6 ways to prevent IT problems

Problems with your IT can be a real pain when all you want to do is get on with work. Serious crashes and data loss can obviously have severe consequences. But even niggly problems can cause real disruption if they happen at the wrong time.

Business IT works a bit like a car. You can never guarantee it’ll be free from problems. But if you perform the right maintenance you can reduce the chance of problems happening. These six tasks will make a real difference:

1. Update your software when it tells you to. You might be annoyed by that box that appears to announce that ‘updates are available for your computer’. But don’t ignore it. Software updates fix bugs and security problems with your software, helping to keep hackers and crashes at bay.

2. Keep your hard disk spick and span. As your computer writes and reads data to and from its hard drive, the data can become disorganised, making your computer less efficient. If you use Microsoft Windows, use the Disk Cleanup and Disk Defragmenter tools to keep the data organised.

3. Run clean-up software monthly. Using your computer creates temporary files and changes settings which can gradually slow things down. Like a room that gets messy over time, it helps to give your computer a clean-up, so everything’s tidy and data is in the right place. You can use free software like CCleaner to do this.

4. Keep your computer dust free. An impressive amount of dust can accumulate in and around your computer’s cooling vents, especially if it has a powerful fan. Eventually, this can cause your computer to overheat, damaging components. To avoid problems, use a can of compressed air to blast away every six months or so.

5. Properly uninstall software you no longer use. It’s very easy to download and install new software when you need it. But if you decide you want to remove software, always do it properly. If you use Windows, that means going into the Control Panel and using the remove programs function.

6. Scan for viruses and spyware. Sometimes it’ll be blindingly obvious that your computer has caught a virus or been infected by spyware. You might see random messages or strange windows opening. But malicious software isn’t always obvious, and can hit performance in a big way. Schedule a weekly scan with your security software to be sure you’re clean.

Finally, don’t forget that you can’t predict or prevent every IT problem. At some point, the chances are an unexpected hardware failure, human error or another problem will lead to data loss. So back up properly and back up frequently. If you need some help, a chat with us about disaster recovery is a good place to start.

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Jonathan Edwards is MD and founder of Integral IT, a preferred IT support partner to many UK businesses. Jonathan has been working in the IT support industry since 1996 and is a Microsoft Certified Professional. He is actively involved with all aspects of client relationships and ensures Integral's IT support is of the highest quality possible.