5 ways to maximize your PC investment
Small businesses invest hundreds or even thousands of dollars in shiny new commercial laptops fully expecting them to do their job for quite a while. But will they? Not without proper maintenance.
The average laptop or notebook’s life expectancy is about four years. However, companies often see drop-offs in performance long before the equipment nears its end-of-life. Software starts to take longer to boot up or runs too slowly. Battery life gets shorter and shorter. Keys stick. You seem to have more viruses infecting your network.
If your company is in the latter group, don’t feel too bad. You’re all busy. You can only spend so much money on computer upkeep. And the equipment is probably doing well enough for your needs.
Keep in mind, though, that drop-offs in performance are often barely perceptible - until they’re painfully obvious. It’s a lot like those squeaking front car brakes that don’t seem like such a big deal until you wind up unable to stop the vehicles as it careens down a steep hill.
The good news is, if you have the time, you really don’t have to hire your own IT staff to adequately protect your laptop and notebook investments. There are some things you can do on your own.
Here are a few good tips for having an extended relationship with your business computers:
1. Don’t overuse those charging cables
Technology wonks are always debating
whether it’s better to leave a computer on all the time or shut it off at the end of each business day.
Those in favor of letting it run note that every time you start up a PC, there’s a small surge of power that can shorten the computer’s lifespan. The thought is those surges put undesirable wear-and-tear on the components, and that may indeed be true.
Others believe you should shut it off at the end of each day and argue that the other approach burns more electricity (which adds to your operating costs) and leads to wear-and-tear on your battery and charging cable. The thinking here is that shutting it down daily allows computer performance to improve upon reboot.
Our recommendation, therefore, is that employees turn off their computers at the close of business.
2. Update whenever possible
Many consumers and business owners are reluctant to install software or firmware updates - not because it’s hard but because it can be scary.
Most of us have the experience of updates slowing or stalling our systems, costing lost time and productivity as well as tons of frustration and angst. And many business owners figure, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
But that’s really an outdated philosophy. The value of updating far outweighs the cost of those random and rare instances when patches cause more trouble than they’re worth.
Updates protect against new security risks. They introduce additional and often productivity enhancing features in your software. They can improve battery depletion rates and performance, which means increased efficiency, and they often fix bugs in the software before they become real problems for you and your employees.
Our recommendation: Take advantage of automated features in Windows and your antivirus programs to install updates on a regular basis.
3. Keep it clean
The last thing you want to do is stand over your employees’ desks telling them to keep food and drinks away from computers. But if you’ve spent money on those things, you have a right to insist they clean them.
From wiping down the screen to removing dust from vents, it is critical to keep dirt and dusty particles out of the computer as much as possible. Over time, clogged vents can impair speed and impair the cooling mechanism.
Overheating can damage a computer and shorten its lifespan, so employees should also be advised to keep laptops and notebooks away from heat sources. Remind them not to leave computers sitting in cars, for example. You might also consider providing workers with cooling pads for extra protection.
Our recommendation: Hang posters around the office with best practices for keeping computers clean and cool. That way, you don’t have to micro-manage their PC hygiene.
4. Uninstall junk software
New computers often come with trial software you do not need and will probably never use. But the programs may be running behind the scenes, affecting computer performance and productivity.
A few examples of things you probably don’t need: unnecessary toolbars from Yahoo!, Ask, Babylon, Skype and even Google (if you’re in Explorer or Edge). By going to Settings/Apps & Features on your computer, you can also scan the long list of software you have installed, left click on those you’re sure you don’t want or need and uninstall them.
On one business computer alone, a quick perusal can turned up plenty that need to go, including Bonjour, Candy Crush Soda Saga, Entergy Star, Google Talk Plugin, Groove Music from Microsoft, Microsoft Money and Snapfish.
Our recommendation: Don’t be afraid to remove programs you clearly aren’t using BUT before doing so conduct a quick Google search to ensure you’re not removing an essential component of a program you do use, including the operating system.
5. Consider DaaS
At the end of the day, you might not want to do-it-yourself. And that would be smart. Because after a while, it does become tedious and can be a distraction you don’t need.
This is where device-as-a-service (DaaS)
comes into play. DaaS providers (HP® is leading the way) assure you get complete hardware, support, analytics and unified endpoint management solutions with more predictable IT spending.
Offload the time-consuming tasks of supporting, securing, and managing multi-OS devices so you can focus on what drives your business forward. Reduce the complexity of purchasing with simple, flexible plans easily tailored to your specific business needs and budget.
Our recommendation: Do it yourself, if you can. But if you don’t have time or aren’t comfortable with that approach, consider HP DaaS to assure your systems are up-to-date, well-managed and secure.
Thinking about putting new technology to work for your business but not quite sure where to start? Let an HP business expert help. They’ll work with you to identify the right technology for your business now and into the future, can assist with custom configurations, flexible financing options and much more.