle at once. Processors are more complex than that, but we won’t get deeper into it here. Generally, the more RAM your computer has, the better; most new computers come with 8GB of RAM, and this is okay for general uses. If you’ll be running a lot of programs at once, or use programs that take up a lot of RAM, consider upgrading the amount of RAM in your computer. You’ll also want to make sure your hard drive has plenty of free space; if your hard drive is almost full, it can cause your computer to run slow. 

Know Your Software

All computers come with the ability to see the software that is installed. Make sure you know what programs are installed and what they do. If you aren’t sure what something is, do a search for it. Some programs are automatically installed from the factory and can be removed with no issues. There are programs that your computer needs to run, so don’t uninstall programs without knowing exactly what it is.

When installing a new program, there may be options to install additional programs (most commonly, web browser toolbars). Make sure you read through what you’re installing, and don’t install any programs you don’t need/want. 

Protect Your Computer

You’ll want to make sure your computer has a good antivirus installed. There are plenty of free and paid antivirus programs available, but make sure you do your research on it before making a commitment. There are also antimalware programs available as well. There are fake antivirus programs out there, which usually pretend they are an antivirus, but really are after your money; make sure you know what you’re installing before you install it. 

Why is this important for computer optimization? Viruses and malware are bad. Not only for the chance of it stealing your data, but because they can cause your computer to run slow, or act strangely. Some malicious programs can stop your actual programs from working right. 

Keep Your Computer Updated

One of the first steps we take with a problematic computer is to make sure it is updated. While updates can be a pain, and can sometimes cause issues, it is always best to make sure your computer is updated. This doesn’t just apply to the operating system (Windows, iOS) updates, but driver updates and software updates. Drivers are the pieces of software that tell your hardware how to run/what to do; hardware manufacturers do come out with updates for drivers often. This is also another reason why you should know what hardware is in your computer; if you know that, then you’ll be able to check with the manufacturer on if there are any updates available. Sometimes these driver updates can be included with Windows Updates. 



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