Computer Maintenance is the practice of keeping computers in a good state of repair. I properly maintained computer can live well beyond its “life expectancy.” Computer Maintenance can come in two forms. The first is by physically cleaning the computer itself and the second is by cleaning the “virtual computer.” The Virtual computer is everything inside your computer, system files, documents, programs, etc. Here is a good list of tips and tools you can use to maintain your computer.
- Virus Protection: Install an antivirus program to protect yourself. There are many programs that are available to help protect you from the viruses that are created every day. As long as the program is updated on a regular basis you will find you are taking the right step in the right direction.
- Applications: Every application and utility is prone to security risks. The developers of these applications may find a security hole and patch it, if you don’t have the latest version you may find yourself open to an attack. Remove unused programs. If you haven’t used a program in a long time then it’s likely that you don’t need it. Many unused programs can account for free space that is not available to you because you have a program that you installed a year ago.
- Clear Temp files and other unnecessary files: When you use the Internet a copy of every web page you visit is stored. This is helpful as it allows for faster viewing later on down the road. Since this is space taken up at least once a month you should consider clearing the temporary internet files, internet history, and cookies off of your system. Here is how to delete this information on the three most used browsers.
- Maintain Data Integrity: At least once a month you should check your hard drive for errors by using two simple solutions. The first thing you are going to do is a defragment of the hard drive. By defragging the hard drive you are telling the program to go find all these pieces and put them back together. By making them whole again and regaining that single file you may even notice that specific file is noticeably faster and other aspects of your computer may speed up as well. The next tool you want to use is a Check Disk. The check disk will look at the disk volumes and see if it finds any problems, if it does it’s going to try to fix them for you.
- Backup: How important is your data? The more important your data is to you the more you back it up. Generally a once a month backup solution works for most people. However, all critical files should be backed up as regularly as you change them. There are many programs that allow you to back up your data to either CD’s, jump drives, or online storage. You should review the different options and find what’s best for you.
- Windows Updates: Windows pushes out updates on a regular basis. Check your settings within windows to verify you are downloading and installing these updates as they are coming in. Critical windows updates can save you from any issues you may end up experiencing.
- Empty Recycle Bin: When you delete something it’s not gone forever it goes to a recycle bin and stays there for a while before it auto deletes or you tell it to remove it forever. Generally this is a really good safe fall. You never know when you may accidentally delete something that you really need and you find it there. Once a month though you should consider reviewing everything that is in there and deleting everything that you will never need again.
- Clean the surge protector: For starters if you are not using a surge protector go get one. A surge protector can save your investment in case of a power outage that causes a burst of electricity. If you already have a surge protector check it for any damage a damaged surge protector is just as bad as not having one. If the surge protector has exposed wiring it should be replaced immediately. If the surge protector is in working order then it still needs to be cleaned ensure the plugs that you use to connect your computer are free of dust and debris.