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Spring clean your tech devices

With the weather getting warmer, it’s time to start spring cleaning, which can mean cleaning your dorm room, your car, and especially your tech devices.

“Spring isn’t just a great time to clean out your closets,” says Brian Luper, a director in the Office of Information Technology. “It’s an opportunity to get your technology in top working order.”

Here are some attainable habits for students to keep their tech in tip-top shape every semester.

Clean out your tech “junk drawer”
Start out by cleaning out that junk drawer (the one we all have somewhere). If you come across any old phones or laptops, you may be able to trade them in at kite+key for a gift card.

Tidy up your mailbox
How many red notification alerts do you have on the Mail icon on your phone? Going through your email mailboxes and deleting old emails or unsubscribing from mailing lists that you are no longer interested in may seem tedious, but it can help keep you organized and free up data stored on your device.

Clear your web browser
Cleaning out your web browsers by removing cookies, clearing your history, and removing unused browser extensions is a great way to improve the loading speed of your Google Chrome, Safari, or Mozilla Firefox browser.

Delete any unnecessary data
Sort through and clean out any old files that may be filling up your hard drive. If you don’t know where to start, Microsoft has advice for Windows computers, and Apple has guidance for Macs. If you have files you can’t delete, utilize Google Drive to offload those files.

Update your computer and make sure automatic updates are set up
Setting up automatic updates on your phone, computer, tablet, and other personal devices to fix general software issues is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself from criminals online. When you run the latest operating system version on your devices, you receive the latest security patches and feature updates.

Install personal antivirus software
Rutgers provides free antivirus software for all students to download on their personal computers. Depending on your operating system, Windows Defender or Avira software will scan for online threats such as viruses, adware, and spyware to ensure your devices stay clear of malicious activity.

This story has been updated (originally published on April 11, 2023).

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