New Year's Resolutions For Your Computer

Now that the year is winding down, many of us turn our thoughts to new beginnings and make new year's resolutions - those well-intentioned, often broken "firm commitments" to ourselves to lose weight, quit smoking, do a good deed each day, etc. I have a few computer resolutions  for Windows users that should help you get through the coming year with the minimum of angst. I am assuming you already have an installed, working and up-to-date antivirus product - right? If not, please see here.

BACK UP YOUR STUFF. The first one is the dullest one, but also the most important and probably the easiest to manage these days. By backing up your files and photos, you are protecting yourself against disaster, and if you use a cloud-based service you also guard against things like fire and flood (because a copy of your stuff is physically somewhere else).

Here is a guide on free online backup solutions from

Online backups are also, perhaps, easier to use as the usually preserve the actual individual files, instead of storing the whole backup in a specific format (such as you might get when using Microsoft's NT Backup). If you only need to replace a file you perhaps deleted by accident, it's easy enough to find in and "bring it back". See here for a Dropbox tutorial.

KEEP YOUR SOFTWARE UPDATED. This includes your programs as well as your operating system. For Windows, Mac and Linux, the operating system has it's own updating utility that should alert you when patches are available. Windows Updates also will patch other installed Microsoft products, like Office and the like.

For other software, it's more hit-or-miss, but equally important. For Windows users, I like to recommend Secunia PSI (Personal Software Inspector), a free utility that helps to keep your non-Microsoft programs up to date.

KEEP IT CLEAN. I'm talking about cleaning out junk files and so on, not wiping the computer down with a damp rag, although feel free to do that too if you get bored. You can keep the computer working more smoothly and reliably by a little (and I do mean just a little) bit of periodic maintenance. See my article below here: Windows PC Cleanup: Easy As 1,2,3

Happy New Year!

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