It’s Earth Day…is your computer saving energy?

earthdayIn honor of Earth Day…here are a few easy tips to save energy by updating settings on your computer.

Obviously you can save energy by turning off your computer when you aren’t using it, but even when you are using it there are a variety of settings you can tweak to make the most of your energy usage.

In your computer’s Control Panel, you can find Power Options. You’ll be able to tweak your power settings here, by turning off your monitor and hard drive if you computer hasn’t been active for more than a few minutes.The exact steps vary a little bit between different kind of computers, but it’s usually pretty easy to change these settings so don’t be afraid to try this step.

Lower the brightness on your monitor for another energy-saving boost, as long as it doesn’t strain your eyes. Look for control buttons on the bottom of the monitor, or at the top of your laptop keyboard.

Wireless broadcasting also requires quite a bit of energy, and most laptops have a button that turns wireless on or off. If you are working offline, you’ll find that turning off wireless can great extend your battery life.

That’s it for now…just a few simple steps and you’ll be helping to save the planet!

Spring cleaning, geek-style

Spring cleaning

In the mood for a little geek-style spring cleaning? To keep things in tip-top shape, spend a few minutes on your computer every few months.

The easiest place to start is your monitor. Use a microfiber cloth to dust your monitor, or try premoistened screen-cleaning wipes for more stubborn spots like fingerprints. Avoid traditional glass cleaners—some LCD and laptop screens are too delicate for these strong solutions, and drips can be devastating to electronics. And never spray cleaner directly on the computer–spray the cloth you are using instead.

Got crumbs in your keyboard? Canned air can blow them away, or you can try special vacuum attachments. If it’s really beyond help, spend $20 – $50 on an upgrade to a new wireless or multimedia keyboard. If you keep coffee or soda close by, consider a spill-resistant keyboard to help prevent disastrous accidents.

If you have an old mouse with a rubber roller ball, you can open it up for cleaning. Pull out the ball and use a little alcohol on a cotton swab to clean the rollers. Or, even better, skip the cleaning and purchase an optical laser mouse instead. Then there’s no cleaning required and you’ll find it’s a much smoother mouse experience.

Feeling adventurous? Desktops, especially those sitting on the floor, tend to accumulate a lot of dust inside the case. If you have pets, you may be shocked at how much fur you find. Your computer will run much better without it, so open up the case and blow out all the dust with canned air once every year or two. Unplug it first, of course, and be careful not to jostle any parts. A dust-free PC will stay cooler and run much more smoothly.