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Preventive Computer Maintenance Checklist: 7 Tips that Will Increase the Life and Performance of Your Computer

ABC Computers on January 18, 2011 in Blog

Performing regular computer maintenance is essential to keeping your computer fit and fast. But there are some things that most people don’t think of as maintenance that may be critical to the future health of your computer. Remember always that where computers are concerned, Murphy’s Law is just as important as Moore’s. Here are 7 tips that will increase the life and performance of your computer:

1. Redundancy is the Key to a Healthy Computer

When you put together your new computer system, design redundancy in from the beginning. Having a raid array so that you don’t depend on one hard drive, backing up your essential files to more than one storage in more than one location, and set up task scheduler to regularly run system restore points and ghost images of your system to ensure that you have more than one way to restore your computer in the event of a problem.

But if you don’t have the luxury of starting from scratch, or you have to depend on a laptop which can’t support raid, some of these things can be added on. Backups and ghost images can be performed onto an external hard drive or tape drive, and also onto a cloud server. If one is corrupted or destroyed, you’ll have the other. And three backups are better than two. Always.

2. Perform Consistent Hard Drive Maintenance

Scandisk, defragmentation and file cleanup performed on a consistent schedule can increase the life of your main hard drive and keep your system optimal. Yes, most of us know this, but how many of us actually do it? Either automate these tasks using task scheduler or schedule them some other way, then make sure it all gets done when it’s supposed to. And make sure it gets done to all applicable hard drives.

3. Keep your Drivers Up to Date

Whether you do this through Windows Updates or through your computer vendor’s notifications, keep all the drivers for your hardware up to date. Sometimes drivers are updated or altered to take advantage of or to react to OS updates, so keeping them fresh helps your system run better.

4. Keep your Operating System Patched

Performing regular updates to your operating system makes sure that your software is running optimally and securely. If you’re one of the folks who doesn’t want to give Windows the opportunity to brick your box by enabling automatic updates, then at least set it to notify you when there are updates available so you can install them yourself after ensuring they will operate optimally.

5. Run an Effective and Up to Date Internet Security and Antivirus Program

In an ideal world, an Antivirus program shouldn’t need to be mentioned. Nonetheless, how many of us have gotten roped into fixing a relative’s computer only to find that their wide open box is totally owned by some Robot Network and is cranking out spam emails at an alarming rate?

Before opting into another yearly antivirus subscription, do check and see which of the antivirus companies are getting good ratings. This often changes from year to year, and you want to use the top rated AV for that year. This is almost guaranteed to change next year as the hackers will always target the top rated and most widely used AV programs.

6. Run Periodic Online Antivirus Scans

Some of the trojans out in the wild will turn off your antivirus program yet make that AV appear to be running normally. Running an online antivirus scan from a company website other than that of the antivirus you have installed will ensure that no one has snuck in a back door. And no matter how good your antivirus is, none of them are 100% effective. Using a different online scan weekly is a form of insurance.

7. Use your Ears

Ears are one of the most underrated computer diagnostic tools. You can hear when your computer’s CPU fan is cranking at top speed, so that’s a good time to ask yourself why, especially when you’re just sitting there wasting time playing solitaire. Open the task manager and see if there’s something going on that you should know about.

Follow these 7 tips and you’ll increase the longevity and performance of your computer; ultimately saving you time, money and countless hours of frustration!

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