Stretch Your Tech

Get more out of your computers and gadgets

Like them or loathe them, computers are a part of everyday life. Whether you spend a lot or a little on a device, the choices you make and the things you do to look after your computer can have a massive effect on its longevity. The more you can get out of your machine and the more you can #stretchyourtech the better. It’s better for the environment and it’s better for you, or rather your wallet.

Below are 5 main areas you need to think about.

Buying a computer

Choosing the right machine is the first thing you need to think about. These days there are lots of choices to be made about operating system (it’s not just Windows and Mac anymore), type (laptop, PC, tablet, smartphone, all-in-one) and cost. Making the right choice and possibly spending a little bit more can make your computer use more enjoyable and give your device a longer life expectancy from the word go.

Maintenance tasks

An efficient machine is less bothersome to use and will ultimately save on your energy bills!

Computers need to be kept dust free, so periodically removing dust from the air vents and inside the machine is a really important task. Dust is a nightmare (it clogs things up and causes machines to overheat, slow down and potentially develop faults), but is easy to remove.

Programs you don’t need will often be running in the background using up valuable resources. Regularly checking your computer for malware and removing unnecessary programs will therefore help speed things up a bit while at the same time using up less processing power and resources.

Repairing a computer

Sometimes things just go wrong. It might be a hardware fault (chips can overheat, a power surge might fry the electronics, or a mechanical component may wear out) or it could be software related (device driver and software conflicts and malware infections). The trick is knowing which is which and what to do to remedy it. Some fixes are straightforward and easily done by yourself, which can save you money and keep your machine going just that little bit longer.

Upgrading a computer

There are times when you might want to upgrade your PC or laptop, to make it do more and work faster. For instance, imagine you buy a PC thinking “I only need it for emails, writing the odd word document and surfing the internet”. Then later on you start a YouTube channel and decide to start making videos. At that point you might want to upgrade your machine so that it can handle video editing. More RAM, a better graphics card, a faster hard disk… they can all help. Whether you are confident enough to do the upgrade yourself is up to you, but either way it will save you from having to spend a lot of money on a new machine and disposing of your old (and perfectly good) computer.

Repurposing a computer

You chosen your computer wisely, you have maintained it well, repaired it when it went wrong and upgraded it when you needed to. At some point there will come a time when you decide a new computer is the only option. So what do you do with your old computer when that happens?

Instead of throwing it away, you could use it for something else. The obvious choice is to give (or sell) the computer to someone else, but you could be a little more creative than that. How about setting your old machine up as a server for storing files and streaming music and videos around your house? How about using that old tablet as a control device for your smart meter and other smart enabled things? If you have thought about using Linux before, but were worried about putting it onto your computer, you could use your old one instead and feel safe knowing that your important information is stored elsewhere.