Green computing is becoming big as a lot of businesses and individuals try to minimize both their carbon footprint and ultimately their costs. But did you know that if you have an outdated slow computer you are not helping the planet one bit? That’s because slow computers need more energy to perform even basic tasks. Fortunately, it’s possible to make home and office computers more energy efficient without having to replace them. Here are some essential green computing tips to help you.
1. Use Energy Star devices
Energy Star is a government program designed to help individuals and companies protect the environment by using energy efficient devices. Manufacturers earn the Energy Star label by meeting a set of requirements and passing an array of tests. Basically, the Energy Star label means that the device is environmentally friendly.
Unfortunately, a lot of businesses and home users still use outdated devices that are not certified by Energy Star. This means that these devices are not energy efficient. Now, if you don’t feel like parting with that old printer of yours just yet, it’s OK. Just make sure that you purchase an Energy Star certified printer when the time comes.
2. Take advantage of Windows Hibernation
Sad as it is, a lot of people never bother turning off their PCs when they are not using them. And some businesses don’t like powering down office computers even at night and during weekends. As a result, computers consume energy that could be saved and also suffer from performance degradation. While powering down some office computers is not an option (like powering off data servers is not a good idea), it is possible to at least use hibernation on typical office and home computers.
Hibernation is easy to enable on an XP machine (just go to Power Options in the Control Panel), but enabling it on Windows 7 is a bit more difficult. Here is what you need to do:
- Click on Start and type CMD in the search box
- Press Ctrl+Shift+Enter to open the Command Prompt with administrative rights
- Now type powercfg /hibernate on and press Enter
- Exit the Command Prompt by typing exit
- Now type Power Options in the Start menu search box and hit Enter. You should be able to find and enable the Hibernate option.
3. Make sure your RAM copes
If your computer doesn’t have enough RAM, it will have to rely on the page file and use more energy to operate. If installing more RAM is not an option, you can use ReadyBoost on Windows Vista and 7. ReadyBoost allows you to use flash memory as an addition to your physical memory, which will help your computer run faster and more efficiently. Enabling ReadyBoost is very easy, as you should see the option straight away when you plug in a flash drive. If you have AutoPlay disabled, then you can enable ReadyBoost by right-clicking on the flash drive in Computer.
In addition to using ReadyBoost, you can free up RAM by disabling unneeded startup items via msconfig. Just be careful and disable only the entries you recognize.
4. Disable Windows services you don’t use
By default, Windows runs dozens of different services. A lot of them are never needed by home users and some of them are not needed for office use either. Disabling unneeded services will free up system resources and make your computer more energy efficient. You can configure services by typing services.msc in the Run box and follow Black Viper’s services optimization guide.
5. Perform regular PC maintenance
In many ways, energy efficiency is dependent on the performance of your computer. If you have a slow computer that has never been cleaned up or defragmented, it needs a lot more energy to operate. That’s why cleaning up computer junk like temporary files, keeping it up-to-date and defragmenting the hard drives can save power.
Follow these simple tips and you will reduce your carbon footprint along with your electricity bill.
Guest post by Liz Cornwell. Liz Cornwell is an experienced writer who currently works for Auslogics Software. Auslogics makes software to speed up and clean up your slow computer.