PC Maintenance Tips

July 17, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

 Here are some relatively quick steps you can take on a regular basis to keep your PC running smoothly.

1. Uninstall programs that you don’t use and don’t need

By some estimates most of us use less than 10 percent of the programs installed on our computers.  Think of the space you could save and the speed you could add by uninstalling programs you don’t use and don’t need. 

To identify the programs currently installed on your computer, use the “start menu”, “control panel” or other feature on your PC to open a list of installed programs.  Some you use all the time and will be keeping.  Some you may not have used in quite a while but still have the backup disks or registration key, so could install again if needed. Others you may not recognize at all.  If you’re uncertain what the program is all about, run a quick internet search for information. 

When you’ve identified the list of programs you don’t want to keep, begin uninstalling them from the control panel.  If you get a message cautioning you that removing the file may affect other programs, you can choose to keep the file or continue to uninstall it.  When you’re finished, you’ll have a cleaner system overall.

2. Clean up temporary files

“Temporary” files are files stored by programs running on your PC, or by Windows itself.  While they’re supposed to be temporary they often stick around and over time will take up space and slow down performance.  They can also pose a security risk if they store details about websites visited or files opened.

Temporary files (and cookies and internet history files, etc.) can be removed manually, although that can be time consuming. There are also programs that can be downloaded and setup to run automatically. Whichever method you prefer, set aside time to clean up the temporary files that are created over time.  Your PC will appreciate it!

3. Setup an anti-virus program to run regularly

No matter how careful you are about the files you download or open, it’s important to install a current antivirus program on your PC or use the package that came with it.  Antivirus programs scan files looking for codes or “behaviors” that signal a potential virus and block or destroy the file.

Reputable firms continually monitor for new computer worms or viruses and update their antivirus software applications accordingly. By maintaining updated antivirus programs on your PC, you’ll significantly reduce the risk of losing data – or your computer – to a virus.

4. Install updates from your operating system provider when you get them

Installing security updates and other important updates for your operating system will keep your PC safer and running smoothly.

If Windows is your operating system, using Windows Update is critical to peak performance.  Turn on automatic updates – this will enable most updates to download and install automatically, behind the scenes.  Sometimes you’ll see an alert notice, indicating you’ll need to do something about a needed upgrade.   To keep your system secure and running as efficiently as possible, don’t ignore the notices.  Check for critical updates regularly.

Frankie OnCall offers consultation and support in these areas.  Please give us a call if you need additional assistance.

Computer House Cleaning

March 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Just as your floors need periodic sweeping, your PC hardware needs periodic clearing to improve performance, safety and security.  We recommend removing temp files, memory cache and recycle bin files monthly.

Here’s how:

Manual Cleaning

Removing temporary files is a quick and easy task.  In just a few minutes, you can free disk space and keep your PC clean of file clutter.

  • Click on Start and then Run. In the text box , type “%Temp%” and click OK. A folder full of files and other folders will appear,
  • To delete these items, use “CTRL A” to select all files and then hit the Delete key. Or you can choose File, Select All and Delete from the menu.
  • If you are prompted that there are hidden files in this folder, just click on OK to bypass the  message.  A few remaining files will not slow your computer.
  • After you complete the above steps, close the window and empty your Recycle Bin, permanently and safely removing these files.

To clear browser cache in Internet Explorer

  • Open Internet Explorer and click on the Tools menu.  Click Delete  Browsing History.
  • Select Temporary Internet  Files, then click delete.
  • If you want the browser to automatically clear the cache whenever you close it, select the Advanced tab. Check the box next to the Empty Temporary Internet Files folder when browser is closed option. Click OK.

To clear browser cache in Firefox 3.5-3.6

  • Click Tools and select Clear Recent History.
  • Choose the time range of cache you’d like to clear.
  • Click on Details and make sure Cache is checked.
  • Select  Clear Now.

