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.