Clean up that old computer and get it ready for the new school year.
GUEST COLUMN | by Brad Harding
It’s almost time for students, parents and teachers to prepare for the upcoming school year. While exciting, the back-to-school season can be stressful for those who have to think about the associated costs. One necessary, but expensive, learning tool in today’s classroom is the computer. However, for many parents and schools, buying new computers seems out of the question, no matter how valuable they are for learning.
There are many schools and parents who have an old desktop or laptop computer they have given up on.
There are many schools and parents who have an old desktop or laptop computer they have given up on. Thinking it is too slow or old is no longer an excuse; older technology could still be salvageable. Fortunately, there are many tips individuals can use to recycle old computers, alleviating financial stress. With these five simple techniques, anyone can clean up old computers and get them ready for the school year, without breaking the bank:
Upgrade Computer Memory
One of the quickest and least expensive ways to drastically increase the speed of your computer and extend its life, is to add more memory (or DRAM). Computer memory is the element in your computer that allows for short-term data access and helps load multiple applications at once. Memory upgrades start at around $50 and can be installed on your own. Upgrading your memory will add years of life back to your device and is a great value compared to buying a new computer.
Scrap Old Files
After years of use, school and home computers can collect a number of unused programs, apps and downloads. Deleting unnecessary files that have been stored is an easy and simple way to free up memory and improve overall performance. Delete large files by searching “size:gigantic” in Windows to display all files larger than 128MB, and zap temporary files with programs like CCleaner.
Clear Search History
When visiting some websites, temporary Internet files and cookies are stored on your computer. These stored files are meant to help you access information faster, but can hoard valuable computer disk space. This will slow down your whole hard drive. Clear the computer’s Internet cache and browsing history to make space for larger files and to help it run faster.
Set Up Parental Controls
While it’s a good idea to establish parental controls to protect students from predators and dangerous content on the Internet, they can also help computers run faster. Administrators can set parameters around how long students can spend on the computer, which games or websites they can visit, and which specific programs they can access. Parental controls prevent students from downloading unnecessary files that have dangerous viruses that can compromise the security of your data.
Protect from Viruses
While most students need the Internet to do their school work, it’s crawling with viruses, adware and other malware. In just one click, students can stumble upon adware that can compromise your computer and data. Using an ad blocker can help prevent these dangerous advertisements from infiltrating the computer’s software. Administrators should also install anti-virus software and regularly update the software to protect from these threats.
Following these quick and simple tips to upgrade old computers will get them working like new for students and staff members. Going back to school should be an exciting time, not stressful. These steps will not only prolong the life of any computer, but will also mitigate back-to-school financial stress.
Brad Harding is tech guru in residence at Crucial, a global brand of Micron Technology, Inc., one of the largest memory and flash storage manufacturers in the world. Find him through Twitter @CrucialMemory