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Maintaining Computers

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Before we do any tweaking it is very important to do the following

Backup!, Backup!, Backup!

Anti-virus utilities

computerstudies_antivirus.jpg

Make sure that your PC is clean of spy ware. There are lots of free programs on the web that will do the job efficiently

Ad Aware www.lavasoft.com

Spybot www.safer-networking.org

Check your PC for viruses. You can download free Anti Virus by AVG here free.avg.com

Microsoft's Security Essentials is also free to download Microsoft's Security Essentials

Keeping Windows up to date

Always keep Windows up to date with all the latest security patches, updates, and service packs, to do this go to Start/All Programs/Windows Update this can also be set to do this automatically

Removing unwanted files

Run the Disk Cleanup utility regularly to clean out all the junk files left behind from surfing the internet, temporary internet file and any other files left in the Recycle Bin, this can be accessed through Start/All Programs/Accessories/System Tools or from My Computer/Right click on the drive you want to clean select Properties and from the General tab click on the Disk Cleanup button.

To clean the Registry try CCleaner by Piriform this is a freeware utility you can download from www.ccleaner.com always be careful when cleaning the Registry you don't want to delete something that is needed in the Registry so always use with caution

You can also use the System configuration utility tool to sort out any problems with start-up programs this is accessed by going to Start/Run/and type in msconfig in the dialogue box.

If you need to see your system information for information about hardware resources, components this can be accessed by going to Start/Run/and type in msinfo32 in the dialogue box, it can also be accessed by going to Start/All Programs/Accessories/System Tools/System Information.

Error Checking

As you use your hard drive, it can develop bad sectors. Bad sectors slow down hard disk performance and sometimes make data writing (such as file saving) difficult, or even impossible. The Error Checking utility scans the hard drive for bad sectors, and scans for file system errors to see whether certain files or folders are misplaced. If you use your computer daily, you should try to run this utility weekly or monthly to help prevent data loss. To run the Error Checking utility.

Important: Be sure to close all files before running the Error-Checking utility.

  • Click Start, and then click My Computer.
  • In the My Computer window, right-click the hard disk you want to search for bad sectors, and then click Properties
  • Click on the Tools tab
  • Click the Check Now button
  • In the Check Disk dialog box, select the Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors check box, and then click Start

Defragmentation

It's important is to defrag your HDD once in a while. I usually do it once a month if you're heavy PC user like me. By running a defrag once a month you will extend the life of your Hard Drive as well as speed up the access to applications

To run a defrag

  • Go to Start/All Programs/Accessories/System Tools/Disk Defragmenter
  • Hit Analyze first to determine if you need to run it at this time
  • Hit Defragment if you want to run it right away

Defragging your Hard Drive might take a while depending on how big your Hard Drive is

Uninstalling Unwanted Programs

  • Click on Start and go to Control Panel Double click on Add or Remove Programs icon
  • Find a program that you know that you don't need and click on the program once. Then click remove button. Follow the instruction and Program will uninstall itself

Cleaning up unwanted start-up programs

Many freeware and commercial software programs have a habit of setting themselves up to run automatically upon Windows start-up. This can contribute to the gradual decline in start-up speed that most Windows 7 systems (and Windows PCs in general) experience. Also, having programs that you only use selectively, or not at all, load automatically is a waste of system resources that could be better used for other things. To top it off, many internets nasties such as spyware programs, viruses and Trojan horses will install themselves into one of the automatic start locations on your system in order to make sure that they are run on start-up. So the point is take a look at what is currently running every time you load you're PC, and disable what you don't need or can't identify.

  • Click on Start and go to Run
  • In the box type in msconfig and hit Enter on your keyboard
  • Once System Configuration Utility pops up click on Start Up tab
  • By examining filenames and directories here you should be able to determine what is necessary and what is not to start up during the boot process
  • Uncheck all unwanted programs and click Apply and then click Close
  • You will be prompted to restart your PC
  • Restart your PC

Flushing DNS

It is really important to do some maintenance on the regular basis if you want get lot out of surfing the web. Depending on how much time you spend on surfing it is a good idea to clean your DNS cache once in a while. I suggest doing this every month if you are using internet more than two hours a day. When you visit a website, Windows tries to speed things up by placing the DNS information about that site, into a DNS cache on your PC. This is OK until there are problems with outside networks (WAN), DNS servers or even the website!

DNS Windows cache stores BOTH negative and positive entries. The positive entries are those that the DNS query was correct and you could connect to the website. Negative entries are those where the DNS query failed and you could not connect to the website.

A problem can arise here because if the DNS cache holds a negative entry and the website you want to view is now OK to view, Windows will still give you a DNS error!

To flush those DNS entries

  • Click on Start and go to Run
  • In the box type in cmd (the command prompt black square window will pop up)
  • on the blinking cursor type ipconfig / flushdns and hit Enter
  • The Next thing we' re going to do is get rid of your temporary internet files and cookies
  • Go to control panel and select Performance Information and Tools select Open Disc Cleanup
  • Select the options to remove and Delete the Files

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