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Care And Maintenance Of Your Computer System

To keep your computer system in top working condition, there are a couple of basic things you must do. This document outlines the steps that when implemented will guarantee that your computer system performs optimally. If uncertain of any of the actions outlined in this document, please discontinue and contact a computer technician/professional before continuing.

Computer Care

Dust and keep in a cool environment

Dust and heat are natural enemies of any computer system. Keep your computer in a clean and well-ventilated area and ensure that the rear and front air vents are unimpeded to allow free passage of air. Make sure that all the fans are in good working condition and once in a while, preferably annually, make certain that a computer technician opens up the computer system and cleans it thoroughly.

Data Backup

On a regular basis, do a backup of the data on your computer system to an external drive or a remote server. Always perform a full system backup, but due to the considerable storage capacity of the hard drives being used today, this is not always practical. For hard drives with large storage capacity, ensure that you backup any data/information that was created by you including documents, email, letters, accounting package data files, spreadsheets, etc.

Defragmentation of the hard drive

Once you commence the creation and deletion of data and applications on your computer system, it is certain that the hard drive will become fragmented, meaning that the data is divided into portions and stored in different sections of the hard disk. An increase in the fragmentation of your hard drive ensures that your computer system will operate less efficiently. Defragmentation merges this separate portions of data, thereby freeing up disk space and speeding up your computer system. To defragment your drive, simply follow the steps outlined below:

  • Open up My Computer.
  • Choose the drive that you want to defragment and right click
  • Click on Properties and after that the Tools tab
  • To run the Defragmenter program, press the menu button.

Hard Disk Error Checking

Since virtually all of your data is stored on the computer system’s hard drive, it is imperative that you consistently check the drive for errors. To carry out this task,

  • Open up My Computer.
  • Choose the drive that you want to check and right click.
  • Click on Properties and after that the Tools tab.
  • To run the Error Checking program, press the menu button.

Antivirus program

The volume, complexity, abundance and harmful nature of computer viruses being what it is today, it is completely necessary to have installed an antivirus program on your computer system. Just installing the antivirus software is not enough. The software needs to regularly scan your computer system for viruses and must also be updated regularly every so often. There are numerous antivirus software existing in the market and since they all utilize different algorithms to check for viruses, it is best to consult an expert when scanning for viruses or updating the computer software.

Uninstallation of unnecessary software

As you continuously use your computer system, you may install a whole lot of applications and programs. In most cases, the programs and apps that you install will only be used a few times after which it is relegated to the sidelines maybe because it wasn’t what you expected or you’ve accomplished what you want to do with it or you only use it once in a blue moon. The installed program just stays on your computer system occupying space and utilizing resources without being useful. As a result, you should constantly check the installed programs on your computer system and uninstall any that is no longer in use or that has become obsolete. To uninstall an application on a Windows system, simply perform the following steps: –

  • Click on the icon “My Computer”
  • Go to the icon labelled Control Panel and click on it.
  • The icon “Add or Remove program” icon will be evident
  • Run this program and you will be shown a list of applications currently installed on your computer system.
  • Scan through the list of applications and install any that you don’t use.

If uncertain about any application, contact a computer professional/technician for guidance.

Empty Your Recycle Bin

When a file is deleted whether a document, email, letters, video, audio, etc., it is not immediately erased from your hard drive. It is first sent to a folder called the “Recycle Bin”. This is so that files or emails that you may have accidentally deleted can be easily recovered. However, as time goes on, the deleted contents residing in the Recycle Bin will accumulate and get so large that it consumes a lot of hard disk space and may result in loss of operating efficiency of your computer system. Before it gets to this point, it is essential that you purge the contents of the Recycle Bin in order to free up needed disk space.

How to empty the Recycle Bin

  • Check the Recycle bin folder to ensure that it is empty or that it does not contain accidentally deleted files.
  • To see the files that are contained within the Recycle Bin, locate and double-click on the icon.
  • When the folder is open, scroll through it to see what it contains.
  • Once you are confident that you do not require any of the files it contains, select “Empty Recycle Bin” from the top menu and click on it.

 

If uncertain of any files contained in the recycle bin, seek the advice of a computer professional/technician before emptying it.

To empty the Deleted Email Folder

When you deleted emails from Microsoft Outlook or other email management applications, it gets sent to the “Deleted Email” folder.  As is the case with the Recycle Bin, after a period, the folder will become quite large and must be emptied. To do this, carry out the following steps:-

  • Check the Deleted Email folder to ensure that it is empty or that it does not contain any unintentionally deleted email.
  • To see the emails that are contained within the Deleted Email folder, locate the Outlook or Outlook Express icon and double-click on it to start the program.
  • When the folder is open, scroll through it to see what it contains.
  • Once you are confident that you do not require any of the emails it contains, right-click on the top of the folder and select “Empty Deleted Emails”.

 

If uncertain of any emails contained in the Deleted Emails folder, seek the advice of a computer professional/technician before emptying it.

Reinstalling the Operating System

As time progresses, you will update the system drivers of your computer, install and uninstall numerous software and application and apply various hardware and software patches. All these activities will result in your computer system accumulating old system files, drivers and old software programs that will result in the slow running of your system, erratic behavior or crashing of your hard disk. To avert/remedy any such scenario, contact a computer professional/technician who can reinstall your OS i.e. operating system, and revert all your applications, drivers, etc. to its initial configuration.