Don’t forget to clean your computer and gadgets

By Eric Geier (Our Founder & Owner)

Originally published by Cox Media Group on 3/23/20

Spring is here, and so are the respiratory viruses! If COVID-19 has you cleaning, don’t forget about your computer and gadgets. Many people never cleanse their keyboard and mouse. I suggest doing so, and these days I would do it often.

If you have a smartphone or tablet you take out and about, that’s even more important to disinfect.

Here are some other spring-cleaning ideas for your tech life: Get a yearly professional checkup: Even if you aren’t having issues, I strongly suggest having your computer checked out at least every year by a computer tech. They can look at drive health and system logs to ensure all is healthy. There are some things you might not notice which could become a problem over time. A computer tech might catch issues before they cause a major problem.

They also can do a tune-up to get the computer working a little better.

Plus, they can evaluate the security to ensure you’re well protected.

Physically cleansing: With COVID-19 and the more typical bugs going around right now, this is a big one. I never suggest spraying electronics or screens directly with cleaner, but you can use a Clorox or other cleaning wipe to sanitize the parts you touch. I suggest wiping the keyboard and mouse for sanitizing reasons, and then your computer screen to clean up dust. Smartphones and tablets should be cleaned even more if you use them on a daily basis.

You can also physically clean computer towers as well, but I suggest leaving that to a computer tech.

They can open up the case and clear out dust and dirt, which can really build up bad if you have pets or the computer is sitting on the floor.

Adware and PUP scanning: You should already have an antivirus that’s protecting your computer, but many of those don’t stop other junk like adware or PUPs (potentially unwanted programs).

Malwarebytes (www.malwarebytes.com) is my favorite scanner for finding or stopping this other junk that might not be classified as a virus, but still cause issues. They have a free edition that you can use to manually run scans and you can optionally buy it to actively protect you all the time.

Check browser notifications: A newer technology supported by some browsers, such as Chrome and Edge, allow websites to send you notifications at any point even if you aren’t on their website. Typically, you don’t need these notifications and they’re often misused to send you ADs and junk alerts.

The first time you visit a website that’s trying to send you notifications you will be prompted to allow or block them. Be careful; only allow those notifications on websites you really want to alert you of something. You should periodically also check the allowed notifications in your browser’s settings to remove or block those you don’t want bothering you. The process to do this varies between the browsers, so I suggest looking up how to do it on the web or contact a computer pro if you’re not comfortable doing it yourself.

Surge protection and battery backup: Spring is also the start of the storm season, so I recommend you check if your computer is plugged into a modern surge protector to help protect it from surges and lighting strikes. You can go a step further and get an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) that has a battery backup so if the power does go out, it would allow your computer to shutdown properly if it’s on when the power goes out.

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