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Great spring cleaning tips for technology

With spring approaching (Friday, March 20), now is the time everyone starts thinking about spring cleaning their home – windows, closets, refrigerators – but they shouldn’t forget about their technology.

Here are some tips to ensure your laptops, TVs, smartphones and other devices are clean and secure, and ready to optimize and enjoy.

Take inventory

First and foremost, take inventory of all the technology in your home. You may have a gaming system or TV in the guest room that isn’t used every day but may need a good cleaning. Go from room to room and identify the devices that need your attention. Put aside anything you no longer use or that aren’t working – old computers, printers, modems, cell phones, TVs, cords.

Do an electronic sweep

Go through your devices and delete any pictures, videos, emails or files that you don’t need. This will free up space and make it easier for you to find what you’re looking for the next time you’re putting together that birthday or anniversary video.

Back up data

You won’t want to get rid of or lose all the precious photos, videos and other important files you do need. Whether you use a cloud service, hard drive or a USB flash drive, the important thing is to back up your data, and not just during spring cleaning. You might even decide to use a few different backup options in case you lose that flash drive or won’t have access to the cloud while on the road.

Secure your in-home WiFi

Make sure your in-home WiFi is password protected so that strangers down the street can’t access it. It’s also a good idea to regularly change your wifi password if you’re giving it to family and friends to use when they visit, whether your house is filled with guests for that Easter brunch or your kids’ college roommates during Spring Break.

Secure your devices

Protect yourself and your devices when you’re online by using a security software package that includes features such as virus, spyware and spam protection. Cox High Speed Internet customers can download a free security package powered by McAfee for up to five devices including computers, tablets and smartphones, so be sure to check with your internet provider to see if they have a similar option.

Wipe that keyboard and screen

Smartphones, laptops and tablets are used on a daily basis in most households, so it’s a good idea to sanitize them to help keep the germs away and get rid of the crumbs that fell into the crevices of your keyboard. For your screens, use a micro-fiber cleaning cloth with a little water and wipe in one direction. For your keyboard, use a can of compressed air to blow away the debris in between keys. You can also purchase a cleaning kit from your local office supply or computer store.

Rid your house of dead zones

To get the most from your in-home WiFi, check with your internet provider to see if you have any dead zones that can be turned into live zones. With Cox Panoramic WiFi, technicians will walk wall-to-wall in every room to identify hard-to-reach dead zones. For more information about Panoramic WiFi, visit

Go green – recycle, donate e-waste

Don’t just box up your unused devices and put them in the garage, or worse, the trash. E-waste needs to be recycled and kept out of the landfills. Help the environment and a family in need by recycling and donating your old equipment. Computer 2 Kids, San Diego, a nonprofit founded by North County’s Larry and Tammy Hershfield, refurbishes donated computers, monitors, and other electronic waste then distributes them to low-income families and students. Cox partners with the nonprofit through the Connect2Compete program to help bring computers and internet access to K-12 students in need.

With these tips, you and your technology will be ready for the spring, then you can sit back and enjoy your favorite TV show or movie on demand, or stream them from the Cox Contour app.