With any vehicle, there is the need for required maintenance to be performed to keep it running at its best, which is also true with the computer, and though your life isn’t in danger if you forget, your pictures may be. Regular PC maintenance is important to keep your computer running at its best and to help keep your data safe. This article will show you what steps you need to follow to keep your computer running better and longer, without costing you a lot of money. Many people are afraid they will mess something up, but just follow these steps and your computer will appreciate it.
Software/OS Maintenance – Once every week to once per month based on usage.
Virus Scan: You should scan for malware on a regular basis. Most Anti-Virus programs will do this automatically. Check your settings to adjust if and how often it scans for malware.
Remove Temp Files: Temporary files clog up your system, use system resources, and make a good nesting ground for malware. Temp files can be stored by the system or by the browser as cookies or downloaded items.
To clean temp files from the system open Disk Cleanup, Start> All Programs> Accessories> System Tools> Disk Cleanup.
To clean temp files from Internet Explorer (IE), open the browser and under Tools > Options you want to Delete Browsing History. With Firefox, open the browser and under Tools > Clear Recent History.
There are also third party programs to do this and work quite well. I commonly use CCleaner, which is free to use, available for download here.
I also recommend Advance System Care Free by IObit which does many things at once, including spyware removal, Registry cleaning, a privacy sweep, deletion of junk files, system optimization tools, detect spyware, and defragment your disk. Advance System Care Free is available for download here.
Defrag Hard Drive: As a hard drive stores files, those files will stay together. Over time the same files can become fragments that spread out into different parts of the drive. In order to reconnect the files and make the hard drive operate better you need to keep the files together and organized. Disk Defragmenter is the windows tool to do this. Start> All Programs> Accessories> System Tools> Disk Defragmenter.
There are also third party programs available. I commonly use Smart Defrag by IObit. Smart Defrag is available for download here.
Data Backup – Once every week to once per month based on usage.
I cannot stress this point enough. Make sure you are backing up your data. I’m sure you don’t want to lose those pictures of spring break or your child’s first steps. If they are not backed up and your computer crashes, there is a good chance that the data cannot be recovered and if it can, it is quite expensive. Take my advice, back it up. External Hard drives are relatively cheap, portable, easy to use, and a great way to create a backup of your data. Most external hard drives come with data backup software to help you do this. You can also do it manually, my preferred method, by copying the information you want from the computer to the external hard drive.
Hardware Diagnostics – Once every 6 months or sooner based on symptoms.
It is very important to run hardware diagnostics on your computer as preventive maintenance. Why? Because if you can catch your hard drive failing before it completely gives out, you have the chance to back up your data first and save those memorable pictures.
Remember, if you have any questions join the Forums.