Tips On Optimizing Your PC

If you’re working for a newspaper then I’ll venture to guess that your laptop or tablet is your best friend.  I actually recently got a new Surface Pro 4 that I love, by the way.  But I digress.  As your friend, you want that computer to be reliable and fast.  It really sucks to have to deal with a slow computer when you’re working and on the road.  There’s nothing worse than a computer that takes forever to start up and shut down.  Opening the browser takes forever, etc.

Don’t run out and buy a new computer just yet.  There are a lot of options for you to tune up the one that you have!  I have done this many times and it’s given me a couple more years out of a laptop that I was ready to throw out the window.


Upgrade Your RAM

It’s true that the increase in software demands over the years makes it necessary to upgrade your computer or you’ll be left in the dust.  However, one of the easiest ways to improve the performance of your computer in a concrete way is to simply upgrade your RAM!  It’s so simple that you can actually do it yourself.  All you have to do is go to a website such as and run the diagnostic scanner.  The website will then tell you exactly what RAM can go into your machine.  And you can order it straight from the website!  It couldn’t be any easier.  Usually installing the RAM into a computer is really not that hard, and a simple Google search for your model of computer will yield the how to guide.

Clean Out Spyware And Malware

One of the most inevitable things that can happen to a computer is the acquisition of malware.  This is software that gets onto your computer uninvited and wreaks havoc, causing slowdowns, popups, another annoying things.  Antivirus software doesn’t always catch these programs because they fly under the radar and pass as “legitimate” programs.  But they certainly aren’t legitimate since I’m guessing you didn’t want them at all!

In order to get rid of spyware and malware you can run a program such as Spyhunter 4 in order to thoroughly scan and remove any offending software.  I used Spyhunter in order to get rid of the Conduit search spyware that had made its way onto my computer.  It was incredibly annoying by Spyhunter made quick work of it.  Spyhunter is a safe and effective software tool that will help you out if you’ve got unauthorized software on your computer.

Clean Out Junk Software

I bet you don’t use all the software that you have loaded onto your computer.  I’d suggest uninstalling any software that you don’t use.  Go into the Add/Remove Software menu in the Control Panel and get rid of anything that you don’t use.  You shouldn’t uninstall anything important however.  If you’re not sure what a program is, a simple Google search can jog your memory as to whether or not you need it.

Ensuring That Your Data Is Always Backed Up


As a writer you will always be on the go, updating files and adding to stories.  Often you’ll be using a laptop or tablet of some sort.  You’ve got all the latest software such as Office 365, Excel, and Lightroom.  You’re a pro, and you’ve got some good material.

However, are you backing up that material on a regular basis?  Anything could happen at any time – from a natural disaster like a flood or fire, to a friend spilling a coffee on your laptop during your morning meeting, to a thief breaking your car window and stealing your bag with your computer inside (it happened to me).

My favorite way to back up my files is to use an offline backup.  I usually have Backblaze running in the background of all computers that I use.  It runs silently in the background behind my usual tasks and ensures that whenever I make any changes it updates and uploads those files to their servers.

I also make an image of my computer onto a local hard drive.  But hard drives fail, etc etc.  So you should really have TWO backups: a physical backup onto a separate hard drive at home, and an off site backup such as a cloud backup service.  If you had a fire and your house or apartment burned down, it would take your computer AND your hard disk.  Having a cloud backup could save your skin.  If the cloud backup company somehow has a disaster, you will still have your local hard disk backup.  Hopefully disasters won’t happen at both places at the same time.  If they do…they you’re probably hiding some top secret information 😉

Anyway, that’s my soapbox speech about backing up your stuff. You’ll NEVER be upset that you backed up your data.  Instead, when something goes terribly wrong, you will be SO HAPPY that you’ve been running those backups.

Trust me, I know.  Recently I had a hard drive go down on me.  But when I remembered that I had been backing up that computer with Backblaze this whole time I was so incredibly relieved.  It saved me a LOT of work having to reconstruct files and projects.  I mean, a lot of work.

Do you have any experiences with having backed up (or not backed up) your data?  Please write in a comment below!

Of all the cloud backup services I’ve tried I still like Backblaze the best, even though their method of downloading files from their servers is a bit clunky (please, please, please update the Windows downloader).  I am currently trying out Crashplan on a new computer and I’m not sure I like the interface at all.  It is constantly telling me that I haven’t backed up my computer all the way….and I’m like…when are you going to finish?  So I’m not that happy with their interface that’s on the PC.

What backup programs do you use?  What have been your experiences with the different cloud backup services?