Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tech Tip: PC Maintenance

Time to switch gears... here's a quick reference on what you should be doing to maintain your PC:

  • Defrag regularly, unless you have an SSD. If you are running Windows XP or Windows Vista, you need to set this up manually, or use a tool such as Diskeeper. If you have a solid state drive, do NOT defragment your disk. That just creates unnecessary wear and tear on the drive.
  • Use CCleaner to clear your browser cache and to remove temporary files from your hard drive.
  • Make sure you have a virus scanner installed. Make sure it is up-to-date. There is no right choice about which software to use, but pick one and keep it updated. Never install more than one virus scanner, though!
  • Back up your data regularly. Consider using an online service such as CrashPlan to automate the backup between your computers and to the cloud.
  • Remove unused software. Do you still have applications installed on your computer that you no longer use? Get rid of them to free up resources.
  • Periodically check for updated drivers for your hardware. Also check for updates to the software you use regularly. Hardware vendors and software publishers are constantly fixing bugs, fixing security issues and adding new features. You may not need every version, but it is a good idea to update drivers and software frequently.
  • Clean your fans and exhaust vents. Get rid of those dust bunnies. They will build up in desktops and laptops. Just be careful about static electricity when working on your computer. If you have any doubts about how to do this safely, take your computer to a professional for cleaning and maintenance.
  • Check your laptop battery and consider replacing it. Don't replace it every year as the manufacturer suggests, but replace it when you notice your run time on battery is significantly shorter than when you first got the laptop. A good rule of thumb is every 2 to 3 years, unless you use the battery frequently, and then you may actually need to replace it every year or more frequently.. Make sure to recycle your old batteries.
 Do you have a question about these tips, or have a tip of your own to share? Leave a comment on this post below.

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