Don’t Overcharge Your Batteries
Resist the temptation to keep your portable devices plugged in at all times. Not only is this a needless drain on your local power grid, which means preventable bloat for your utility bill, but it’s also actively bad for your devices’ batteries.
Unnecessary charging actually retards batteries’ regenerative capabilities. A year or so on, or maybe sooner, you’ll notice a drop-off in your device’s ability to hold a charge. It’ll eventually worsen to the point that you’ll need to have your charging cord handy – meaning you won’t be able to work or play online without an outlet nearby.
Don’t charge until your device is good and ready. I wait until my laptop gets down below 20%, for instance.
Don’t Block the Vents
Like people, desktop and laptop computers need to breathe.
The operative rule here is “don’t block the vents.” Just like people, machines need to breathe – though, in their case, it’s to ensure their insides remain cool enough to function properly.
If you have a desktop, keep the tower clear of any obstructions, like cabinets or walls. If it’s possible to do so securely, elevate it to ensure good airflow on both sides. For laptops, maintain a clear work space free from clutter that could obstruct airflow – for instance, papers or books. Periodically check that the fans are working as well.
No matter what kind of device you have, maintain adequate ventilation and reasonable climate control. You don’t have to blast the AC or leave the windows open in the winter, but setting the thermostat to 80 probably isn’t a great idea either.
Uninstall Programs Completely
Deleting program icons is not the proper way to remove unnecessary programs from your computer. You need to execute a formal uninstall process for every single application you want to get rid of. Tossing things in the Trash or Recycle Bin doesn’t cut it.
Use the application’s own uninstaller, if one exists. Generally speaking, uninstalling Windows programs is more complicated than uninstalling Mac equivalents, but you should still check with experts on your system to make sure you’re doing things correctly.
Shut It Down Properly Every Night
Bake this into your nightly routine. It only takes a minute each day, and it could prolong your devices’ life for months or years. It’s especially important for Windows machines, since Microsoft only patches systems in shutdown mode.
Also, how you shut down matters. Avoid holding down the power button until the system shuts itself off. That’s for emergencies only – otherwise, it just stresses your hardware and software. Take the extra minute or two to shut down the machine properly, using your operating system’s shutdown button.
It’s your call whether you want to apply this tip to your mobile devices. I personally only shut down my smartphone for updates, since I like to be available for emergency calls and alerts through the night.