Tips Involving Maintenance to a Computer

There are some very important PC tips that are helpful to any computer user to keep a computer running as efficiently as possible.

Make sure Windows critical updates and service packs are installed and up-to-date. You can set up Windows updates to download and install automatically or just to download and let you choose when to install. Another one of many PC tips is to make sure you have antivirus software and that your signature updates for that antivirus program are up-to-date. Make sure your Windows firewall is turned on to protect your computer from being backed and/or personal data from being compromised.

Other important tasks that need to be performed on a regular basis include a disk defrag. A fragmented hard drive can slow a computer down significantly. Disk defrag is used to improve hard drive performance and time it takes to access data stored on the hard drive. You can perform this by clicking “Computer”, find the drive letter of the drive you want to defrag, right-click it, choose properties, tools, and disk defrag.

On the general tab of properties, you can perform a disk cleanup. Your hard drive needs to have at least 15% of free space. Performing a disk cleanup deletes unused files to make more disk space on your drive. Not having enough disk space can cause problems booting the computer up, along with other problems. Check your hard drive for errors by performing a scan disk. A scan disk is a utility that checks and repairs file systems and bad clusters on the hard drive.

Make sure you run antivirus software. A virus often tries to hide itself from antivirus software and even sometimes blocks computer users from downloading and installing antivirus software if the software is not already installed. Antivirus software needs to be installed, running in the background, and checked regularly for updates since there are always new virus coming out.

Most antivirus software checks for adware and spyware; however, a software that is designed specifically for detecting malware usually does a better job with getting rid of spyware and adware. It is a good idea to have antivirus software along with an adware or spyware removal program.

Another one of many PC tips for computer users is to check the computer for performance warnings. Go into Advanced Tools in the Windows Experience Index windows and view any performance issues that Windows can find. With Windows XP, you can use the Computer Management Console and click Event Viewer. You can also run a performance monitor on your computer by going to start and typing perfmon.

Three of the most critical items to monitor with performance monitor are the processor percentage time, memory: pages/sec, and physical disk: average disk queue length. Your processor time should average less than 85%; your memory: pages/sec should always stay under 20 and your disk queue length should always stay below 2.

Another important maintenance task is cleaning Windows startup. As a part of regular maintenance, you need to check on the startup programs and make sure they include only the necessary ones. Programs in the startup process that are not necessary can slow down the boot up of the computer and slow the overall performance of the computer. You can launch msconfig in the search box and hide all Microsoft services in order to view the other programs that are in your startup. It is important to understand that taking a program out of startup does not delete the program; it just keeps it from launching while your computer boots up.

PC Tips – Useful Tools
Other useful tools in Windows include the device driver roll back, computer management, event viewer, last known good configuration, memory diagnostics, and safe mode.

Device driver roll back can be used to replace a driver with one that worked before the current one was installed. Last known good configuration is accessed by pressing F8 at startup and selecting it; this tool is used when Windows cannot start normally and you want to take the system back to before a Windows setting, driver, or application was installed that caused problems.

Computer management can be accessed from the control panel or by entering compmgmt.msc at the command prompt; this tool is used to access several snap-ins that manage and troubleshoot a computer. Event viewer logs and error messages should be checked regularly for error messages. Event Viewer can help you find and correct many problems with hardware, system, and security.

PC tips and tools also include memory diagnostics, which first became available with Windows Vista. This tool is used to test memory. Safe mode can be used when Windows cannot start or starts with errors. Safe mode loads the Windows desktop with just minimum items. You can use safe mode to solve a problem with a device driver, corrupted or malicious applications, display settings, and other problems.