Working From Home? 5 Ways to Show Your PC Some Love

A desktop computer screen and keyboard on a wooden desk in a home

Whether you are quarantined or isolated by the government, this is the perfect time to catch up on all the goals you haven’t had time to pursue. Or, you can just take care of your PC.

Organize your files

Organizing all of your files is a great project to manage when you have extra time. After years of using a PC, most people end up with documents, photos, and video files on multiple storage devices. They can be scattered over old laptops, desktops and a multitude of external hard drives.

It’s a good time to centralize everything on a desktop computer, a robust external hard drive with lots of capacity, or even a network attached storage (NAS).

To start, you will need to remove all these files from your external hard drives or from your old devices, and deposit them in a central repository (PC, NAS or high capacity external hard drive). If Windows warns you that you already have a certain file on the computer, discard it as a duplicate anyway. It may be an older (or newer) version containing information that you want to keep.

Sure, you might end up with a clutter of duplicate files, like MyBookReport, MyBookReport (2), etc., but that’s fine for now. The goal is to put everything in one place – you can organize it later.

Once all of your files are in one place, think about how organize them. After that, it’s time to find and delete duplicate files.

After deleting all the duplicates and storing the ones you want to keep, it’s time to erase all those hard drives. This may be a bridge too far for some, but it is less likely to cause confusion in the future. However, you should first consider backing up your data.

You might want organize your Windows desktop in a mess while you’re there!

RELATED: How to organize your Windows desktop in a mess (and keep it)

Implement a backup strategy

After spending all this time organizing your files, it would be horrible to lose all of your hard work! That’s why it’s a good idea to have a solid backup plan. An ideal backup plan stores copies of your data in three locations: your PC, a local device, and Offsite.

It may sound like an exaggeration, but redundancy (well organized) is the point. A NAS or external hard drive is the easiest way to create local backups because you can use Windows 10 file history functionality. To create an offsite backup, you can use cloud backup service, as Backblaze or Carbonite.

If a cloud service is not for you, you can use another external hard drive and keep it somewhere else, such as in a desk drawer at work or at a parent’s home. The problem with this approach is that you must continually bring the offsite backup to save all the new files to the two external drives. An online service greatly facilitates this task. In addition, you can encrypt online backups to better protect your files.

If you encrypt, however, you are responsible for remembering the encryption password. If you lose it, you also lose access to your files.

RELATED: What is the best way to back up my computer?

Configure a password manager

Passwords handwritten on a sheet of paper.designer491 / Shutterstock

Passwords are a pain, which is why so many people use the same two or three for all their accounts. Unfortunately, this is a terrible approach. If a hacker finds one of these passwords, the rest of your accounts are ducks sitting for infiltration.

However, creating unique passwords for each site and keeping them straight requires either dedication or a password manager. And we are not talking about that in your web browser.

A password manager is a multi-device program that saves your passwords, logs you in (or completes your account details) automatically, and generates new passwords if necessary. You can also use a password manager to store secure notes, Wi-Fi passwords, bank details, etc.

For added security, you may want to consider a hardware authentication device, such as a YubiKey. Because it requires two-factor authentication, they are a great option for protecting online accounts.

RELATED: The 4 best password managers of 2020

Dust and clean the inside of your PC

A hand holding an air can on an open desktop computer tower.Patrick Bisch

PCs can “choke” if they accumulate too much dust inside. Desktops and laptops rely on free flowing air to bring cool air inside and expel hot items. When too much dust adheres to the fan blades, cables, housing innards or components, the air cannot move. When left like this, a PC cannot cool properly. This can degrade your computer’s performance or, in extreme cases, damage its components.

How often you need to clean your PC depends on how dusty it gets in your corner of the wood. If you live in a hot, dusty climate, you will need to clean your PC more often than someone who lives in a place where it rains for half the year.

To properly clean your PC, you will need a few supplies, including a can of compressed air, a screwdriver to open the case, and a microfiber cloth. It is also a great opportunity to improve the cable situation. Take zipped or twisted ties and rearrange these cables so that they are not in the way.

You can follow our step by step instructions to thoroughly clean your desk. If you have a MacBook or another laptop, you can also use compressed air to remove dust.

RELATED: How To Thoroughly Clean Your Dirty Desktop Computer

Clean your keyboard and mouse

Health officials are constantly telling us to wash our hands regularly and keep surfaces clean to avoid the coronavirus. Besides your phone, there is no better place for germs to spread in your home than on a keyboard and mouse.

You can simply wipe a mouse with a disinfectant wipe to clean it. We do not recommend that you use bleach as this may damage it. Basically everything you can use for disinfect your smartphone should not damage your mouse or keyboard.

You can follow our instructions to thoroughly clean your keyboard. If you have a mechanical one, it is quite easy to remove the keys for a thorough cleaning. However, it is difficult to remove and replace the membrane keys. It’s probably best to shake everything you can (or replace it with a mechanical model).

RELATED: How to thoroughly clean your keyboard (without breaking anything)

More ideas

Hopefully some of these ideas will help you organize (or clean up) things better while you spend your hours at home.

Here are some other things you can do:

The suggestions we covered above can improve your Work at home computer experience. In addition, when things return to normal, you will have a much better PC configuration, a well-organized file structure, better security and clean hardware.

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