Declutter Computer Cables

Picture of a USB to USB C cable. Text overlay: Declutter Computer Cables

Declutter Computer Cables - EXP Technical founder, Patty Sather.

In this video excerpt from EXP Academy, Patty Sather gives a lesson on cable management.

If you have ever wondered, "How can I declutter my workspace? What are best practices for cable management?" or even, "What is the difference between USB 2 and USB 3?" this lesson is for you!

Here is the video and transcript:


Declutter Computer Cables

I'm going to spend a few minutes showing you how to organize your computer cables.

The first thing we're going to do is shut down the computer.

Now I'm going to go around to the back of the computer and assess what cords we have plugged in.


Cable Management for Peripherals

And in this case, I definitely know I don't need this old hard drive because everything backs up to the cloud now and is stored in the cloud. So I don't need local backup.

Speakers? I'm going to keep, although I use headphones mostly so I'm just going to keep the speakers but I'm going to reorganize the cables.

And the other thing I can do that I see here is I can route the cables through this cable management port on the monitor, so that'll be a nice thing to take advantage of instead of having all these cords come up separately.


Network Cables

So I’m going to look at the back of this computer and ask myself if I know what each thing is and if there are things that I don't know or if there are things, like the network plug for example…

Sometimes there could be two network plugs. In this case there's one cable and one network jack. If there are things that have multiple plugs, I’m going to mark those using masking tape and a sharpie or I might use this really handy labeler that I have to label the different things so that I can look at them later.


Cable Management to the Monitor (DisplayPort vs HDMI)

OK, so now I’m going to take a look at how my monitor is connected. I see that there's two cables here and I’m sure that in this case I don't need two cords.

OK, so I’ll just take a second to talk about these cables really quick.

I have two types of cables here that are both will run the monitor. I have an HDMI cable here and this one is a DisplayPort. And if you look at them closely you can see there is just a small difference between the two, but the DisplayPort is generally preferred, so I’m going to go with that one, although it doesn't matter. They can both carry a video and audio signal so I could essentially just eliminate one of those cables.

OK, so the other thing about the video cables is when if you look at the back of the computer you can see that they're labeled back here. This little symbol is the DisplayPort symbol and down here you can see the HDMI symbol, so I actually do not need to label these.

They're also… Since the plugs are different you can't plug them into the wrong place.

One other thing I want to mention about the video display ports is… or the video ports is we have these on this side which is essentially the motherboard. The motherboard has a built-in display port and HDMI port. Actually, it has two display ports one there and one there.

This computer also has an add-in graphics card which is in a slot on the motherboard. So this is a probably a more powerful display system and you could use these just these display ports here. And this is a DVI port on that add-on graphics card but if you unplugged from this display port, I would recommend plugging it back into the same display port because there might be a reason why it was not using the graphics adapter.

You certainly could try the graphics adapter and it may or may not work but make sure you mark the display port that you took the cord from so that you can have it back into the same place or you can plug it back into the same place right there on the motherboard.


Label Cables and Ports

OK, so I’m going to use my labeler to print out a couple labels for the back of the computer and I would say the easiest way to do that is to make a “one” for the port and a “one” for the cable. And a “two”—if you have multiple things—a two and a two, a three and a three etc. If you don't have a fancy labeler like this, you can use tape and a sharpie—works great. OK and then I can just use scissors to cut these up and label my cords.


Cable Management Front to Back

So the other thing I’m noticing on this computer is there are some things that are plugged into the front and some things that are plugged into the back. So I think, depending on the application, some… it might be better to have things plugged into the front or back. In this case, I think those will be adjusted so I’m gonna…


A Fresh (Clean) Start

My next step is going to be to put my labels on and unplug everything and then I can get a fresh start with plugging in just the things I want in a better and more organized way. I like to use this Velcro™ and I buy it in bulk for organizing cables because it keeps things tidy, and you can also cut it to custom lengths for whichever cables you're tidying up or organizing.

While I’ve got the computer cords disconnected, I’m going to use this can of air to clean out the back of the computer, OK so I’m going to use the canned air to spray out the fans and the ports. I can see there's dusk, dust! There's dust packed into some of these ports and into the fan so I’m going to clean it out with the air.


Routing Cables

OK so now I’m just routing these cords so the cords that are on the desk or the devices that are on the desk are going to go through the monitor…the monitor cable management…thing and down to the PC. So one thing you can do is you can… Some monitors allow you to turn them. So I can turn this to the side so I can see my ports better. Here's my display part I’m just plugging it in easily and making sure that it goes all the way in and then I also need my monitor power cord.

OK, and this goes into my display port number one. Here's my computer power cord…keyboard and mouse which are USB. I’m going to choose the top two USB ports for the keyboard and mouse.


One thing to be aware of with USB is there are different speeds of USB and these the top two for the keyboard mouse are USB 2 and down here I can see that these USB ports are USB 3. They're labeled with “ss” which I think means “super speed” because they're significantly faster than USB2.

And then I have my network cord which goes here there's only one network port on this computer, so I didn't have to label that.


Get it Together

And now I’m going to use my handy dandy Velcro™ to hold my cords together. “Velcro” is a brand name like Kleenex™ but they are actually “hooks and loops.”

That's much better!

I’m sure my computer is going to be much faster now that it's all nicely organized!

Thank you for watching. I hope you learned something that will help you with your own computer.



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This video is an excerpt from EXP Academy.

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