Getting the Most Out of Your Computer Part 3: Cloud Apps and Updated Drivers

Because buying a new computer isn't exactly within reach for most of us, getting the most out of the computer we have is critically important - especially if you need your computer for work or school. In our last two articles, we looked at how to free up system resources by uninstalling unnecessary programs, shutting down unneeded processes, moving non-programs to external hard drives, and even changing the startup conditions of your computer. In this article, we will take a look at how you can even further speed up your computer by keeping your drivers updated and by utilizing the cloud.

Hardware Device Drivers are the Backbone of a Healthy PC

A hardware device driver serves as a set of instructions for your computer and how it interacts with the hardware attached to it. Because these small programs are constantly consulted by your computer, it is important to ensure that they are working correctly and quickly to get the most out of your computer.

While the relationship between an outdated or faulty device driver and the device that it functions with is clear and easy to understand, what may not be so clear is that a bad device driver can impact your entire computer. Because your computer is constantly using all of the devices attached to it, a hiccup or stall in one component can create a cascading effect throughout your computer, slowing the entire system down.

There are a number of different ways that you can update your device drivers. The most common way is to simply navigate to the original maker of the device, and download and install the new driver. Alternatively, a number of different, automatic driver updating programs exist which can make life a lot easier.

Cloudwalking: Using the Internet Instead of System Resources

One of the biggest advances over the last few years in computer technology has been the advent of cloud computing. While this takes many forms, the basic idea is the same: instead of using the resources on your computer to perform tasks, why not have the far more powerful computers powering the Internet do those tasks for you?

Almost regardless of what you need your computer to do, there is a cloud application that can make the process easier. Instead of using Outlook Express or another email client for communications, you can utilize a service like Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, or Gmail. If you are a regular user of instant messaging clients, you can actually access most networks now through their webpage. Instead of installing AIM on your computer, you can instead log into the AIM website and launch their web client.

A huge benefit to using cloud services instead of locally-installed programs is that you can access them from anywhere. This means that if you decide to use Gmail, you can access your email, and your entire email history, from any computer with Internet access.

Please note, however, that unless you have a persistent and reliable Internet connection, then cloud computing applications may not be the best path for you.