July 8, 2008

PCs for Dummies Author Releases Top Ten Tips to Extend PC Life

Now more than ever, consumers are trying to make their dollar go further. The generally accepted practice of replacing PCs every 2-3 years is no longer the norm. Avoiding viruses, spyware and popups are one of many ways consumers can extend the life of their PC into a fourth, fifth and even a sixth year.

PCLive.com, a provider of instant online computer support services for consumers, has released its top ten practical tips users can employ now to extend the life of their PC. The list was provided by Dan Gookin, author of the PCs for Dummies book series. Gookin regularly posts tips and topics surrounding consumers' common, everyday PC hassles on PCLive's blog For PC's Sake. Gookin's top ten list features the following tips:

1) Clean out the case - Especially when you have pets, you may find lots of non-electronic things dwelling inside your PC's console. Clean it out; all that fuzz and dust helps trap heat, especially when it clogs the PC's fan and air vents. But do take care: unplug your PC before opening the case. Then use a vacuum or can of air to blast away years of crud.

2) Clean up the digital detritus - As with cleaning out the inside of the computer case, you'll want to clean up the digital leftovers on your computer's hard drive. The Disk Cleanup tool that comes with Windows is ideal for this. For your own stuff, you should go through the things you've saved to disk and ensure that there aren't things lurking there taking up space that you no longer need. If so, delete 'em!

3) Add more memory -Your computer must think that it's Christmas when you add more memory to the system. Unless the PC is already packed with RAM, buy more. Heck, if it's packed with RAM, remove it and add RAM to the maximum capacity. Your computer will love it. You will love it.

4) Backup your files - As computers age, the hard drive goes. The hard drive is where you store all your stuff, and that stuff should be precious to you. To help keep that information around, run a backup program on a regular basis. That second, just-in-case copy, of your stuff will come in handy some day.

5) Add a second hard drive - The hard drive in your old PC will die someday. Before then, add a second hard drive. For example, you can add an external hard drive and use it for backup. Or add an internal hard drive and start saving your stuff there for the big, sad day when the original hard drive bites the digital dust.

6) Get a new mouse, keyboard, or both! - Like the hard drive, your PC's keyboard and mouse are mechanical things. They will suffer from wear and tear someday. Before then, do yourself a favor and buy replacements. A new mouse can add some happy zip to your computing day. A new keyboard, well, you can see the key tops again.

7) Perform regular maintenance -The computer does have the ability to fix many of its own problems, but you must be an active participant. Regularly run disk utilities on the drive: defragment the drive to help improve speed and performance. Run a disk- checking utility to ensure that information can reliably be accessed on the disk.

8) Upgrade the optical drive - Rather than live in the 20th Century with a plain CD-ROM drive, get yourself a DVD drive, or a recordable drive. Replacement optical drives are inexpensive and easy to install yourself. They also come with the software necessary to use the new drive, even if Windows lacks those features.

9) Upgrade the video adapter - Video technology has come a long way since you bought your PC. A new video adapter, packed with abundant video RAM and a high-speed graphics processor, can make your PC look brand new. Well, on the screen at least. (Do ensure that you get an adapter that can plug into your old computer.)

10) Buy a UPS - Your computer relies on power to keep it going. With an Uninterruptable Power Supply, you can ensure that the power is not only always there, but conditioned as well. The UPS will help keep your PC's aging bones from breaking during a snap outage.

Beyond these practical tips, consumers can also contact www.PCLive.com to instantly solve more complex user problems. PCLive.com offers a free PC Diagnostic and PC Health Report in the Resource Center to help you determine overall PC health and identify areas of potential risk. In addition, for $69.95 per incident, PCLive.com technicians will take over a user's computer (with the user's permission) and instantly solve problems that can harm a computer's performance.

About PCLive

PCLive.com offers 24-hour live computer support to help you, your family and your business enjoy the use of computers without having to become computer experts. For just $69.95 per session, PCLive.com remotely solves a wide range of computer problems from removing spyware, adware or other malicious software to fixing problems with your Internet browser--all with one click or call. With www.PCLive.com , you don't have to choose from a complicated menu of services or even leave the comfort of home. Simply click on Fix It Now to chat instantly or call 888-PCLive-Now (888-725-4836) and a highly trained computer support specialist will work with you to immediately solve your computer problem. PCLive is owned and operated by SecurityCoverage, Inc., a privately-owned managed security and support services provider in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.