Some New Year’s resolutions to consider for your tech life

By Eric Geier (Our Founder & Owner)

Originally published by Cox Media Group on 12/27/21

This is the time of the year to make resolutions for your life in the coming year. Along with the usual health and finance resolutions, don’t forget about your tech life. Here are some to consider regarding your computers and gadgets in 2022:

 

Ensure your data is backed up: Backing up files and documents is one of the biggest things computer users ignore. And they tend to regret that when their computer crashes or experiences a disaster and they lose all their data. So, ensure any important data is backed up to a separate drive and/or online to the cloud. The same goes with cellphones and tablets. If you take photos with them and don’t want to risk losing them, you should ensure they are backed up online in case your device becomes lost or stolen.

Don’t fall for phone or computer scams: There are endless scams and scammers out there, and falling victim usually costs you a few hundred dollars. But it could cost you even more if your identity is compromised.

Just remember, if the situation doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t.

If you get a phone call out of the blue saying something is wrong with your computer or internet, or if your computer says to call someone, just ignore it and find a local reputable computer tech to get advice. Don’t trust anyone to remotely fix your computer unless you know you’re talking to someone from a local reputable company.

Upgrade to Windows 11: Back in October, Microsoft released a new version of the Windows operating system. The upgrade is technically free for devices running Windows 10. However, Windows 11 has much stricter system requirements than prior Windows versions. If your computer is compatible, think about giving Windows 11 a try. To see compatibility, check out the Windows Update page in the Settings app of Windows 10.

Microsoft made some noticeable changes to the look and feel of the main screens of Windows 11. But if you’re a simple user that only uses one or two applications, the changes shouldn’t bother you much. For instance, if you mostly just browse the web, you shouldn’t notice any changes there as the websites you go to won’t have any changes between the different Windows versions.

Microsoft allows you to do an in-place upgrade where it’s supposed to keep all your data and programs installed, but I actually don’t recommend that upgrade method. I suggest having a computer tech backup your data, wipe the drive, install a clean copy of Windows 11 and then restore your data and programs. Though this method is more involved, it provides for a much better upgrade outcome and also gives your computer a good refresh. It also provides a great time to upgrade your hard drive to a solid state drive, which will give your computer a real noticeable boost in performance and extend its life.

Try Chrome OS: This is another operating system developed by Google and is on all those school Chromebooks you may have heard about. The Chrome OS is basically just the Google Chrome web browser, like you might be used to on regular computers. And if you’re signed into Chrome on a regular computer, you can have the bookmarks/ favorites, saved passwords and other browser data synced between the devices.

Chrome OS requires less powerful hardware than Windows, so the laptops and devices loaded with them are usually cheaper.

It’s good for those that really just need a web browser to access websites or web applications, and aren’t needing full computer applications.

I don’t usually recommend replacing a full computer with a Chromebook.

However, if you don’t already have a laptop or don’t have a secondary computer, a Chromebook can be a great economical choice.

Get a check-up and tune-up: Even if you aren’t having any apparent issues, I strongly suggest having a tech check your computer every year (or more for businesses) and do some general cleaning and tune-up tasks. This can help catch any issues before they become a real problem, such as a hard drive starting to die or slowness due to junk buildup. This helps safeguard your files, documents and photos. Plus, it can also better help protect you from hackers, viruses and phishing attempts that could impact your credit and financial accounts.

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