Digital Life | Big technical spring cleaning


Not only the garage or the yard needs a proper spring cleaning. Your devices, especially computers, phones and more generally your internet network, deserve some care from time to time to regain their speed. Here are nine tips, three for each department, gathered from the experts.



Computer

Software

Over time, many resource-hungry software programs that activate at startup slow down your computer. First, you need to find them using Activity Monitor on Mac and Task Manager on Windows and remove them if they are of no use. If your computer takes too long to start up and get ready to work, you probably have too much software that activates as soon as you log on. You can find the list in the Open menu, in the system settings of your Mac, and in the “Startup applications” tab of the Task Manager in Windows 11.

To optimize

There are many software programs on the market designed to make your computer more efficient. Olivier Bilodeau, director of cybersecurity research at GoSecure, recommends one in particular: Advanced SystemCare for Windows. We’ve been using CCleaner for a long time and it does a decent job of detecting greedy software and cleaning the registry. “Be careful though, these software programs often try to sell their Pro version,” Mr. Bilodeau elaborates. You should resist the temptation to delete the software once performance is optimized. » For Mac, the choice is much more limited and the option is even controversial, macOS does not tolerate interference from third-party software.

Mechanical

If you haven’t already, and if DIY doesn’t scare you, there is a mechanical intervention that can make your computer more efficient: replacing the hard drive. The difference between a good old mechanical HDD, whose transfer speed rarely exceeds 160 MB/s, and SATA SSDs, which are three times faster, is huge. “A faster SSD than the one we have can still be good,” says Nicolas Cadilhac, an entrepreneur and app developer. So in all cases it will be necessary to clone from the old to the new. » You can also use the opportunity to completely reinstall the operating system.

Telephones

Cleaning

The number one enemy of phone performance is app clutter. “On Android, you have to delete apps that are no longer in use,” says Olivier Bilodeau. Unlike a PC, even when you reset a mobile device, apps are often reinstalled via the cloud profile. And deleting apps will stop them from running in the background, making your device run faster. » These small computers will also slow down crowded hard drives, especially if the accumulation of photos, videos and files leaves no free space for system files.

Reset

If your phone is desperately slow despite the initial cleaning, consider doing a full factory reset after making a backup copy of your important files. You can save time by reinstalling using a system backup stored on your Google Drive or iCloud. The catch here is to restore all the apps and content that have been weighing down your phone. It may make more sense to start from scratch and reinstall apps piecemeal while keeping documents in a cloud folder.

Time for a change

Unlike a computer, it is virtually impossible to upgrade a phone with components such as a hard drive or RAM. However, there is one component that changing it can make a difference: the battery. We tested it with an iPhone that was given a second life. Repairing or replacing faulty parts such as the screen or camera can also have a positive impact on performance. But these devices are no match for technological relentlessness, believes Mr. Bilodeau: “If the device is more than five years old and the above advice has been followed without success, it’s time for a change. »

Internet network

Position

Placing your router in a good location is one of the basic tips, perhaps the most effective, but also the most often ignored. We tend to hide it behind a piece of furniture or isolate it in a closed room. Error. TP-Link, maker of many reliable routers we’ve tested over the years, has three main recommendations backed up by tests:

  • place the router without obstacles in a central room, at least 45 cm from the floor;
  • avoid proximity to powerful household appliances;
  • find a sufficiently ventilated and cool place. In particular, avoid exposure to the sun.

Device

Few consumers are willing to pay a bit more for a router. However, our tests clearly show that the transfer speed, latency and handling capacity of many devices varies enormously between routers. Most routers provided by telecommunications companies – there are a few exceptions – fall into the middle range: sufficient for basic users, quickly obsolete as needs increase. As a general rule, avoid routers under $100. Two recommendations: ASUS AX2700 (RT-AX68U), labeled “best value for money” Protect yourselfand the Deco series from TP-Link.

Sew

If your WiFi is too weak to reach everywhere in the house, choose “mesh network” technology. These are several routers that use an assigned frequency band to communicate with each other and transmit a wireless signal. The technology is more efficient and stable than adding repeaters, which “rarely offers real gains,” estimates Jacques Bourdeau, an information security engineer. “The repeater itself will be able to share the signal it has despite what its client is displaying,” he elaborates. Another secret: a faulty or misconfigured device, such as an old phone, can degrade network quality by placing excessive demands on the wrong router. Unplug it.





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