I have been asked the same thing by many people. “What should I do on a regular basis to keep my PC running well?” You would think that your computer is a piece of electronic hardware and therefore should just turn on and work, like a lightbulb. However, there are tasks we should perform on a regular basis to keep our computer running at it’s best, like your car. Here are some checklists for regular PC maintenance you can perform, and keep from having to bring someone in to speed up, or worse yet, get going your PC.
- Check for updates to anti-virus and anti-spyware software and their definition files.
- Run a quick anti-virus. (I recommend the native Windows Defender anti-virus software. Often this can be automated within your scanning software)
- Back up critical data (preferably to a separate storage device like a flash drive/thumb drive or external hard drive)
- At the end of the day, close out of all open user programs and log off your PC (shut down is not necessary with today’s energy minded PCs and allows for updates to occur during the night).
- Empty your recycle bin
- Check for updates to your operating system and software (this is often automated by the operating system but it does not always run correctly or install all updates).
- Perform a complete or deep scan of your system with your anti-virus and anti-spyware software. (I recommend the native Windows Defender anti-virus software and Spybot: Search and Destroy anti-spyware. The daily quick scan checks frequently used storage places and operating system files. The weekly complete scan scans your entire system and takes much longer to complete).
- Check for adequate free storage space on your hard drive(s). (You should maintain a minimum of 5 times the amount of RAM (memory) you have free on your hard drive. If you have 8GB of RAM, you should have 40 GB free on your hard drive).
- Use cleanup/repair tool software to examine your registry and make repairs to the Windows registry. (I recommend CCleaner)
- Review passwords and change passwords on sensitive accounts (financial, company records, sensitive information/systems).
- Clear browsing cache in web browser.
- Defragment all hard drives (often automated in newer Windows systems and unnecessary in other operating systems).
- Review installed software and remove what is no longer used or needed.
- With the power off:
- Using canned compressed air, blow dust out of all vents and ports on laptop.
- Open case, vacuum large dust balls out being careful not to touch any components with vacuum.
- Using canned compressed air, blow dust out of fans, cooling fins, and hard to reach spaces, as well as all exterior vents and ports.