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Computer Maintenance Checklist
When you first got a new computer and it was running like clockwork, I bet the thought of a huge computer maintenance checklist never entered your mind? The thrill of the new machine over powers you, but unfortunately after a few weeks of pleasurable use it becomes slower due to the buildup of data. This is why everyone needs to follow a computer maintenance checklist that will hopefully cover all the maintenance jobs that you need to keep your computer running smoothly. After all, we all just want the same thing, a computer that is reliable and runs smoothly.
This computer maintenance checklist below is for maintaining the internal workings of the computer. There is also the external maintenance which involves cleaning dust from the inside of your computer, maintaining your computer components, and a whole lot more.
#1. Set a system restore point to start your computer maintenance checklist:
When you first get your computer, I highly recommend to set a system restore point. Even before you start this computer maintenance checklist you should set a restore point. This will ensure that your computer will always be one click away from solving a problem.
#2. Remove unwanted and junk files
Windows helps you get through your computer maintenance checklist by providing system tools that help you clean your computer and keep it running smoothly. There are two main ways to delete files safely with the help of Windows.
#3. Disk Cleanup
This will remove such files as temporary files, the recycle bin, compressed old files, offline WebPages, and downloaded program files.
To get there you can go to my computer>right click on the drive you want to clean>choose properties>then choose disk cleanup.
#4. 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. Am I joking? No this is serious. 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.This is an important part of the computer maintenance checklist as these files are hidden from you and you may not be aware that you are even creating them.
To get there open Internet Explorerand Go to the tools menu at the top>choose Internet Options>On the General tab>next to the heading browsing history>click on the delete button. This will take you to a menu like the screen shot below. You can choose to delete all at the bottom or you can delete them individually.
#5. Keep your programs under control
Remove any programs that you do not use or have a trial period that has expired:
There is nothing worse than having a nagging message come up saying that your trial period is over. You are wasting your computer time and energy. There are two options here, delete the program or buy the full version. If you go to Start->Control Panel->Programs and Features you will have the option of uninstalling unwanted programs.
#6. Secure Your Computer
Anti virus software:
Always have a good antivirus software installed. The free ones do work occasionally, however you are better off paying for an antivirus that has backup support and regular updates.
If you don’t have the real deal software you are putting your computer at risk. People have tampered and altered this software to make it work illegally and who knows what they have added to it. This software can also very easily do weird things to your computer.
Downloading from unknown sources is dangerous because it is highly likely that you will end up with a virus. If you are downloading a program it is best to make sure it comes from a reputable software manufacturer. Do your research and you will save your computer some stress.
Websites that offer things that are too good to be true or have XXXX content usually can give you a virus or a tracking cookie the instant you visit this site. the best way is to stay away from these sites.
If you are not sure who has sent an email and it has an attachment, do not open it, delete it. If it really is important the person will resend it to you. I received one to my personal email saying ‘here are your credit card records you requested…etc etc’ I was really temped to open it but I knew it wasn’t from my bank. I just wanted to see if they really had my credit card number, but I deleted it.. They wanted me to open it.
#7. Clean out your email
This may be over done, however, if you delete an email in Outlook express, it then goes to the deleted folder. Then you have to deleted it from there. Some programs then take that email to the recycle bin, where it has to be deleted again. I know it sounds crazy, but it does happen. Email archiving is not just for business. Everyone should backup their important emails and not store unnecessary junk. You can ignore this step in the computer maintenance checklist, however like everything else, if you do it will eventually build up.
#8. Have an external drive for instant backup
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. If you instantly backup you files to another device you will have less maintenance to do on your computer. You will not be clogging your computer up with files and data and if your computer crashes your files will be safe.
#9. Keep your computer organized
You are probably wondering why this is on a computer maintenance checklist, however it can be very important. Being organized helps you keep track of files and folders. This way you will know if you need a particular file on your computer or not? You can backup or delete un-wanted files and just store the ones you really need. Keeping your computer neat and tidy helps you with the backup process. This way you know where everything is and can copy it easily.
#10. Check and clean your registry from errors
You will probably have to buy a program for this or have a professional take care of it for you. Most registry programs will automatically fix registry problems and prevent your computer from crashing or freezing due to hidden errors.
#11. 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 hard drive then your in trouble. It is the main component in your computer and stores all of your precious 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. See more on How to check your hard drive disk for bad sectors and errors.
Here’s how to maintain your hard drive and check for bad sectors and errors:
These instruction also work for Windows Seven and Windows Vista. Go to My Computer and right click on the drive you want to check (most likely C:). Then go to Properties->Tools. From here you can check your disk.
#12. Clean your computer case
You are probably thinking ‘why would I want to do that?’. Well you want to clean inside your computer to remove dust and dirt from the components. Make sure your power is off and the computer is unplugged and you are properly grounded. Never use a vacuum to clean out a computer case. Always use compressed air. This is an important part to the computer maintenance checklist. Power supplies often blow up from being clogged with dust and processors usually overheat and die. It is a very common cause of hardware failure, and therefore prevention is better than cure.
For more tips and advice, please feel free to contact the BITS Team at 440-478-0102.