In order to keep your computer running at top efficiency, it’s important to perform some regular maintenance and to keep a few rules in mind.
- Don’t download or install every widget that some web site says will make your computer run better. Most of the time it will only make it run slower!
- Keep your antivirus software up to date. Most good antivirus packages will also help protect you from spyware, unwanted pop-ups, and ther nuisance software.
- Don’t run more than one antivirus program at a time. They will frequently interfere with each other and slow your computer waaaaay down.
- Keep your email clean. Delete emails you don’t need to keep and organize the rest into logical folders. If your email program provides some way to compact its database (Outloook does!), compact it every now and then. A couple of times a year should be sufficient.
- Don’t forward chain emails. More than 90% of all email flying across the Internet is junk that is full of inaccuracies or rumors that nobody ever reads. That might seem harmless, but it bogs down email servers and prevents the detection of viruses, spam, and other malicious emails.
- Delete unnecessary files such as old documents and downloaded installation files. Temporary files (temporary Internet files or Windows files in C:\Windows\Temp) are excellent candidates for the recycle bin. Your Internet browser has a built in feature to help you clean out old temporary files.
- Keep plenty of empty space on your C: drive. Your computer needs lots of elbow room on its hard drive to store temporary files and to be able to move other files around. If you start running low on disk space (10% or less free), consider doing some serious cleanup.
- Uninstall old programs that you no longer use. Why keep it on your computer, using up disk space and memory, if you don’t need it?
- Empty your recycle bin. If a file has been in there for more than a week, chances are you won’t need to restore it.
- Run SpyBot or AdAware. Spyware and Adware is everywhere and it will waste your computer’s valuable resources. Spybot is an especially good program for removing suspicious software.
- Reboot. Windows is feature heavy. That’s great for many end users, but it means that a lot of junk accumulates in memory over days and weeks of constant running. Click Start, Turn Off Computer, then Restart.
- Defragment your hard drives regularly. Over time, files on your computer’s hard drive become scattered and fragmented. Defragging at least once a month (or after doing all the stuff above) will help your computer run more efficiently.