Spinning Jenny: PC Maintenance

PC Maintenance
maintain... maintain...

Hello friends. Is your computer tired, run-down, listless?
Does it poop out at parties? Is it unpopular?

Fragmentation, malware, disk errors, dust and clutter can all cause computer irregularity — sluggish performance, program crashes and unexpected shutdowns. Join the thousands of happy peppy-PC people now! Begin a computer maintenance regimen today.

Dust. Shut down your computer and take the side panel off. Uck! Get a can of compressed air and blow that suffocating dust away. Overheating from poor air circulation can and will cause sensitive computer parts to malfunction or die prematurely. Might want to take it outside...

Defend against malware (malicious software). You're on the Internet.
You need an anti-virus program. Pick one (never install more than one) that updates itself and scans automatically. We assimilated use freebie Microsoft Security Essentials. Then get an anti-spyware program. Ad-Aware is simple to use and also free.

Keep your software up-to-date. Windows Update can be found in Control Panel and on the Start menu. Even if set up to download and install updates automatically, Windows Update does not automatically download and install optional updates. Those you have to do manually.

FileHippo has an Update Checker that will scan for updates to many Internet programs you might have installed — Flash Player, Java, QuickTime, WinZip, Firefox — the list goes on and on.

Back up your files.

Scan for disk errors. Disk errors can cause Windows to malfunction. And while error checker doesn't fix all computer software problems (I wish), it's a place to start when programs start to misbehave.

1.  I cannot stress this strongly enough:  Restart your computer once normally before running error checker! Hit the restart button. If Windows shuts down and restarts with nothing in between — no Windows updates, no error messages, no anything but an uneventful shut down and restart — then you're good to go. If your Restart/Shut Down button shows updates are waiting to be installed, install them first. After updates are installed, restart your computer once normally before running error checker! Don't ask me how I know.

2.  Schedule a disk check.

Open My Computer.
Right-click C: drive. Left-click "Properties" at the bottom of the popup menu.
Click the Tools tab. Press the "Check now" button to check the drive for errors.
Put a checkmark in the box to "Automatically fix file system errors." Leave that other box BLANK! If you're very young, forget I said anything.
Click the "Start" button. If/when told the disk can't be checked while in use, click the "Schedule disk check" button.
Repeat for any other drives you have installed. For internal drives (does not work with USB drives), cancel "force dismount" then schedule a disk check . Close all open screens. Save your work and close open programs.

3. Restart your computer. Don't touch the keyboard. CHKDSK will scan your computer and fix any errors it finds.

Back up your files.

Clean up clutter. Temporary files, bad shortcuts, programs you don't use any more, registry errors, and useless startup programs take up drive space and/or slow your computer. CCleaner (Crap Cleaner) is a nice program for cleaning up the mess. Windows also has a built-in Cleanup utilitiy — Start menu/All Programs/Accessories/System Tools/Disk Cleanup or Computer/Drive Properties/General Tab.

Defragment. Fragmentation slows  your computer down. And the more fragmented your drive gets, the slower your computer becomes. Windows does include a defragmenter which is why I bought Diskeeper. Defraggler is free, can be set to automatically defragment, and lets you defragment individual files.

Back up your files.  Don't just do something, sit there!