- Spring cleaning doesn’t just mean getting rid of all of your old clutter and getting your home ready for summer. It also means getting the office ready for the start of Q2. So make sure you add your computer to your spring cleaning to-do list and make sure you set aside a solid hour or two for it because you need to do more than just clean out the caches.
Why should you physically clean out your computers?
Computers are gross, and there’s no way around that. We use our keyboards from morning to evening, in between meals and while drinking coffee, and sometimes other people might type in a key or two. That means mice, touchpads, and keyboards are coated with germs, dirt, and food particles. Even the parts we don’t touch, like inside desktop computer units, get coated with dust and sometimes a bit of rust. So make time this month to:
Clean the inside of your unit.
Tablets, phones, and laptops are tricky to get into, and doing so might even invalidate your warranty. So save this step for desktop computers and servers. The first step, after unplugging the devices and giving them time to cool down, is to get rid of the dust. But the inner workings are fragile so the force and static of a vacuum might be too much for them unless you have a special electronics vacuum. Instead, just use a can of air to loosen the grime and blow it out of the unit.
Once the inside is clean, make sure the vents are also clear. These attract a lot of dust, especially near the fans. Wet a paper towel and clean the vents inside and out to get rid of the obstructions. If your unit gets too dusty or it can’t expel the heat the computer generates, the system will be overworked and eventually malfunction.
Clean the keyboard.
Luckily, modern keyboard design is making this a lot easier. Instead of having the deep keys above a hollow receptacle that somehow perfectly catches crumbs, spills, and debris, newer models have a higher surface that’s far more accessible. Unplug the keyboard and wipe the surface down. If you want to be adventurous and you have an older keyboard, you can flip it upside down unscrew the back and really clean it out without damaging the keys.
How can you clean up your software?
Computer software and systems need to be cleaned just like everything else. While your office may have a cleaning service or your small business might not have any designated office area at all, going through your software is the most important spring cleaning you can do.
When people think about cleaning computers, they might think about dust or all of the particles that get trapped in the cracks of a keyboard. While cleaning the hardware is good for your health and peace of mind, the software may be more important.
Get rid of the programs your company isn’t using anymore.
If you installed Skype, instant messengers, or other programs that are handled through your SaaS or better applications, uninstall them. Not only are they taking up valuable space on the hard drives, they could be making your network vulnerable. The programs nobody uses can still hook up to the Internet and aren’t as regularly updated, so hackers can find their way in when newer patches aren’t in place.
Clean out your caches.
The Internet browsers you and your employees use collect cookies. These can be convenient for your personal devices if they remember your passwords or hold your place, but those same actions can endanger your business’s cybersecurity. You should regularly delete your cookies and caches so your passwords have better protection and data aggregators can’t put your business on an easy hit list.
Delete local files.
You should always back up everything. Lost files can mean hours of redoing work or lost sales. But make sure your files are saved in the cloud or on a server instead of scattered across individual devices. Not only can those files be corrupted or lost by damaged systems, they’re easy targets.