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10/12/2010
Getting Technical- speed up your computer

IT Technical courses are for the people who want to be able to fix computer problems, install systems and generally look techie and impressive.
The starting point for the IT Technical profession is A+. This is quite a low-cost course for what it involves. People who do it generally get jobs manning IT Help Desks or Hotlines and then progress, with further training, to even more technical jobs.
But we are getting a growing number of people doing it for their own use, so they can fix their own computers and those of family and friends. Being able to fix people’s computers makes you quite popular!
Here are few tips on keeping your computer running more quickly and smoothly, taken from some students who are doing A+:

  • Updates – programs generally ask you to update them when you are in the middle of something, they can be quite annoying! But updates are essential. Programs are updated for various reasons but always good ones – improved security, faster running, better integration with other programs, etc. The most important ones that you need to do regularly are your Operating System (Windows, Linux, Mac, etc.) and browser (IE, Firefox, Safari, etc.). These are the ones that take the most time to download, usually. It is worth starting them off just before you go to lunch or start something non-computer related. You can turn off automatic updates so they don’t interrupt you in future, but it is worth remembering to check for updates about once a week so you can run them at your convenience.

TIP: To disable automatic updates, go the TOOLS menu on your browser. Tools > Options in Firefox; Safari > Preferences in Safari; Tools > Internet Options in IE.

  • Cleanups – Macs don’t need this but PCs REALLY do. Run Disc Cleanup once a week, followed by Disc Defragmenter.

Disc Cleanup does exactly what it says, it cleans out stuff, including: temporary files (which can take up a lot of room on your computer), recycle bin, compresses old files, etc. If you haven’t done it for a while (or ever!) it will take a few minutes, so start it running before heading off for a break.
When that’s done it’s time for a de-frag. When a computer is running, it’s hard drive spins and every time you save, the information is saved on the part of the disc that happens to be passing at that time. So various parts of one Word document could be saved in 20 different places on your hard drive. Defragmenting brings these all together, so speeds everything up because when it looks for that file it only has to look in one place, rather than pull in the information from all over the place. De-frag will take quite a while if you have been overlooking it! This is a before lunch one.

  • TIP: You can find both in: Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools.

If you right click on them (one at a time) you can choose PIN TO START MENU, so you don’t have to go hunting for them next time.
 


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