Clean out your digital software drawer

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Last week we ran through cleaning out your old tech drawer – now let’s look at cleaning out your software on your computer and other systems so they run as smoothly as possible. It’s a great time to get ready for the busy season with your computers running as efficiently as they can.

More and more we rely on our computers & smart phones for our business & personal life. It’s important to make sure they’re running at peak efficiency so you don’t lose business or more importantly lose that funny picture from a friend.

Start small

Update all the things! Windows, Android, Iphone, etc – make sure your operating system and major applications are updated – especially for security related issues.

Running an antivirus is still important but now-a-days you’re a lot less likely to get infected by some malicious virus and a whole lot more likely to get invaded by really annoying (and malicious) spyware or adware – those annoying popups. My favorite tool to combat these problems is HitmanPro – it’s a great tool that I find has better results than the other major tools and is a whole lot easier to use – just click next a few times – if it turns red you have something bad, if it doesn’t you can delete the cookies for free.

Backups

If you’ve read past blogs you know I’m passionate about backups. I have a dying hard drive sitting on my desk from a friend right now – She didn’t have a backup. Hopefully I can get the data off the drive before it dies – if not it’s off to a specialty shop that will cost more than a thousand dollars to save her critical data. Spend the money on an automatic backup solution! Carbonite has saved me and friend’s countless times.

Beyond the basics

Sharing documents between a few computers? Still using the old ‘shared folder’ method? You should give Dropbox a try! Whether I’m in the field with only my phone or sitting at someone else’s computer I know that all of my documents & files are only a few clicks away. It’s incredibly useful to be able to send a form or file to someone you’re talking to rather than potentially forgetting about it.

Review your software & monthly online application costs. I know some people that use all three – Netflix, Hulu & Amazon Prime for tv & movie streaming. I know a whole lot more people that signed up for all 3 but are only using one or two. The same applies for a lot of software & online applications. A few bucks a month adds up quickly – it’s a good idea to review your spending and make sure you’re still getting the best use of your money.

It’s also a good time to consider changing the way you license some of your software – it used to be common to go down and buy physical CDs and box software for each computer. Applications like Microsoft Office are expensive – you might consider using the new licensing schema they’ve moved to per-user monthly & annual licensing called Office 365 that is very favorably priced compared to buying it every few years as versions change. Quickbooks – another common office application has done the same. Some prefer the old-school licensed way & applications and others prefer the online. Neither is necessarily better or worse – just different. Go with what you prefer.

 

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