Just because I build websites, some people seem to think that I know EVERYTHING about computers. I guess in some cases I may know more than them and seeing as I always make a point of not scaring people with tech speak, I’m an easy target. I don’t mind if it’s something quick and easy I can help with. And there are a number of things that really are very quick and easy which everyone should be doing on a regular basis when it comes to general computer maintenance and best practice.
1) Deleting temporary files and cookies – The more time you spend on the Internet the more temporary Internet files you accumulate. These files can congest your Internet & put a lag on your general computer usage. You should delete these files from time to time, to do this follow these three simple steps below; Right click on your Internet Explorer icon & choose “Internet Properties”. Under the heading “temporary Internet properties” click on the “Delete files” button. You now have the option to delete all offline content which will further free up your system. Also “Delete Cookies”.
2) Defragmenting your hard drive/s – Nowadays defrag does not play such a huge role in the user communities as it used to years ago.
3) Windows Update – if you are operating on Microsoft Windows (and it is a legit copy!) you should also regularly run an update so it can check back with Microsoft as to whether there are any
4) Virus check – Viruses, Trojans, worms, spyware and malware aren’t the most lovable “insects” that can attack your PC. If by any chance your computer is already filled with one or more of the aforementioned bugs, I’d advice reading the following two articles: “How to Stop a Virus in Windows” and “How to Remove a Virus in Windows.” Most people run a full disk scan for viruses once a week. Please ensure you set your program to perform this task regularly. Any viruses found should be quarantined and/or deleted.
5) Run “chkdsk” on a frequent basis – Check out the official Microsoft documentation that explains how to use it here. I’d recommend running it with the following parameters: (Replace C: with the required drive letter.) chkdsk C: /f
In the above example “/f” stands for “fix errors.” You might also use “/r” because it represents “locates bad sectors and recovers readable information” if you have issues.
6) Remove unwanted applications/programs – Open up Task Manager (CTRL + SHIFT + ESC), navigate to the “Process” tab and check for process names that sound a little bogus. Keep in mind a lot of them can be processes that are necessary for Windows to work! So, if you think that one of them is bogus and unwanted, I’d recommend doing a quick Google search on it. Research and be amazed. Use Start -> Run -> “msconfig” -> “Startup” tab to eliminate applications that start upon booting up your system and you are absolutely sure that your system does not need them. Check out the picture below to see where exactly you disable them…
7) Keep your desktop nice and clear – Although it’s fine to save files to the desktop as a temporary measure, make sure you go back and file them or delete them at a later stage, as too many files on your desktop will slow you down.
In addition you should make sure that:
1) You have storm surge protection on any plugs relating to a computer you’d prefer not to fry in an electrical storm.
2) You switch your computer off completely after use so it gets a proper shut down and restart at least every 24 hours.3) You have some kind of back up system where you either burn your hard drive to a USB, CD or DVD (DVD’s hold more) or separate external hard drive on a regular basis. How regular is really dependent on how often you are working on your machine and how much you have to lose. Perhaps another way of looking at it is, if you were to lose everything on your machine tomorrow could you survive? If that’s the case back up daily! Copies of your back up should be stored off site in case of fire.
4) You have spyware protection as well as virus protection. A good one to get if you haven’t got it already is:
5) The area around your computer is clean. Dust and pets can cause havoc!
6) The computer isn’t situated in direct sunlight or in a damp area where it can overheat or get so damp it chokes up.
A great article with more information on this topic can be found here: