Four ways to give your work computer a makeover

By Anthony Caruana

Aesthetic and technical adjustments that personalise your work computer and help computer performance.

The office may be a place for serious work, but that doesn't mean your work computer shouldn't have its own personalised look and feel, just like your phone cover or that photo of loved ones sitting on your desk.

Back in the early days of business computing, the systems put on our desks were locked down so that we couldn't change settings. But today we can customise things, and there are some very simple tech things you can do to improve your computer's performance.

1. Colour me happy

Start by tweaking the colours and typefaces that are used. It might not sound like much, but changing the colours on a PC from the defaults to something a little more attuned to your preferences is an easy way to make your computer more like your own and not a boring corporate machine.

Choosing colours that offer better contrasts can also make your computer easier to use. If your eyesight isn't the best, choosing a different colour scheme with bold, contrasting shades can be really helpful. Programs such as f.lux - which changes the PC's colours according to the time of day - are great for those who spend most of their day in front of the computer and regularly endure sore eyes.

2. Clear the decks

Chances are that if you've had your computer for a few months or more, you've accumulated a few extra programs you've tried out, a bunch of files in your download folder and other unwanted junk.

Remove any unwanted programs that you've installed - although it's often best to leave any corporate applications that were part of your business's standard setup - by going to Control Panel and using the Programs and Features. If you're using a Mac, most applications can be deleted by simply moving them from the Applications folder into the trash.

If you have lots of files saved to your desktop, look through them and delete any that are no longer needed. With what's left, organise them into folders and move them to your personal documents folder, off the desktop.

3. Custom wallpaper

A busy desktop wallpaper can be a distraction and make it hard to easily locate icons. However, you can create your own wallpaper that puts important information close at hand.

Using your favourite drawing application, create an image with a plain background colour you like. Find an image of an annual calendar and put that image on the background you created. Using the text tools, make a list of the common phone numbers you need to access and put them on the wallpaper you're creating. If there's any room left, you can add a family photo or some other image you want to see daily. Save the image and then set it as your wallpaper.

4. Increase memory

One of the easiest and cheapest performance upgrades you can have for your computer is an increase in system memory, or RAM.

Until recently, many computers shipped with just 4GB of memory. That's enough for most tasks, but if you work with programs like Photoshop or complex graphics and videos, more memory can be very valuable. An upgrade to 8GB, if your computer can handle it, is relatively inexpensive. If that saves you just an hour or two in a month then it will well and truly pay for itself.

What do you do when your computer isn't running well? Style it to suit your needs and make these simple adjustments before it runs out of gas.


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