Over time a computer can slow down due to the buildup of data stored on your computer, PUPs (potentially unwanted programs) as well as air vents blocked by dust in your computer. It is a good idea to practice regular computer maintenance. This checklist will help cover the maintenance that you should follow to keep your computer running as smoothly as possible.
Make a promise to stay on top of your computers maintenance.
1. First and foremost:
Make sure you have up-to-date antivirus and anti-spam programs running. Allow programs to do updates.
Free popular antivirus programs for download:
Most popular anti-spam program:
2. Check your hard disk for bad sectors and errors:
This is probably the most important job on the maintenance checklist because Scandisk checks your hard drive for errors. If there is a problem with your drive
then it can cause problems. It is the media in your computer and stores all of your important data and files. It is always best to perform this check before using the disk defragmenter as the disk defragmenter will not work when there are file errors or hard disk errors.
How to maintain your hard drive and check for bad sectors and errors:
1. Go to the Start Menu
2. Choose My Computer
3. Right click on the drive you want to check.
4. Choose Properties from the drop down menu and left Click on the Tools tab
(see Figure 1) Select check now to scan your hard disk for errors. A box will appear with some choices. Choose to let Windows fix errors automatically. Then press start. It will ask if you want to run this when you restart computer. Answer yes. This utility cannot run while you are in Windows.
3. Disk Cleanup:
This will remove such files as temporary files, the recycle bin, compressed old files, offline WebPages, and downloaded program files.
Go to My Computer - right Click on the drive you want to clean- left Click properties-
then choose disk cleanup.
(see figure 2)
Delete browsing history: You will be amazed at how many files you collect when you browse the internet. Temporary internet files, cookies, history, form data, and passwords. To keep your computer running smoothly you must regularly delete all of this junk. If you are a person that likes the computer filling in your passwords you should probably leave the cookies and the passwords.
To get there
Click on the delete button.
This will take you to a menu like the screenshot. You can choose to delete all at the bottom or you can delete them individually.
4. Defrag you hard drive at least monthly:
Puts all files in contiguous order for efficient disk seek time. Here's how. Go to get there you can go to My Computer > right Click on the drive you want to Defrag > left Click properties > then click tools tab > select Defragmentation It is a good practice to defrag your computer once a month. Figure 1
5. Clean out your email:
Keep the amount of emails you under control. If you need to save emails indefinitely, create a save folder and send them there.
6. Keep your programs under control:
Remove any programs that you do not use or have a trial period that has expired
7. Keep up to date with Windows Updates:
Let Windows updates do its thing because it keeps your computer up to date with security breaches and bug fixes.
8. Register your programs:
Either register your programs or tick the box that says never show this window again. If you leave this unfinished it will be another process that is running in the background, slowing your computer down.
It doesn't just have to be an external hard drive, it could also be a USB flash drive, a
re-writeable DVD disc, a spare hard drive installed in your computer, or even another computer altogether. Remote backup stores your data to an online server. This is very safe and it is automated. I personally use Carbonite for my online backups. It is practical to back up your data files if your hard drive crashes your files will be safe.
10. Cleaning Computer:
Buy a can of compressed air and blow the dust from the fan in the back of your computer. Also blow out any other vents you see. I will cover this more in later newsletters