PC Maintenance

Regular maintenance on your personal computer is crucial to keeping it running at optimal performance. In this tutorial, we will show you how to perform a few tricks to keep your computer out of trouble and running properly.

 

Weekly:

Scan Disk:
To make sure your hard drive is in good condition, and minimize the risk of corrupted files through hard drive errors, you should perform a Scan Disk operation. This program come with your copy of Windows and is very helpful in finding and fixing hard drive errors.To use Scan Disk from:

- Windows 2000, XP and 2003; open My Computer, right-click the hard drive you wish to scan, and select Properties. Click the Tools tab, then the Check Now button. You have two checkboxes, one to Automatically fix system file errors and the second to Scan for and attempt to recovery of bad sectors. To perform a thorough scan your hard drive you show select both, however, the time to scan will be increased.

-Windows 98 or Me; select Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Scan Disk. Once again you have the two checkboxes, one to Automatically fix system file errors and the second to Scan for and attempt to recovery of bad sectors. To perform a thorough scan of your hard drive you show select both, however, the time to scan will be increased.

Antivirus:
The are many computer viruses going around on the Internet, and being infected by one can cause many different problems on your computer. Therefore, to reduce the risk of catching one and eliminate any that could already reside on your computer, you should use an antivirus program and also keep the virus definitions up to date. Updating the virus definitions should be explained with your antivirus software. For this section, we suppose that you are using a antivirus program. However, if you are not, we suggest Avast Home Edition which is free for personal use (you must go through a free registration to get a serial number to update the virus definitions).

Adware and Spyware:
When you surf the Internet, advertisement on some websites can actually install certain programs on your computer called Adware and/or Spyware depending on what the program does. Adware are usually unwanted programs that install themselves sometimes directly for a website or come with shareware/freeware software downloaded from the Internet. Spyware is used to collect information about your Internet browsing in order to display related advertisements in you web browser. These program use up system resources, causing your computer to run more slowly on program that you actually want to use. To scan your computer to see if you have any adware or spyware, we suggest using Ad-Aware Personal Edition that is free for personal use.

 

Monthly:

Defragmentation:
After a lot of use, the files on your hard drive that get displaced and no longer be in a continuous order. When this problem occurs, your computer need more time to find the files, therefore you computer is slower. Luckily, there is a program included with Windows that can fix that program, Defrag. To use Defrag from

-Windows 2000, XP and 2003; open My Computer, right-click your hard drive, and select Properties. Click the Tools tab, then the Defragment Now button. A window opens showing you the hard drives available for Defragmentation. To see how fragmentated your hard drive is, select a hard drive and then click on the Analyze button. However, if you want to defragmentate straight away, select the hard drive and click Defragment

-Windows 98 or Me; select Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Disk Defragmenter. A window opens showing you the hard drives available for Defragmentation. To see how fragmentated your hard drive is, select a hard drive and then click on the Analyze button. However, if you want to defragmentate straight away, select the hard drive and click Defragment

Backup:
To be on the safe side, it is important to backup important files to a safe location (usually off the computer) in case a disaster strikes your computer. You can store the crucial information on diskette, cd, dvd, external hard drive, flash drive.. and the list goes on. It doesn't really matter which method you use, as long as you perform the backup. If you have very important files that you use often, you should back them up much more often then you would backup the other files.
Here is a list of files that should be backed up under Windows 2000, XP and 2003 periodically:
C:\My Documents
C:\Windows\All Users
C:\Windows\Application Data
C:\Windows\Desktop
C:\Windows\Favorites
C:\Windows\Local Settings
C:\Windows\Profiles
C:\Windows\Start Menu
Any other file that you consider important or that is used frequently.

Recommended Tools and Software:

Here are a few extra program that can help you to clean up your computer and also protect it from outside dangers. We recommend these products.

All-in-One Maintenance Tool:

Iolo System Mechanic 5 Professional
"System Mechanic® 5 Professional is a totally integrated suite of powerful PC tools that will keep your system running smooth, fast, and error-free. Solve stubborn and frustrating problems and prevent them from reoccurring; automatically maintain your computer for peak performance, speed, and reliability; protect against viruses, hackers, trojans, e-mail worms, and Internet threats; eliminate dangerous spyware and malware parasites; ensure personal and Internet privacy and security; recover lost or deleted files, documents, photos, music, and e-mail; and much more!" Iolo

Firewall Protection:

ZoneAlarm
"Easy-to-use firewall blocks hackers and other unknown threats. Stealth mode automatically makes your PC invisible to anyone on the Internet." Zone labs

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