TOTW: five thrifty ways to improve the gear you have


Date: 11 January 2013

Piggy bank - cheap IT tipsIf money is tight but you're looking for ways to improve the performance of IT equipment in your business, try these five thrifty tips:

1. Improve Android smart phone battery life

As the battery in your mobile phone gets older, it becomes less efficient, so you have to charge it up more frequently.

If you use an Android smart phone (like the Samsung Galaxy S3 or Sony Xperia T), these two apps will help you use your battery efficiently:

  • JuiceDefender manages your phone's settings to squeeze the most out of its battery, by turning off power-hungry functions like Wi-Fi and 3G when you're not using them.
  • Juice Offender does the opposite, draining all the power out of your battery as quickly as possible. Why? Because completely discharging your mobile battery once in a while will prolong its life.

2. Put your laser printer into economy mode

Most laser printers have an 'economy' or 'toner saving' mode. You can usually find this in the settings - in our case it was accessible via the printer's web-based control panel.

This mode reduces the amount of toner the printer uses. Usually, print quality is still acceptable, and your toner will last quite a bit longer than usual.

3. Create a power saving policy

Setting your computer screens to switch off after ten minutes of activity, and putting computers to sleep if they've not been used for an hour is a good way to reduce your power bills.

You can change these on an individual computer by going to power options in your control panel.

Alternatively, use the Group Policy feature in Windows to apply power saving settings to all the computers in your business. This requires a little technical knowledge though.

Read more power management advice >>

4. Use a network management tool

I really rate Spiceworks, a completely free tool that scans your network and shows you exactly what's installed on each computer.

It's a painless way to build an IT inventory, get network alerts and super-helpful if you're in charge of providing IT support in your company.

5. Power up your computers automatically

If your computers take some time to boot up in the morning, save yourself a wait by scheduling your computer to switch on a few minutes before you get to the office.

You may have to delve into your computer's BIOS settings to do this (it's a bit techy but nothing to be afraid of). There are some good instructions over on Lifehacker.

(Piggy bank image: Flickr user Images_of_Money.)

What does the * mean?

If a link has a * this means it is an affiliate link. To find out more, see our FAQs.