Here are some holiday gift ideas for your computer — because why not?

Don’t forget about your computer this Christmas! It takes some effort and investment to keep your computer healthy and happy. So, here I share some gift ideas I’m sure your computer will appreciate:

Physical cleaning: Keeping your computer clean inside and out can help extend its life and increase performance. If you haven’t cleaned it for over a year, consider freshening it up a bit this holiday season.

You can vacuum the outside, particularly around the fan areas where dust, dirt, and hair collect the most. You can also wipe down the exterior of the computer and screen. I suggest using a microfiber cloth that’s slightly dampened with water or a mild cleaner. For the keyboard, I suggest turning it over and carefully knocking out any dirt, dust, and crumbs that have made their way between the keys. You can then wipe it and your mouse down with antibacterial cleaner to rid them of germs.

I suggest leaving the inside cleaning of computers to a professional. There are a lot of sensitive things in their that you can damage if you aren’t sure what you’re doing. A pro can also check the temperatures to see if thermal paste needs re-applied to the heatsinks, which is good to do every few years.

Check-up and tune-up: Even if you aren’t having issues, I suggest getting a professional check-up and tune-up of your computer done every year. They can check to ensure you have adequate protection, maybe speed up your computer, and spot issues before they become a real problem.

Extra protection: Antivirus is a must-have for most computer users, but most antiviruses don’t stop adware and other junk that aren’t true viruses but can certainly also cause problems. So, I suggest having additional protection. My favorite program for this is MalwareBytes Antimalware. It’s free to download (www.malwarebytes.com) and run manual scans, but it’s a good idea to buy the premium edition to have active protection all the time.

Peripherals and accessories: When you’re out shopping, browse the computer section for any neat peripherals or accessories. If you have trouble reading the keys on the keyboard, look for the keyboards that have the large print and high-contrast colors. Or a keyboard that’s backlit so you can see the keys in the dark. If your surge protector is many years old, perhaps get a new one to better protect against power and lighting damage. If you have a smaller monitor or one of the old square ones, maybe look at getting a bigger wide-screen one.

Upgrade to Windows 10: If you’re still using Windows 7 or 8, you might want to take advantage of Microsoft’s last offer to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. There’s less than two weeks left! After December 31, you’ll have to pay up to $119.99 (or $199.99 for the Professional edition) in order to upgrade your computer to Windows 10. If you’re still using the unsupported Windows XP or Vista, I typically suggest just replacing the computer.

Upgrade to a Solid State Drive (SSD): If you want to be extra nice to your computer this year, consider replacing your old traditional hard drive with a SSD. The old hard drives have moving parts that work slower, put off more heat, and consume more power. The SSDs have no moving parts inside and can give your computer a significant performance boost. I highly suggest contacting a professional to upgrade to a SSD, and they can also check if your computer is worth the investment.

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