Maintain your own PC with FREE software:
1 - DAILY: First, clean up (delete) your cookies, temp files and temporary internet files. I prefer to use Ccleaner (available at www.filehippo.com) to do this, rather than the built-in DISK CLEANUP, as I feel it does a much more thorough job - for example, it will clean out the index files on your next reboot.
If you want to use Disk Cleanup, you can find it if you:
- Double-Click on My Computer to open it up
- RIGHT-click on your C: drive
- Choose PROPERTIES and then click on the DISK CLEANUP button
Delete these files every day or run Ccleaner every day right before you shut your computer down.
2 - DAILY: Update and run your Anti-virus program. Google the programs you are currently using for mal-ware protection to ensure they, themselves are NOT mal-ware!!! FYI - I like to use "Ad-Aware", "Spyware Blaster", "Spybot, Search & Destroy", "Malwarebytes" and "Superantispyware", all of which are FREE and can be downloaded from ww.download.com Be careful of "look-alike" programs, with similar names to known good programs. If you need a good FREE anti-virus program, I prefer AVG, Avira or Avast, also available from www.download.com. For all of these programs you will need to download, install, update and scan, one at a time.
3a - MONTHLY: Check the main hard drive free space - it must be 25 percent free or it will slow your computer down.
3b - If 25 percent or under free space, move less needed files to a CD (make 2 separate copies!) and delete from hard drive. Also uninstall programs no longer needed, via Add/Remove programs
3c - MONTHLY/QUARTERLY: Get rid of all unneeded programs via Add/Remove programs. ONLY remove programs you have installed yourself that you KNOW are not needed for Windows to run. It is better to be less aggressive with this, than more! Always reboot your computer after deleting several programs.
4a - MONTHLY: Check what is running in your Systray (by the clock). Use MSCONFIG to turn off all programs NOT needed to run all the time. For example, you don't need your CD burning software to run *until* you need to burn a CD - at which time the software will start by itself. Ditto for Adobe Acrobat! Then re-boot the computer for the changes to take effect.
4b - Some of this can also be accomplished using Task Manager. Right after a reboot, open Task Manager and check for all running processes. Make a list of them! You should have less than 40 running at startup for efficient operations. At 40 and over you can have significant slowdown. Google all you are unfamiliar with and keep notes for yourself. When you find the computer slowing again, you can compare your new list of running processes to the original list and go from there.
5 - MONTHLY: Run Error-checking THEN Defrag. DO NOT RUN DEFRAG WITHOUT RUNNING ERROR-CHECKING FIRST! If you have a bad hard drive sector, you can hose your computer!!
** ALWAYS delete your temp files (see Step 1) before proceding.
You can find both of these programs by opening My Computer, right-click on the the C: drive, choose Properties. On the TOOLS tab is are two buttons, one for each program. When you run Error-checking, make sure you check both boxes to automatically fix file system error AND scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors.
6 - MONTHLY: Keep up with security updates for your installed programs. Go to http://secunia.com/software_inspector/
and use their online scanner to check for updates for any of your installed software. Be sure to check the box marked Enable thorough system inspection. When done, it will give you a nice listing of your programs that have known security updates, with links to go download/install them.