Keeping a computer working good as long as possible is the idea. Even though I make a living from helping other people with their computer problems I would much rather see people preventing problems before they happen. Believe me when I say that a computer that doesn’t cooperate or behave like it’s supposed to is just as frustrating for me as it is for you.
There are some basic practices that can help keep your computer healthy so you don’t have to hit that “I’m Going To Throw This Thing Out The Window” point. Your computer rarely fairs well with that experience. So following some standard maintenance practices not only will save you from frustration but might just save your computer’s life.
Desktop and Laptop Computers Pretty Much the Same Deal
Whether you own a desktop or laptop computer following the standard maintenance practices pretty much give you the same results. Most of the maintenance for a computer is software. That is keeping Windows and your other programs behaving like they’re supposed to.
Some of the easiest ways to help are:
- Update Windows and Other Software
- Keep Windows Files Under Control
- Keep Your Browsers Clean
- Back Up Back Up Back Up!
Update Windows and Other Software
There are primarily two reasons that Microsoft and other software companies release software updates and patches. The first reason is to fix problems that have been found and make the software work better for everyone. The second reason and really the most important, is to get rid of any problems that allow others to do bad things to you or your computer.
Viruses and Malware are a Multi Billion dollar business and those who profit from it will find any weaknesses they can in order to get access. Keeping your Windows and other software updated makes sure that any problems are fixed as soon as the computer community has found them. This includes those programs like Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash and Java.
Microsoft has updating built in for Windows and it is usually turned on by default. This doesn’t mean that you are going to get all of the updates out there or that something isn’t going to go wrong. It’s a good practice to go in at least once a week or so and make sure that your Microsoft Windows is updating and that your computer is all caught up.
Keep Windows Files Under Control
I’m not talking about going through your hard drive and deleting any files or pictures that you don’t think you need. Microsoft Windows uses a Temporary or better known as Temp space to make things work. These temp files are anything from program commands, pictures that you have had opened, and all types of other information. These temp areas can become extremely large and also cause your computer to slow down.
In fact those “One Button Fixes All” type programs that promise the world usually help you most by just cleaning out those temp files. Save yourself $50 and either get a free program like cCleaner or just set up a schedule for yourself and clean them manually. Windows even has a program built in that will do it for you when you tell it to.
Keep Your Web Browsers Clean
A majority of the problems people have are usually stemming from their web browser. Programs like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome and others have a few features that attempt to make things better for you the user but also make it easier for the malware and adware creators.
Firefox and Internet Explorer have what are called Add-Ons and Google Chrome has what is called Extensions. These are basically the same thing. They are mini programs that can run inside of them to add features inside of the web browser that either don’t exist inside of the web browser or are difficult to use.
These Add-Ons and Extensions are perfect gateways for malware and adware creators to take control of your browser or cause it to do things that make them money. Some of the more popular tricks of the Malware and Adware trade are to insert ads into web pages, redirect(hijack) your web surfing using the Add-On and Extension area of your web browsers.
Web browsers also use their own Temp area to help make your web browsing faster. These temp areas are usually controlled in size but can cause problems for you or slow you down when you are attempting to use the Internet. Keeping your web browser clean of unwanted or unknown Add-Ons or Extensions and the Temp files clear can help you have a faster and more calm web experience.
Don’t Fall Into a Fall Sense of Security
Don’t allow yourself fall to a false sense of security. Even when certain protections are in place like Antivirus protection and Surge Protectors maintenance is still needed.
Surge protectors for example should be replaced every six to twelve months. The total protection they are rated for is a Total Protection not a Per Surge protection. What this means is that every time you have a surge the amount of jules it protects you from is subtracted from its total protection until there is nothing left and it is just an extension cord. Many people loose printers, hard drives and more because their surge protector had stopped offering protection years ago and they just didn’t know it.
Antivirus programs offer protection. Unfortunately most people that have them think they are safe. Unfortunately this makes them more likely to be one of the over 1 Billion computers in the world that are infected. It is important to check behind your Antivirus programs regularly to make sure that nothing has slipped by. Remember, if your Antivirus doesn’t tell you that it is there then how will you know?
If some of these things seem overwhelming then it might be a good idea to get a PC Helper. Someone that is knowledgeable about how these types of things work and can lend a hand. Even someone that can take care of you when things do go wrong.
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