To clear browser cache in Google Chrome

  • Click on Details and make sure Cache is checked.
  • On the Under the Hood tab, click the Clear Browsing data button.
  • Select the Empty the cache check-box.
  • You can also choose the period of time you wish to delete cached information using the Clear data from this period dropdown menu.
  • Click the Clear Browsing Data button.

Software Download

There are many applications you can download from the Internet to complete your computer house cleaning.  We recommend CCleaner and Defragler.  When you run these programs monthly, you can keep your computer in tip-top shape.

Frankie OnCall

Not a DIYer?  No problem.  Frankie OnCall can install and set up a “Run Monthly” option for you.  You can choose to run it or we can run it for you remotely.

Squeaky Clean Mouse

February 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Is your pointer jumping when you scroll with your desktop mouse or laptop touchpad ?  The problem could be anything from food and smoke  to skin oils and pet hair. Don’t panic.  Simply follow these instructions for safe cleaning.

Use a lightly dampened soft cloth to remove any obvious dirt, fingerprints or smudges.

Apply rubbing alcohol to a  cloth and wipe down the touchpad or mouse to remove dirt.

Look at the underside of your mouse and carefully remove any dirt with a dry cotton swab. Spray with a can of compressed air to remove any additional debris.

Check for touchpad driver updates. Click the “Start” menu and select “Control Panel.”  Then select “System and Security” and check “Device Manager” under “System.”  This can fix any errors in the current drivers.

Adjust the touchpad sensitivity. In the “Control Panel” select “Mouse” and adjust the sensitivity settings.  If you use a mouse pad, wash it by hand with warm, soapy water.  Let it dry thoroughly before using it again.

Keyboards Promote Bacteria Growth

January 20, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s true!  A University of Arizona study commissioned by the Clorox Co. found that the office desktop had 400 times more bacteria than the average office toilet seat. Prevent your computer space from being a bacteria breeding ground by following these suggestions.

Clean your keyboard

First you will need a can of compressed air, a lint free cloth, Q-tips, and some isopropyl alcohol.  Before cleaning, shut down your computer and unplug the keyboard.  Then:

  • Turn your keyboard upside down and shake off any large debris.
  • Using a can of compressed air, spray air around and under the keys.
  • Use Q-tips with a couple of drops of cleaner to remove drink and food spills by gently wiping each key and between the keys.

Cleaning your monitor

  • Turn off the monitor. A dark screen makes it easier to see dirt and oil.
  • Use a dry, soft cloth (we suggest microfiber) and very gently wipe the screen.
  • If the dry cloth does not completely remove the dirt or oil, do not press harder to scrub it off.  Pushing directly on the LCD screen can cause serious damage.
  • If necessary, dampen the cloth with distilled water or with an equal ratio of distilled water to white vinegar.
  • The plastic edge around the screen can be cleaned with any multipurpose cleaner but take care to avoid contact with the screen.

Computer cleaning don’ts

  1. Don’t use paper towels, toilet paper, tissue paper, or something like your shirt to wipe the LCD screen. These non-ultrasoft materials can scratch the screen.
  2. Don’t use cleaning products that contain ammonia, ethyl alcohol, acetone, toluene, ethyl acid, or methyl chloride. These chemicals can yellow the screen or cause other problems.
  3. Never spray liquid directly on the LCD screen or keyboard.  Put cleaner directly on to Q-tip or cleaning towel.

Keeping your computer clean not only removes unwanted bacteria, it also protects your investment by extending the life of your PC.

Virus Removal

October 18, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

There is nothing worse than a virus-infected computer. Let’s talk about how to clean up your PC of viruses. Read more

Just like a car, computers need tune-ups

October 7, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Malware
After some months of not working with a long time client, Lynne called one evening while she was out of town on holiday. Her computer was throwing off a number of strange messages and then crashing. She was frantically trying to get her email for a business transaction that was coming to a close the next morning. Read more

Networking

October 3, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Whether in your home or business, efficiency equates to the ease in which your systems share data. Read more