Tune-up Your E-Learning Workstation for the New Year

It’s a new year, and that means time for resolutions! For most of us that means self-improvement – exercise, diet, goal setting, home improvement, organization (see Desiree’s recent post on organizing to save time), and more. But what about your computer? In the past year has it gotten sluggish, slower to open certain programs, exhibiting more nagging errors, and generally not up to par? Then it’s time for a tune-up – that means doing some basic maintenance on your PC to get it back to its old cheerful, zippy self. This is a particularly important task for those of us in the e-learning field. Our computer resources are taxed more heavily than a traditional office computer due to the authoring and multi-media tools we use.

Here are three approaches to PC tune-up in the new year.

1. Commercial maintenance software

There are a variety of commercial software programs available for computer tune-up that combine a broad set of maintenance utilities in one package. This can include repairing hard drive fragmentation, fixing Windows registry errors, deleting duplicate or unnecessary files, removing or updating software, and much more. Once installed, most of these programs have a “one button” option to run all the core utilities and clean-up and optimize your computer. You also have the option of running only individual utilities when you want. Many can also be scheduled to run at regular intervals so you don’t have to worry about remembering to do it. Imagine that – a “set it and forget it” New Year’s resolution! There are many good applications available, but I’m a fan of Iolo’s System Mechanic.

2. Freeware maintenance software

The tune-up category of PC software includes free tools as well. Many of these applications function as well as their paid counterparts. However, they may have a more limited feature set than some commercial options. When comparing commercial and freeware tune-up suites, be sure to focus on the types of maintenance utilities you are most interested in. A freeware utility might be missing a tool to optimize your solid-state drive, but if that’s not important to you then it’s no loss. Be sure to check the license agreement carefully for a freeware product, especially if it is for business use so you can be sure you are in compliance. CCleaner is a popular and effective program in this category. SlimCleaner is also a good choice; it’s a newer option and includes an intriguing community-based function that aggregates data from its user base to recommend optimal settings for your PC.

3. Do-ityourself approach

Perhaps you’re the type that prefers to exercise more control over the PC tune-up process as opposed to a “one stop” software solution. If that’s the case, there are many individual applications out there to tackle specific computer tune-up tasks like registry cleaning and disk optimization. In addition, Microsoft still includes a System Maintenance tool in Windows to perform basic tasks.

Of course you could just buy yourself a new computer for the new year, but as with your car, sometimes regular maintenance can eliminate the need for replacement. So don’t forget your computer when making those New Year’s resolutions!

What PC maintenance tools and best practices do you recommend?

Rod Jackson

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