So I have a tiny little Lenovo Yoga I use for all my writing. It’s kind of beaten-up, as I’m fairly clumsy and good at dropping things. It actually has tape covering some broken glass in the corner (I added a protective hard cover after I did that, lol). And my husband says it’s a computer for ants. But it works beautifully for my needs. It’s small and light so I can carry it around anywhere easily; this is particularly important because of my chronic neck pain issues.
I’m not great at remembering to maintain my laptop or backup my files (with ADHD, remembering any regular but not daily activities can be pretty hard for me!), but as a writer, I’ve REALLY got to get better about that. I keep my works in progress on my computer and it would be devastating if I lost all my work due to a computer crash. It also can be really frustrating when my computer is lagging during my precious writing time. So I took some time this morning to fix it up a bit.
Cleaning Up the Computer
Since I have a Windows computer, I first launched Disk Cleanup and ran it to get rid of a lot of unnecessary files. This app offers numerous suggestions for what extraneous files to delete. This includes temporary files, things in the recycle bin, etc. I managed to get rid of several gigabites of excess files on my computer this morning! (I took this snip after I’d already run it). This should help my computer run quicker and more smoothly.
There are a LOT of computer cleaning apps and software out there, but my Google research indicates that they just aren’t necessary. As How To Geek says:
PC cleaning apps are digital snake oil. The web is full of ads for applications that want to “clean your PC” and “make it feel like new.” Don’t pull out your credit card — these apps are terrible and you don’t need them.
If you do want to “clean your PC,” you can do it for free. Windows includes built-in PC cleaning tools that can do almost all of what the average PC cleaning app will do for you.
That full article explains a lot about what Disk Cleanup actually does and why it’s just as good as add on softwares. It’s a good read if you’re interested in learning more.
I also went through and manually deleted several Chrome extensions I don’t use. While I was at it, I also reorganized the extensions I DO use to make sure they’re most visible, like my Pinterest button (which I use to post links to this blog) and the Honey button (which shows me when there are coupons to go with whatever website I’m on). There are some fun extensions I use that just don’t need to be visible all the time, like the one that turns all pictures of Trump into pictures of kittens (Make America Kittens Again). That’s great, but it works whether or not it’s showing up in the corner of my browser.
I also fixed up my bookmarks and organized them. This isn’t necessary for the computer to run well, but it makes the browser a lot nicer looking and also makes it much easier for me to find resources!
I have a tendency to have a ton of Chrome tabs open all the time, but that really does waste memory and results in some major lagging. As How to Geek says in yet another super useful article:
In Chrome, each tab opens in its own process on your PC. This is a good thing, because it keeps those tabs isolated from one another. A crash in one tab is not likely to bring down your whole browser. But, of course, each open tab uses up some resources, and when you have a lot of tabs open at once, it can slow things down.
The easiest way to fix this is just to close Chrome regularly and don’t keep 30 tabs open on your computer at once. That article also offers a few extensions that can fix this problem without closing the browser.
Backing Up the Computer
This is a simple but really important step! I’ve had a computer crash twice before without a backup and it really sucked. The first time was in 2009, and the computer had ALL my photos on it from my study abroad trip to Europe, so I ended up paying a recovery company way too much money to get my files off the hard drive. The second time was a few years ago when I got some ransomware via email. That time I just restored my computer completely and lost my files; I really didn’t want to pay someone $1,000 to get my own data back. Be wary of opening links in emails, friends, even if they come from your dad!
IDrive is running a deal currently where you pay $6.95 for a year of backups. I can set it up to automatically back up both my laptop and my phone as often as I like. I’ve personally got it running twice a week, but if you are really paranoid about your computer crashing, daily might be a better idea.