View Full Version : Basic computer maintenance everyone should do

08-22-2009, 02:47 AM
Computers tend to bog down over time. Some simple maintenance every 2-4 weeks (depending on computer use and programs installed) will only take 10-30 minutes, can be performed at any knowledge level and will keep your computer running smoothly. This is fairly basic and something all computer users should do.

Remove programs you no longer use or knew about:
Over time, you may have installed games or utilities that you forgot about or no longer use. Why waste the space? Go to your Start button, and check out All Programs. If there are items you know you do not use, or didn't install yourself....Go to your control panel, Add\Remove programs (or Programs and Features in Vista) and uninstall anything you no longer use. Occasionally you will find a toolbar or other item you were unaware was there! Please let me know if you have any questions BEFORE deleting anything!

Cleaning your hard drive of unneeded files:
One of the biggest problems is hard drive usage. Your hard drive has more moving parts then any other in your computer and is constantly adding, deleting and reorganizing files. Because of this, you want to clean your computers hard drive. If you need a referral to a program, please let me know.

Remove invalid registry entries:
Next up is the registry..it does get large and can contain many invalid references. The registry is not an area for even the average computer user to be playing around in, so please let me know if you have any questions BEFORE deleting anything!

Startup items:
Here is a HUGE culprit on the average PC. If your wondering why you have to wait a minute to use your computer after startup, it is because all of those items are loading after Windows has started. They also use up memory just sitting there. Removal takes a bit more knowledge, or research, but you can do it!
First off, if you know what these items in the tray are and do not need them running, you can either right click an icon and look for options or a "run with Windows" option. Otherwise, you can double click any icon to open the program and look for options from there. Some are easy and common. Quicktime, AOL and RealPlayer are good examples of items that do not need to be there.

Please let me know if you have any questions BEFORE editing anything!

Defragment your hard drive
Now that you have removed all of this garbage, you have fragmented files all over your hard drive. Reading and writing data on a heavily fragmented hard drive is slowed down because the time for the heads to move between fragments on the disk surface can be substantial.
Microsoft includes a disk defrag, but it is widely known that it is not very good. Luckily, quite a few free alternatives are available, please let me know if you would like a referral.

You should also use a malware scanner occasionally just to be sure you did not pick something up, I can also suggest a few fine programs for this. Malware and Spyware can be seen differently to a regular "anti-virus" program, so it is good to make a check for specific mal/spy wares.

System Restore: This needs to be set and refreshed very few months after everything is running good and clean, it enables you to return to a solid point in time on your PC.

File Back up: you can copy your documents / pictures to a CD disk or external storage, as a safety net incase something should go wrong and a reformat is needed, you will have all your favorite things in one place.

Dan Leavens
08-22-2009, 10:11 AM
Cathie good advice and thanks for putting up this thread. Now the trick is to know the difference between a keyboard and a spanner wrench.

08-22-2009, 03:11 PM
Coral, could you recommend those utility programs? I could use a few of them. MS utilities aren't the best, but they include them in Windows. I'd like to use better, especially since they're free. - Dave

08-23-2009, 10:43 AM
I will be breaking the above post up with links and directions, unfortunetly, won't be able to do so until Tues. when I am off work and can spend the time to write it out decently, my apologies.... :o

08-26-2009, 08:31 PM
Better late than never, LOL

CCleaner : a system cleaner that removes unused / temporary files from your system and is a fully featured registry cleaner. Can also manage your start-up programs. http://www.ccleaner.com/

On their homepage you will see in the left column, a defraggler and recuva program, they are both good and easy to use.
I have installed iObit's Smart Defrag and have used it will great success http://www.iobit.com/iobitsmartdefrag.html

Virus protection: AVG has a free download as well as a paid upgrade version. You only need ONE virus protection running at a time. http://free.avg.com/

You can right click on your desktop and create a new folder to use as a back up. right click on your documents/pix folders and scroll to copy - then place the icon on the new folder, right click and paste.
Once you have decided your best/easiest method to save your pix/documents, whether it be an external hard drive, USB storage stick, floppy's or a CD... you can right click on your newly created folder and copy it to your source.
Once that is completed, you can delete that folder if you wish, or just empty it until the next copy session.
I have sources for decently priced storage units.

System Restore: right click on the start tab, select Control panel....select Performance and Maintenance...in the upper left you will see File Types and System Restore - right click on the system restore.
Click on Create a Restore Point after
you have cleaned up your files, registery and done a defrag

While these programs are easy to use, several of the features are a one way street, if you delete something you shouldn't be deleting, you WILL render your machine crippled - if it works at all!
PLEASE, ask before deleting anything.

If you want me to check out your PC from afar download this:
http://www.hijackthis.de/ and save the run results to notepad to send in an email.

I also have a program on my PC that will allow me to remotely fix your computer via the internet, ONLY with your permission, mind you! it is also handy for a demo in case you just don't know how to do something, I can show you the steps, remotely - its purdy fun!

Any Q'z...Please ask away!

05-23-2010, 01:23 PM

The free trial option works very well...

Sometimes its the individual's browser that is throwing off warnings because of the pop-ups ads that run on the free-hosting sites, other-times it can be a written script subjecting the user to trouble...please see my other posting on pop-ups

A person should only be running one scan utility at a time, but having several different types available sure doesn't hurt.

Dan Leavens
05-24-2010, 10:52 AM
Coral thanks for the thread, as it is good sound advice.

10-10-2016, 11:38 PM
I would love to know how you do these below

Cleaning your hard drive of unneeded files:
Remove invalid registry entries:
Startup items: how do you know what is what?


10-11-2016, 01:44 AM
When Coral wrote her post, most computers were running Windows XP. Since then we've seen Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10.

Most computers today are running either Windows 7 or 10 because Microsoft offered a free upgrade for folks with Windows 7.

Cleaning your computer depends on which platform (Windows version) you are using but the procedure is similar. I normally use the anti-virus program provided with my service (Norton or McAfee). In addition, I clean my browser of all history because that slows your computer terribly. Then, I clean and defragment my hard drive using the commands in Windows.

Windows 7 & 10:
To clear your history
Open Internet Explorer. Hit these three keys at once... 'Ctrl', 'Shift', 'Delete' and a pop-up window will appear.
If you want more info before pressing the delete button, click on the lower LH corner of the pop-up that reads, 'About deleting browser history'. Each check-box will be explained but the most common ones are automatically checked. Use them.

If you have not done this in years, it might take a minute to complete but you will notice new life in the speed of your computer.

Maintaining your hard drive
Hit the 'Windows' key or click on the 'start' icon. Then slide down the list on the left to 'W' and open 'Windows Administrative Tools'. Two programs appear, 'Defragment and Optimize Drives' and 'Disk Cleanup'.
If you hit 'Defrag..." the program may take time to appear because it is busy analyzing your drives. The more drives you have, the longer it takes. Mine took 30 seconds.
These programs always ask before making any changes (something I like). Do them both but I normally do a Disk Cleanup first, then a Defrag.

If you need help, call me @ 248-544-8834. Call after noon eastern time. - Dave

10-11-2016, 08:58 AM
My son tells me to use the free version of CCleaner periodically. It's worked for me.

10-11-2016, 10:31 AM
If you do not have really good knowledge of working with the Registry, it is not a good idea for you to get into it and try to fix things. You could mess up your Registry to the point where it will not work. One thing you could use is the free version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware software. It does a good job of cleaning up a lot of malware and the Registry it seems. As for the Startup, I will leave that to Dave or others with better knowledge than I have.