Young Academic Student Advice: Keep your computers clean!

Some priceless advice from Young Academic as exam, dissertation and coursework season starts to gather pace. With more and more data being stored on students’ computers these days, the need for effective machines and software has become all the more imperative. Make sure you read this feature from editor Charles Whitworth and computer experts PC Tools on how best to keep your machine clean and healthy…

One of my first memories of University was in my first year at Chester. I had stayed in all night while my friends were out paiting the town red and written this superb (of course!) essay on Rupert Murdoch’s war on journalism – don’t get me started! I went to bed feeling thoroughly impressed with myself and woke up with a spring in my step ready to submit what i was sure to be a first of an essay.

Disaster then struck, as whilst i was sleeping my cheapo and badly installed system had gone to sleep in the night and destroyed all my work. I was sure i had saved it but there was nothing left in the word document other than the title and a rubbish essay plan. Whether i had or hadn’t was academic – the work was gone and i had an hour to re-write a 1,500 word essay. I did so and got a fairly decent mark but the work was inevitably of a far inferior standard to the original. I was gutted – but learnt a valuable lesson. Keep your machine clean and healthy to ensure your computer doesn’t develop a mind of its own!

With exams now underway across British schools, colleges and Universities and essays being written left, right and centre – there are lots of important documents on computers. Now is a great time for students to start the New Year the right way and back up their documents, clear out their computer clutter and minimise the risk of losing everything- something that many of us have first-hand experience of as i just explained.  To celebrate National Clean Up Your Computer Month, PC Tools has put together some great top tips to help students get started in this process.

January, the beginning of another year, but to most people it also marks a time to clear out the old junk and prepare to start anew. Everyone makes resolutions to become healthier, exercise more and eat properly, but PC Tools is urging people go an extra step in their digital lives – and clean up their hard drives in celebration of National Clean Up Your Computer month.

Almost 80% of Brits were frustrated with their PCs in 2010 according to a recent YouGov survey[1]. With top frustrations including programs running slowly (44%) and slow start-up speeds (40%), PC Tools has provided five simple ways to speed up your computers and get them ready for the digital year ahead.

  1. Back up your digital memories

Photos of your baby’s first Christmas or New Year’s Eve festivities are irreplaceable, with Brits finding them to be more valuable than their music collections or work. One of the most reliable methods of helping to protect and preserve valuable digital memories is to back up on a portable hard drive.

  1. Keep your internet security up-to-date

Update your virus protection and run a full system scan. Cleaning your PC of any malware, Trojans and spyware will help your PC perform better and help protect you from identity theft..

  1. Delete Unused Applications/Files

Once you’ve taken care of these maintenance basics, you can really start cleaning. Delete duplicate files and remove programs that haven’t been used for a year. Not only will you benefit from more hard drive space and a less cluttered start menu, but your computer will run faster too.

  1. Defragment your hard drive

Don’t be shocked, but your computer can get sloppy. Through daily use of your PC, your computer is constantly trying to access files and data in multiple parts of your hard disk. Each time files are updated and increase in size, your computer saves the additional data on the next area of free space that’s available and sufficiently large to store that data. This free space is often found far away from other sectors of the file, resulting in a fragmented filesystem and slowing down your system. An occasional defrag of your system will let those segments find each other again and speed up your PC.

  1. Clean your registry

Practically everything you do in Windows is recorded somewhere in the Registry and rarely deleted, leaving a system that may be susceptible to crashes, poor performance and errors. Investing in a PC performance product which includes a registry cleaner will leave you with a faster computer and may also provide you with improved privacy and other benefits.

“Computers are a bit like cars: in order to maintain optimum performance, they need regular servicing. Following a few simple steps at the start of the year and some regular light maintenance will not only make it faster but minimize user frustrations throughout the year,” said Richard Clooke, Worldwide Review Program Manager at PC Tools. “Our solutions are used by millions of customers to help them enjoy their digital lifestyles to the full, for both protection and performance, and by automating these steps we don’t add to users’ frustrations.”

PC Tools offers protection, performance and backup tools to help alleviate user concerns and frustrations with their digital lives. PC Tools Simple Backup is a new tool that safeguards your memories and provides a “set-and-forget” solution to help store and keep your data secure—from pictures and videos to valuable personal documents. PC Tools Performance Toolkit automates regular maintenance processes to keep PCs running in tip-top shape, while PC Tools Spyware Doctor with AntiVirus and Internet Security offer award-winning security that uses multi-layered protection to stop threats at every entry point.

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