Computer Maintenance for Better PC Performance

April 11, 2010

Over time even the best of computers will slow down and lose performance.  Follow these simple computer maintenance tips to get the best from your PC.

Never turn off your computer using the power switch

Turning off your computer using the power switch may result in hard drive defects.  The only exception to this would be if your computer locks up completely.  Rebooting your computer using the Ctrl+Alt+Delete buttons (twice) is always the preferred option over holding down the power switch.

Create an automatic maintenance plan using Window’s System Tools.
By going to system tools (Start-All Programs-Accessories-System Tools-Task Scheduler) you can set your computer to run the following maintenance tasks automatically.   (These tools are also available on some Anti-Virus programmes such as McAfee and Norton).
Disk Clean Up                                             Run Weekly
Disk Defragmenter                                       Run Monthly
Backup
The most important of all your maintenance tasks.  Again Windows has it’s own backup program (System Tools) as do Norton and McAfee, depending on your software.  Always backup to an external drive such as a zip disk, CD/DVD or memory stick.  It is time to backup again when you have created anything you can’t afford to lose.
Purchase a UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply)
Superior to a surge protector, a UPS will protect your computer from almost any type of power disaster such as power outages, electrical storms, high and low voltage surges.
Keep at least 400-600MB of your C drive free if you use Windows XP or Vista
Otherwise Windows will start dumping data to your hard drive, or slow your computer significantly.  300MB free space is sufficient for older versions of Windows.
Delete old software
Periodically uninstall software no longer used (Control Panel-Add/Remove Software).  By using this uninstall method all traces of the software are deleted out of your registry files etc.
Minimise the number of programs in your startup
Too many programs in your startup (Start-All Programs-Startup) will slow your computer down when you turn it on and use valuable memory.  Programs currently running on your PC can be found by going to your Task Manager (Ctrl+Alt+Delete) and clicking on the Applications Tab.
Run your Virus Scan regulary
Everyone should have a virus checker running.  Make sure it is scheduled for automatic updates to ensure you have the most current protection and that your computer is regularly scanned for viruses. 
There is also free Virus Protection software (such as http://www.trendmicro.com/) and Ad Aware software which checks for malicious spyware and cookies which will slow down your computer.
Firewall Protection
Especially essential for those with a high speed connection, a firewall program will keep hackers from gaining access to your system, stealing your connection and running your computer.  Windows has its own Firewall program as does Norton (Personal Firewall).
For a comprehensive maintenance plan for your PC, contact me today.

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