When it comes to home computer maintenance, one has to handle both the hardware and software side of things. The hardware part can be inaccessible to the average user, since it requires a certain amount of technical skill and manual dexterity – you need to know how to open up your computer case and remove certain physical components. The software side of thing, on the other hand, can be done even by novices, as long as a guide is followed. Read on if you’re one of these people who want to maintain their home computer, but don’t know where to start:
To start with, it helps to visualize a computer as a huge building with hundreds of rooms full of filing cabinets, which in turn is full of thousands of documents. To make working in this building easy and the retrieval, use, and storage of documents easy, one needs to do three things:
- Implement a protocol that allows retrieval of documents that are needed
- Take good care of the documents so that they will not be damaged through use (and will be usable for long periods of time.)
- Dispose of documents that are no longer needed so that there will be room for new ones.
The example of the huge building is basically an ideal analogy when it comes to preventive maintenance of a windows home computer. With the huge building serving as your computer, the filing cabinets being your hard disk, and the documents serving as the files or data stored on your computer.
Defragmenting Your Hard Drive
Windows comes with a very useful defragmentation tool. What it does is that it reorganizes your hard drive in order to minimize “fragmentation” of data. It does not move your files, but it rearranges the bits and bytes that make up the files so that they are contiguous to each other. Defragmentation will also put the data that is most frequently used into areas of the disk that can be accessed faster.
Opening the defragmentation tool is simple. You only need to open My Computer/This Computer, right click on the hard drive you want to defragment, select Properties, click the Tools tab, and you’ll see the button to start the Defragmentation tool.
When a computer runs programs, it sometimes creates temporary files on the hard disk. Most programs are designed to remove these temporary files automatically before closing, but sometimes they fail to clean it up properly or sometimes a crashed program will leave tons of temporary files hidden on your system. Windows has a Disk Cleanup feature that will clean your PC of these unwanted data.
To launch the Disk Cleanup tool on Windows 8/8.1/10, simply open My Computer/This Computer, right click the drive you want to clean up, select Properties, and you’ll see the button called “Disk Cleanup.”
For users of older Windows, the Disk Cleanup tool can be accessed by clicking the Start Button, choosing All Programs, then Accessories, followed by System Tools, and finally Disk Cleanup.
You should be aware, however, that some third party programs, even those considered credible, can act as malware instead of helping you. As for example, with CCleaner case.
Defragmentation and Disk Cleanup by themselves do a great job of maintaining your Windows computer in tip top shape, but what if you don’t have the time to do them all manually every month (or week), not to mention you may have third party programs such as antivirus or antispyware that can help prevent problems?
This is where Windows’ Task Scheduler tool comes in. This is a tool that allows you to make a list of preventive maintenance applications and have them run automatically based on a schedule. One big benefit of this is that you don’t have to worry about doing preventive maintenance manually, all that you need once you have the schedule set up is to leave the computer open at the specified times. Ideally, you set the schedule at night or in the wee hours of the morning, when nobody is using the computer.
On Windows 8/8.1/10, you can run Task Scheduler simply by using the “Search” function on the taskbar and typing “Task Scheduler.” On older Windows versions, you do it by clicking on the start button, choosing All Programs, then Accessories, then System Tools and then Task Scheduler.
If you need support for your computers in small business, call Dynamic Network Solutions – 1 (800) 210-9613 – we’ll have you covered.