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Computer Maintenance Tips

In order to keep your computer as trouble-free as possible, perform these simple steps periodically to keep your computer’s hard drive free of errors and your system hardware free of potential conflicts. Performing these steps on a healthy and malware-free computer will definitely save you money in the long run.

Daily Maintenance

Perform an Incremental Back Up – perform an incremental back up of your most important information (such as My Documents, Email/Address Books or your Quicken/Financial data) and its subdirectories. We recommend that you either manually perform this daily (or each day you use the computer). Better still, have GEEK911 assist you in setting up an automated backup solution. Installing a secondary hard drive is an easy solution for this and can be a real life saver. For notebook users there are other easy options that are similar. It is the best computer service you can hire a professional for.

Weekly Maintenance

The basic software tools for keeping your system humming are Disk Cleanup, Scan Disk, and Defrag (explained below). Before running Defrag, the other 2 steps should be performed first. Be sure all programs are closed when performing these steps.

Disk Clean Up – The disk Clean up should be performed weekly and will delete all of your unused and unwanted files. it will also delete your garbage and old internet files. Just click on Start, Programs, Accessories, and then System Tools and then Disk Cleanup.

Delete .tmp files that have been created prior to the current day. It will surprise most people to learn how much hard drive space has been used by .tmp files. Delete files that begin with a tilde(~). Again, make sure that all your application programs, such as word-processing, spreadsheet, and graphics programs, are closed first since sometimes the temporary file you are currently viewing do use a tilde(~). If the application programs are closed, the tilde files can be deleted. Some users find they have a lot of these on their systems!

Delete old .zip files. Users tend to unzip the files but then leave the zipped file on their computer.

Scan Disk – Use the scandisk program located in your system tools under Accessories to check for any possible problems with the logical configuration of your hard disk(s). This can not only speed up your machine but spot potential errors as well. The easiest way to find this utility in all Windows Operating Systems is to go intoMy Computer and click on the drive you want to scan. Then right click on it and click Properties. Then click Tools.

Disk Defragmenter – this utility helps you increase performance and reclaim lost speed of your system. Over time, files get scattered all over the hard drive and then get moved, deleted, copied and so on and fragments of unused space get left over. It then takes longer for your system to look up information because it is looking over Defragmenter will put all of the pieces back into their original package. This should be performed every couple of weeks. To Defrag a hard drive just go to Programs, Accessories, and System Tools. Select the Drive and click Start. If you have rarely done this, it can take a very long time, even overnight but the results will be remarkable in most cases.

Monthly Maintenance

Speed Up Your Web Browsing – Check your browser history and cache files. Periodically delete the cache files and history files then reset the history files to no more than three days unless you specifically need to store that information longer. By freeing up the cache, downloads from the Web actually speed up since there is more space available to store the temporary files.

Windows and Driver Updates – If it is not set automatically for some reason, you should perform Windows Updates and install any vital security patches and updates. You can also update any drivers for your hardware. These are important steps. If you have never done this, and/or are on a dialup Internet connection, it can take quite some time.

Put Your Back Up To The Test – The back up files cannot be depended upon. Restore files from different folders — you are primarily looking for the ones that are expendable. If you are unable to restore them, you need to examine the backup software or the actual backup media itself (hard drive, CD, etc)

Quarterly Maintenance

Clean the Computer! In dusty climates especially, dust is a big enemy of computer circuitry. A can of compressed air will blow out dust buildup. It’s amazing how much dust can collect in a computer over time.

Most people prefer a professional for anything that involves the inside of a computer and if your machine has not been cleaned inside please do get a professional to do so, but for those do-it-yourselfers here is what to do:

Air blowing out the inside of the computer has a couple of pitfalls that must be addressed. First, since the pressure is much higher with canned air, don’t direct the air at an unsecured fan. It can damage it. Try using a pencil erasure to hold the fan down and keep the fan from turning while you clean out the power supply and CPU. Blow out the power supply from the inside out first, or you’ll get tons of dust blown into the computer. Take the computer to a place that doesn’t mind the dust, outdoors preferably.

Clean the CD drives and the floppy drive. Use a floppy drive and CD drive cleaning kit. It consists of a cleaning disk and a bottle of solution that you apply to the disk. First, apply the solution to the cleaning disk. Second, insert the cleaning disk into the drive. In some locations PCs are located in areas where the drive collects quite a lot of dust and grime, so canned air alone does not remedy this problem.

Also remember to clean the keyboard. With the power off, tip or turn the keyboard upside down and carefully use the palm of your hand to strike the keyboard several times. You’ll be surprised how much junk will fall out.

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