For those of us that use our computers on a daily basis and don’t know how to exist without them, a slow, clogged up computer can be our worst enemy. While it’s best to hire an IT expert to address your networking solution needs and other major problem areas, it’s also possible to do a few easy tasks of your own to keep your lifeline-to-the-world in good health so that it runs as quickly and efficiently as possible, thus making the end-user happy as well!
Here are a few great tips and tricks that should be repeated when necessary and then scheduled (in case you forget, your PC won’t) in order to keep your dream machine running like a champ. Consider these doctor appointments for your PC; it’s just another way of taking care of yourself!
1. Remove spyware and malicious content! Help protect your computer from viruses. From the websites you visit to user names and passwords, spyware collects your personal information without asking for your permission and puts all of your confidential information at risk. In order to help protect your computer from malware (malicious software), viruses, spyware and adware, you should run the FREE Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool, which helps remove any detected infection or malware. This took about 4 minutes to run on my machine (quick scan). Also helpful: Microsoft will release an updated version of this tool on the second Tuesday of each month.
To download the 64x version of the Removal Tool, click here.
2. Free up disk space (Disk cleanup). The quickest way to get rid of all those unused hidden files that are taking up valuable space on your hard drive is to run the Disk Cleanup tool. It removes temporary internet files, deletes downloaded program files, empties the recycle bin, and more. For detailed instructions on how to use this tool, click here. Run time on my machine: about 25 minutes.
3. Defrag your computer. Disk fragmentation slows up how quickly your computer can access data and impacts the overall performance of your system. Running the defrag tool allows your computer to shorten its response time and spend less effort searching the hard disk when files are opened. Quicker computer, happier user! Run time on my machine: about 15 minutes (I run this daily; the more you do it, the quicker it works). Click here to get detailed instructions Windows 7, Vista, and XP.
This tool should be run on a weekly basis (click here to learn how to schedule this task) but should also be used when:
- You add a large number of files.
- Your free disk space totals 15 percent or less.
- You install new programs or a new version of the Windows operating system.
4. Detect and repair disk errors. After following the above steps, it is also useful to check the integrity of the files stored on your hard drive by running the Error Checking Utility. This tool cans your computer for bad sectors and determines whether certain files or folders are misplaced. Run time on my machine: over 60 minutes.
Note: this can be running in the background while you’re working on your computer without drastically effecting computer efficiency. If you use your computer daily, this should be run once a week to prevent data loss.
Instructions for Windows 7 Users:
- Start Button> My Computer
- Right click on Hard Disk you wish to repair> Properties> “Tools” tab> under “Error Checking” click “Check now”> UNCLICK “Automatically fix file system errors”> CLICK “Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors”> then START
- All other windows users, click here.
In sum, using the above tools it took me just under an hour to optimize and clean-up my lifeline to the world, my PC (not including the repair disk error tool, which runs in the background). This is something that everyone who values their machine and information should do on a weekly basis. If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to post a comment or email us.
For all you MAC users, look forward to a similar post for Apple-users in the near future!