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Monday was Earth Day, and millions of people are thinking of recycling plastic and paper. Those are certainly important, but equally important is the need to recycle electronics.

E-Waste is a global problem as people toss out computers, televisions, phones, printers, and other consumer electronics. You can recycle those devices, but better yet, why not make the gadgets you have last longer?

Rick Patin, a computer repair technician tells me computers today should last around six years. What’s coming to his shop died before their time. Part of the problem is many people buy cheap computers.

“Those machines, they’re not going to last very long,” said Patin. There’s also a mindset when you buy a machine that is inexpensive, you’re not going to spend $200 to fix it. You’re going to throw it away.”

What he sees are computers that slowed down due to malware or a virus. He can fix those, get them back up to speed with programs designed to clean the hard drives and registry. He recommends Malware Bytes and CCleaner.

“If you’re talking about a general PC, that’s a Microsoft product, you’re going to see mostly viruses and spyware. A lack of updates, Windows updates,” he said.

The latter can be remedied by downloading those updates manually or set it to update on a schedule. Resetting or turning off the computer before you go to bed will take care of that as well.

“Reset or restart your computer once a week,” Patin said. “That allows all the updates to happen. If it’s off, they can’t do that.”

He also recommends that consumers upgrade their hard drives to solid state or SSD. These hard drives do not spin, thus they have a longer life span than older drives.

And before you do anything, back up the contents of your hard drives so you don’t lose precious memories such as photos and videos.