Tech Talk #45 – February 18, 2017
Even the fastest computer can slow down as time goes by. Here are a few things you can do to make it run like new again.
Watch out for programs that auto-start
Some programs want to start up every time you boot your computer and get loaded into RAM to be ready to go. Unless it’s a program you run every time you use your computer; this slows down your computer’s boot time.
To see what starts up when your Windows computer boots up, right-click a blank spot on the taskbar and launch Task Manager then go to the Startup tab. On a Mac, open System Preferences then open Users & Groups and look under the Login Items tab.
Update your applications and Operating System (OS)
I know. It seems like your computer is always trying to update something. Here’s why you should let it. Updates usually do some or all of these things: patch security bugs, optimize code, add new features, or improve compatibility with older software and hardware on your system.
Modern versions of Windows, macOS and all of your applications need to be updated to avoid memory problems and crashes. Many applications and all operating systems update automatically, usually in the background.
Doing updates can be inconvenient, but they will keep your computer more secure and running better.
Uninstall applications you don’t use and clean up your temporary files
Your computer probably has a pretty big hard drive, but you should only install applications you need on your computer. Go through your installed programs once in a while and uninstall any you don’t use anymore. Even if you’re not be running these programs, your computer still uses some system resources to keep track of them.
Once you’ve uninstalled those applications that were gathering dust on your system, take the next step and clean up your temporary files, browsers, and empty the trash. CCleaner is one of the best Windows or Mac cleaner programs, and it’s free.
The nuclear option: refresh your computer
If you add and remove a lot of programs, or you’ve had some misadventures with malware, viruses, or ransomware, or even if it’s just been a while since your computer was new, refreshing your computer is the fastest way to get it running like new.
Previous generations of both Windows and macOS made it pretty much a whole weekend ordeal to refresh your computer. Backing up, formatting, and reinstalling took a while. Windows 10 and macOS Sierra make the whole process much easier. And now you can reset your system without losing any of your personal data.
First, make backups of your personal data just in case things go wrong. And also make sure you have the CDs/DVD or can easily download and reinstall any software you need before you do the refresh.
On a Windows 10 computer, go to Start > Settings > Update & security > Recovery. For a macOS Sierra computer, reboot your computer, hold down CMD + R at the boot chime to boot into recovery mode, at the macOS Utilities screen choose Reinstall macOS.
Here’s a complete guide to refreshing a Windows 10 computer:
Here’s a complete guide to refreshing your macOS Sierra computer:
Technical term origins
Have you ever wondered how the wireless technology Bluetooth got its name? Probably not, because you’re a normal person. How about if I told you it had to do with Vikings, now are you interested?
In 1996 there was an industry group – Intel, Ericsson, Nokia, and later IBM – looking to standardize a low-power short-range radio link for connecting devices to cellular phones and PCs. The group created the wireless technology but was having trouble coming up with a marketable name.
Intel engineer Jim Kardach had just read a book called The Longships by Frans G. Bengtsson that compiled the travels of Danish warriors under the reign of King Harald “Bluetooth” Gormsson. Kardach viewed King Harald as an ideal symbol for bringing competing parties together, as he explained:
“Bluetooth was borrowed from the 10th-century second king of Denmark, King Harald Bluetooth. King Harald was famous for uniting Scandinavia just as we intended to unite the PC and cellular industries with a short-range wireless link.”
The Bluetooth logo uses the initials of King Harald Bluetooth – the Nordic runes for “H” and “B” make up the logo:
Do you have a computer or technology question? Greg Cunningham has been providing Tehachapi with on-site PC and network services since 2007. Email Greg at firstname.lastname@example.org.