I just want to welcome aboard Rob Boirun who will be a new contributor here at WindowsObserver.com. He and I are both PC Pitstop Tech Talk contributors and Rob plans to bring great insight for us relating to a broad spectrum of tech subjects. Good to have you here Rob.
We all know that the average computer user hardly even knows what the word computer maintenance means. When people buy their first computer there should be an instruction manual with it showing how to care for it. When people neglect their computer too long the computer bit comes slow and can even sometimes come to a screeching halt. This is when people often call up a computer technician which ends up costing them more money than they thought.
If computer maintenance had been performed regularly in the first place, there is a 90% chance that you will not need a computer repair guide to fix your computer. We all know that caring for and maintaining anything will make it last longer.
When you are a home computer user, it is very important that you learn how to perform computer maintenance. It is not rocket science because there are many free instructions available on the Internet. Therefore you have no excuse about avoiding computer maintenance.
Home Computer Maintenance Steps
Below I have listed a number of computer maintenance steps that you can use at home to cleanup and maintain your computer. let’s start by dividing the computer maintenance jobs into two sections.One will be the hardware and external parts of the computer and the other will be the internal workings such as the file system and domain brain of the computer.
Let’s start with internal maintenance
- Get rid of all unwanted and unused programs. In the Windows Control Panel you will find the “add or remove” icon for Windows XP or the “programs” icon for Windows Vista and Windows 7.
- Remove all files that you know you created and do not want any longer. Do not delete files that you did not create.
- Make a backup copy of the files that you do want to keep on an external hard drive. External hard drives are very cheap to buy now days and there is no excuse that you have not backed up your files. Another cheap option is to take smaller amounts of data (under 4.7GB) and burn it to DVD discs.
- Remove hidden files such as temporary Internet files and so on. If you have Windows you can use disk cleanup to do it. You will find this program in your start menu> accessories folder> system tools> disk cleanup.
- Defragment your files to get them organized in the right position on your hard drive. You will find this program in your start menu> accessories folder> system tools> disk defragmenter.
- Update programs that need you to be updated. Also make sure the your antivirus software and your Windows is always updated. In theory, you should be left with a computer with no files cluttering it up at all. The files should also now be or organized and programs should open faster.
To provide external computer maintenance you will probably need to open up your computer case and regularly clean out the dust from inside. You must be careful with this, even though it sounds like an easy job, breathing in dust can be dangerous. This job is usually performed by a professional because breathing in the dust is not the only danger. You could also damage computer components by transferring static electricity through your body to the parts of the computer. This is why a computer repair guy will wear a antistatic strap.
The “backyard techie” or “DIY techie” way of avoiding this dilemma is to touch the internal metal part of the computer case and this will release static electricity held by the body. If you forgot to do this and went to touch a computer component first, you would release the static electricity to the computer component and possibly destroy it.
I definitely recommend seeking safety advice when opening any computer. After you have done this you can now start to get rid of the dust. The most common way is to use a can of compressed air or an air compressor and blow the dust away from you and off the computer. As I stated before, you should not breathe this dust in.
Obviously there are many other ways to perform computer maintenance on the internal components of your computer. Regular computer hardware maintenance is also recommended. This could involve doing a memory check to make sure your memory is working well, or even a hard drive check. You can grab free software to help you do this.
Do you need more information?
My name is Rob and I’ve been working on computers for more than 25 years. I know how important it is to perform regular computer maintenance. I have also developed a computer maintenance checklist that can apply to all Windows versions.