Computer maintenance is extremely important. It helps keep your computer running at top performance, it helps make sure that your programs install and uninstall correctly, and it ensures that you have as few errors as possible occur during normal operation.
Without regular computer maintenance, your computer will malfunction. Issues that will occur include low disk space, driver errors, program errors and Windows errors. If you don’t resolve these errors as soon as possible, you will get errors that result in the “bluescreen of death”; these errors render your computer unusable.
To avoid all of the mentioned problems, make sure you perform regular computer maintenance.
There are 5 steps to maintaining your computer:
- Clean up temporary files
- Uninstall unused programs
- Update drivers
- Antivirus Scan
- Malware Scan
These steps are explained in further detail in the following section. We are not affiliates of any of the programs mentioned; we provide these program links as a courtesy to you. Free software links are available at the end of this post.
Computer Maintenance Process
Clean up temporary files
Temporary files are files created by programs to store temporary data. This includes temporary files created when you use Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel or many other programs. Usually these programs also delete their data once you close the program, but they don’t always do this. This is especially true if the program crashes or your computer shuts off suddenly.
There are many programs that can clean up temporary files off of your computer. One of these programs is included with Windows 7, and it is called Disk Cleanup. Here’s how to use Disk Cleanup in Windows 7 to clean temporary files off of your computer:
- Go to Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Disk Cleanup. Click on Disk Cleanup.
- When you click on Disk Cleanup, the cleanup scanning process will begin. This will take a while to finish, so you may want to do something else while it scans.
- When the process finishes, it will display a list of temporary files that it found and the total size of all of the files it found. Select the checkboxes next to the items you want to remove, and then click OK.
- Disk Cleanup will prompt you with a warning box asking you if you are sure you would like to delete the files. Click “Delete Files”.
- Disk Cleanup will begin the cleaning process after you click “Delete Files”. The dialog box that appears will show you a progress indicator, allowing you to see where Disk Cleanup is in the cleaning process. Once the process has completed, the dialog box will disappear and your computer will have successfully removed temporary files.
We recommend that you perform this process monthly. If you would like a program with more advanced cleaning features, check out CCleaner by Piriform.
Uninstall unused programs
The Internet is filled with wonderful programs that allow your computer to play videos, play music, and much more. However, newer programs come out that do these things better and the older programs you have on your hard drive cease use. These old programs take up valuable disk space and can also cause problems with newer versions of these programs. The old programs can even severly crash your computer.
The best way to avoid these problems is to uninstall any unused programs, especially programs that you haven’t used for several months. Note: Only delete programs that you have installed yourself. Do not delete system programs. Here’s how to use Add and Remove Programs in Windows 7 to remove unused programs:
- Go to Start -> Control Panel. Click on Control Panel.
- Go to Programs, and then click on “Uninstall a program”.
- Look through the program list. If there’s a program you have installed but haven’t used in a while, you should uninstall that program.Once you have found the program you want to uninstall, click that program and then click “Uninstall”. Follow the prompts on-screen to uninstall the program.Once you have uninstalled all of the programs you want to uninstall, you may close this window.
We recommend that you check this program list and uninstall unused programs monthly. If you would like a program with better program removal features, check out CCleaner by Piriform.
Your computer’s hardware is extremely important, since it powers the computer’s functions. Windows also needs to communicate with your computer’s hardware in order for Windows to work properly. Each manufacturer has a different way of making their hardware work, and with the large number of manufacturers available, getting this hardware to communicate with Windows quickly becomes complicated.
To solve this problem, Windows has a standard way that it communicates with each piece of hardware in your computer. Manufacturers use this standard to write programs that allow their hardware to communicate properly with Windows. These programs are called drivers.
Updating your drivers is a fairly complicated process, as each manufacturer has different guidelines and procedures that need to be performed in order for the updates to work properly. You also want to avoid using dangerous programs that promise to update your drivers for you, as these programs are usually ineffective and can cause harm to your computer. We recommend that you check for driver updates every month, and update any drivers that are out-of-date.
The I.T. General is experienced with updating drivers across numerous manufacturer platforms. We can assist you with the update process for your computer in order to help you successfully update your Windows hardware drivers. Contact us for more details on how we can assist you.
Viruses are the bane of computer owners everywhere. A virus is a malicious program that harms your computer, sometimes in significant ways. It can delete files, store itself permanently in your computer and spread among all of your e-mail contacts.
Anti-virus programs are programs that not only remove these viruses, but also prevent your computer from getting these viruses in the first place. One popular anti-virus program is Avast! Free Home, which is free anti-virus protection you can download and use on your computer. Anti-virus programs usually come with background Web and File protection that secures your computer from incoming threats. Each anti-virus program also has the ability to do a full scan of your computer for viruses, allowing you to catch latent viruses.
We recommend that you do an anti-virus scan each month; you should do this scan overnight, as it may take several hours for the scan to complete depending on how many files your computer has stored on the hard drive. Do not run more than one anti-virus program at a time, as you will get errors from the programs scanning each other.
At the I.T. General, we are committed to protecting your computer from viruses and neutralizing any threats that may have found your computer. Contact us for more details on how we can assist you with this process.
With the advent of the Web 2.0, we have seen a new category of malicious programs appear. These programs aren’t as harmful as viruses, but they can still perform extremely detrimental actions including capturing keyboard strokes and monitoring your Web activity. These programs are called malware programs, and they are divided into different types: adware, spyware, and ransomware. Ransomware is a recent threat which is extremely deadly; the software has the ability to encrypt all of your local files and render them useless, while the hacker attempts to extract an exorbitant fee from you for your files.
Anti-malware programs exist that allow you to remove these malware threats from your computer, restoring normal function and ensuring your privacy while browsing the Web. One popular anti-malware program is Malewarebytes Anti-Malware, a malware scanner with a free version available. Anti-malware scanners usually have the ability to scan your full computer for malware and allow you to remove all threats that the scanner found.
We recommend that you check for malware every month. Do not run the anti-virus scan and the anti-malware scan together, as you will get errors resulting from the programs scanning each other. As with the anti-virus scan, run this scan overnight; it may take several hours for the anti-malware scan to complete depending on how many files your computer has stored on the hard drive.
At the I.T. General, we are committed to protecting your computer from malware and neutralizing any threats that may have found your computer. Contact us for more details on how we can assist you with this process.
Computer maintenance is extremely important. It helps keep your computer running at top performance, it helps make sure that your programs install and uninstall correctly, and it ensures that you have as few errors as possible occur during normal operation. By following all of the steps in this guide, you will help keep your computer running at top performance.
Free Software Links
CCleaner by Piriform (free computer cleaner and software uninstaller, premium paid version available): https://www.piriform.com/ccleaner
Avast! Free Home Antivirus (1-year free subscription, renew every year for free): https://www.avast.com
MalewareBytes Anti-Malware (free anti-malware scanner, premium paid version available): https://www.malwarebytes.com/
The I.T. General – Contact Us (If you have any questions about this guide or need assistance with instructions): https://theitgeneral.com/contact/