Begin 2013 with efficient and effective technology

by Hopeton Smalling

As 2012 draws to a close it’s a great time to make decisions on what technology needs to be replaced, tweaked or eliminated. In my office I feature many computers specified for a variety of functions. As a technologist my philosophy is to adopt new hardware or software only when the old technology fails to efficiently and effectively serve its purpose.  To this end, I’ve decided monthly to evaluate my technology needs and improve my hardware and software as needed. Specifically, my core technology includes an Iphone, mini windows laptop, Ipad and Windows laptop which all serve a variety of purposes. I have tasked my mini laptop to run 24/7 in support of running a application that I use to monitor and support my MT4 robots. Additionally, the Iphone is the most “smart” phone on the market and provides ubiquity to allow me mobile access to my data. I use my Ipad in support of my research with specialized applications such as EBSCOhost, kindle, pages, kobo, ibooks, notes and WebEx. My windows laptop is loaded with tons of specialized applications that allow me to perform high powered functions such as application, and web development when needed.

When technology needs to be maintained it’s common for these devices to slow down or fail to perform. Should one discard hardware when it fails to perform? I argue that there are key tweaks for all your devices that should be performed before an investment in new hardware is considered. The following are my New Year recommendations to enhance the performance of your windows laptop/desktops.

Unfortunately, I’ve seen more maintenance required on windows computers than other platforms. There are a few common solutions to everyday performance problems faced. Many common problems include: virus and spyware infections, low disk space, and low memory available.

You should always run anti-virus software to assure protection in a windows environment. I recommend AVG for personal use and believe this is one of the most comprehensive protections at no cost on the market. If you are already infected and need to clean your machine I would recommend Malware bytes to begin your search for this infection on your machine. After you run this application then I recommend running AVG until your machine finds no infections. Contact me if you require more detailed assistance or recommendations.

Low disk space is a common problem on any device including phones, tablets, laptops and desktops. You should know how much space you have available and then determine your next course of action. Specifically, if you are using a smartphone and tablets and have less than 200mb available you may need to delete some content to assure your device will continue to perform properly.  On laptops and desktops you should not have less than 1GB of space on your disk or you will begin to see dramatic drops in performance.  It’s possible to reclaim space on your hard drive or add space as needed. A cheap and inexpensive method is to buy a thumb drive and insert into your high speed usb port. This holiday season you can finds sales that would allow you to pick up a thumb drive/hard drive to increase the storage available for your machine. Additionally, you should know that there are many ways to reclaim space on your computer that is lost due to application temp storage. There are many applications that will save temp files, cache or other files that can be relocated to help you reclaim need hard drive space. Your main hard drive should always be protected and needs free space to perform efficiently. (Commonly labeled as the C: drive) google desktop is one of those applications and can save gigabytes of files. (To check this application goto C:\Documents and Settings\USERNAME\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Google Desktop Search) You will need to go to this location and right click and select properties to inspect this folders size.

Low memory warnings can also be connected to low available free disk space because of something called virtual memory. However, if you are running any version of windows with lower than 2GB of memory then you should consider a physical upgrade and add more memory or upgrading your device. This recommendation is very general and would need to be increased if you are using your device to run applications that have higher memory requirements.

I wish everyone a happy holiday; contact me if you require more detailed assistance or recommendations.



Leave a Reply