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Routine Maintenance

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Like with most things in our lives a little routine maintenance is needed. Doing some simple things can prolong the life of your computer, keep the optimal performance, and save you from some serious frustration.




Bloatware RemovalEdit

Bloatware is software that has limited use compared to the resources required (to either store or run). While this typically applies to some software included with your computer when you buy it, but it can also relate to software that you never use.

Windows: Some programs come with their own uninstall program, typically found in the Start Menu folder for that program. If there isn't one you can also use "Add or Remove Programs" found on the Control Panel. Go through the list of programs and look at programs listed there that you never use - some of the items listed here are required for related applications; typically these will include things that include the word Windows, Microsoft, or driver. If you are unsure about anything, even after doing a little research on it, feel free to ask the folks over at r/techsupport.

Do not just delete the program since there may be multiple files in multiple locations.

OS X: Unlike Windows, OS X doesn't use a registry, so there aren't as many files scattered around the computer. In most cases you can just drag an icon from the applications folder into the trash to remove it, however there may be a few files left behind, for more on how to find and remove those files please see the MacRumors Guide to Uninstalling Applications.

Data Back-UpEdit

See Data Back-Up

DefragmentEdit

Driver UpdatesEdit

Check your computer manufactuers site every month-or-so to make sure you have the newest drivers, sometimes they can give you a significant performance boost. Traditionally this is done on "Patch Tuesday", the second Tuesday of the month.

Dusting/Physical Clean OutEdit

PhysicalEdit

As computers run, they accumulate dust from the environment. Fans and heatsinks will eventually become clogged with dust, so it's a good idea to clean the inside every few months.

  1. Open the side panel of the computer, it is usually the left panel when facing your computer, however some cases open from the right side. You may need a screwdriver or not, the screw type varies.
  2. Bring the computer into a space where it's okay to dust off the computer, like the garage. You may do it outside, however the computer will be exposed to weather or bugs (the living kind).
  3. Send short bursts of air inside the computer, using an air compressor or a can of compressed air (unscented), starting from the top. Keep going down. When you reach a fan, hold it still so it doesn't spin widly and possibly break while you apply compressed air on it.
  4. Once done, make sure no cables are in the way of fans and make sure everything is still connected properly. Bring the computer back to its place and install the side panel.
  5. Turn on the computer. If it doesn't work correctly, go back to step 4.
Over time computers users tend to forget some of the less used software that they may have installed and this tends to take up space and resources. Also over time computers will gather informaiton that may not be needed anymore suchas Internet history, unused files left by internet browsers, adobe, java, and other software, and also orphaned registry entries build up. It is a good idea to clean this stuff out from time to time.

WindowsEdit

  1. Remove unused program from the Add/Remove Programs under the Control Panel.
  2. Click the Start button and click Control Panel

Programs (see Recommended Software )Edit

  1. Run CCleaner.
  2. Run Defraggler
  3. Run Virus and Spyware software. You don't always see the problem right up front. Be proactive.

Malware ScansEdit

Registry CleaningEdit

Pros:

Clean system, removal of obsolete entries, from unintalls etc

Potential for Improved System Performance

Cons:

Potential for System Damage

Potential for worsen system performance of unstable system.

Always Back up the Registry prior to cleaning if and when possiable.

Or use the Programs backup feature when changes are made tools CCleaner, Privazer, GlaryUtility or other utlity.

Scan DiskEdit

Applies to Windows Vist, XP, Vista, 7 & 8

System UpdatesEdit

  • Windows Updates, make sure they're actually working.
  • Allow system updates to immediately download and install to have optimum performance.

Windows XP:Edit

  1. Click Start button, all programs, and Windows Update

Windows 7:Edit

  1. Click Start button and type Windows Update
or
  1. Click Start button, all programs, and Windows Update

Virus ScansEdit

Recommended software.

Boot Scans

ProtectionEdit

One of the first things you need to do is make sure you have AV protection install, running, and updated with the newest definitions. The best way to tell if you have protection installed is to use the built-in Security Center by clicking through Start -> Settings -> Control Panel -> Security Center.

If you do not have protection in place you need to get something right away, it's a dangerous world out there.

Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) is highly regarded, updated often, not overly bloated, and most importantly, it's free. Follow the link provided in the Recommended Software AV section to download and install MSE. The installation should be pretty straight forward and when it is finished it will update itself and then scan your computer for possible threats.

Please note that scans can take some time (depending on drive size, computer speed, and thoroughness of the scan), so please be patient. Also note that your system performance will be reduced as a scan is in progress.

You should see a new icon in your system tray, which may animate while a scan is in progress.

Under the settings for the AV program should be options for important things like regularly scheduled scans, updates, and that it is providing protection for your system.

Routine ScansEdit

Anti-Virus ScanEdit

You should run a thorough scan with your anti-virus on a regular interval. There are typically two methods to running an AV scan.

Method 1: Right-click on the AV symbol in the system tray and select to “scan” option.

Method 2: Double-click on the AV symbol in the system tray, go to the “scan” section, and click the start button.

Keep in mind that the scan may take a while to complete and that your system performance will be reduced during the scan. It is best to set the scan for a time when you will not be using the computer.

It is not a good idea to rely on a single method of protection, which is why there are “scan only” options for anti-virus software.

Other ScansEdit

It is not a good idea to rely on a single method of protection, which is why there are “scan only” options for anti-virus software. With HouseCall or Virus Removal Tool, there is a short download and after running the program there will be a short install.

When you are finally greeted with the main screen it is a good idea to go to the settings/options screen (sometimes shown as a wrench or a gear) and select a full system scan. Run the scan.

Please note that the scan may take some time. If an issue is found you may be prompted to take corrective action (typically the scanner will delete the file).

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