You don’t need to be an expert in cars to know that the oil needs to be changed on a regular basis. Computers also need regular maintenance to increase functionality and lifetime.

  1. Update and run spyware and antivirus programs: Antivirus applications typically load in the Windows tray so you can easily see if they are running when you start your computer. The programs should be setup to perform updates every day and system scans once a week. There are free spyware and antivirus applications available that are easy to use. Find one that best fits your needs.
  2. Uninstall programs that you’re not using:  Your PC probably has a lot of applications and data that you don’t need, such as temporary files, cookies, and pre-loaded trial software that is scattered throughout your system. Programs can be uninstalled by going to the Control Panel, Add or Remove Programs, and selecting the program you want removed from the list. A free tool called CCleaner can be used to remove unused files from your hard drive and clean up online history.
  3. Practice safe computing: Pay attention when downloading an application. Many times these programs try to install additional applications, such as a toolbar, onto your computer. Read the popup screens and uncheck all the additional applications you don’t want. Immediately uninstall the program if it slips by you. Also, don’t accept downloads that you didn’t ask for, and delete any suspicious emails without opening.
  4. Keep it neat: Use the documents function to keep all important files in one space. Not only will this make things easier to find, but it’s easy to back them up all at once. Move all personal files off the C: drive since a large number of files could corrupt the disk file table and delete the original zip file after you’ve expanded it. Neat computers also run faster.
  5. Defragment once a month: Even if your files are neat in the documents folder, overtime the files will get fragmented and spread all over the hard drive. It’s important that these files are gathered back together into a single file to make your system faster. You should also run a Check Disk test once a month to find and repair problems on your computer. Windows has both of these tools built into its operating system.

See? You don’t need to be an expert to keep your computer running at its best. If you still want to bring it into the shop for maintenance or a repair you can’t handle, bring it to your local computer repair store and let the experts take a look.