It doesn’t matter if you’re an IT graduate or a novice user with a brand new computer; whether you use a computer at home or in the office, you need to at least know some basic maintenance and other preventive measures to keep your computers and networks running smoothly and at optimum performance levels.

Remember that as you use your computer and connect to the Internet, allow other people to use your computer, or share files with others, you should take steps to maintain and protect your computer. The main reason mostly cited for Internet users is that there will always be computer criminals or hackers who attack computers. These people can attack directly, by breaking into your computer through the Internet and stealing your personal information, or indirectly, by creating malicious software to harm your computer.

A properly maintained computer will also provide you with substantially higher speeds, both via RAM and on the Internet, regardless of your hardware setup and configurations. Again, remember the Second Law of Thermodynamics states that all systems atrophy or degrade over time.

Clean out all the junk left behind by browsers

To do this, you can use the Disk Cleanup utility included on the Windows systems, or download a freeware program such as CCleaner to do it for you. Cookies and cache left behind by browsers can amount up to gigabytes of wasted space, so it is imperative they’re deleted.

Search and destroy spyware, malware, and viruses

There is a myriad of tools available to do this. You can download them from the Internet (make sure you download from a legitimate source or site) or you can obtain the services of a technical support company to make sure you get the right kind of protection.

Defragment your hard drive monthly

Defragmentation puts back together fragmented parts of the hard disk drive that gets separated due to file saving, copying, and deleting. All Windows OS include a defragmentation utility to automatically defrag your system during periods of inactivity.

Uninstall programs you no longer use, and delete anything you don’t need

Get rid of programs you don’t need and use. Delete music, documents, pictures, and anything else you don’t use and need anymore. The more free space your computer has, the faster it will go. You’ll be surprised how much space you’ll free up and how much your computer’s performance will increase.

Use your computer’s disk management systems

For Windows, select Performance and Maintenance, and then choose “Rearrange items on your hard disk” and “Free up space on your hard disk.”

Always run your computer on a UPS

This will help protect your computer from electrical surges. Phone lines for modems and cat 5 or cat 6 network lines also need surge suppression as your network card or modem can be taken out in an electric storm.

Regularly dust out your computer

Your computer can grow dusty in less than a year, depending on where it is stored. If it’s not too dusty, then check every few months, but if your house is super dusty, then be much more proactive. Remove the dust on the bottom with a vacuum or cloth, and then spray with compressed canned air. Pay special attention to the CPU heatsink and CPU fan. Hold the fan still while spraying it as you can cause it to spin out and on reboot it may have more noise. Spray the intakes to the power supply fan also. Since you have the cover off, reboot and listen for any noise coming from the fans.

Scan Everything

You should treat all downloaded files and anything that passes through your network with utmost suspicion. It is important that you run protective security software or antivirus software. You should also scan your computer periodically with a malware tool to ensure you haven’t unwittingly installed any spyware on your system. You should perform a virus scan using updated antivirus software on any file you download before you execute or open it. It may still be possible that it could contain malicious code that your antivirus vendor is unaware of or does not detect.

As the saying goes, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist, or in this case, a genius computer professional to keep your computer running smoothly and at maximum performance.

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This entry was posted by Staff Writer on Friday, June 27, 2014 at 5:04:23 PM and is filed under Tech Tips & Tricks.

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