Looking for a simple computer maintenance checklist? Here are 6 quick and easy tasks that you can perform routinely to keep your PC healthy and running smoothly – and the big plus is that most of them use applications that come pre-installed on your PC and are therefore free!
Computer Maintenance Checklist
Empty the Recycle Bin – This task may seem a bit obvious for a computer maintenance checklist, but a surprising number of people don’t know that they are supposed to be doing this on a regular basis. It is a very simple operation. On your desktop, simply place your cursor over the Recycle Bin icon, use the right-click function on your mouse, and select "Empty Recycle Bin."
Clear Your Cookies and Temporary Files
– Most web sites that you visit will leave "cookies" and/or temporary files on your computer. These are small snippets of code that give the site information about you in order to customize your browsing experience. These files can really pile up and take up lots of space. Some of them can even contain malware, so it’s a good idea to clear them out on a regular basis. To do this, open Internet Explorer, go to the Tools menu, and select "Internet Options." A small window will open with several sections on it. Under the Browsing History section, click the "Delete" button. A second window will pop up, titled "Delete Browsing History". There are a number of boxes that you can check before you hit the "Delete" button at the bottom. Be sure that the "Temporary Internet Files" and "Cookies" are checked. If you want to save the information on sites you have listed on your Favorites menu, then you will want to be sure the top box is checked as well. For most users it will be best to leave the rest of the boxes unchecked.
These first two tasks on your computer maintenance checklist are relatively quick and simple and can be performed several times a week in just a couple of minutes. The next few tasks should be done once a week or once every two weeks.
Disk Cleanup – This function will target files that the computer determines could be wasting space. To do a disk cleanup, click on the Windows/Start menu and click on "Programs", then "Accessories", then "System Tools", and finally "Disk Cleanup". In the box that pops up, select Drive C and click "Okay". A small window will pop up with recommendations about files to delete. There will probably be some files checked already, and then you can make any changes before clicking "Okay".
Disk Defragmentation – This process can take some time, so be sure to set it up at a time when you can leave your computer for a bit and do something else. Like the Disk Clean up, begin at the Windows/Start menu and go through the "Programs", "Accessories", and "System Tools" menus, only this time select "Disk Defragmenter". On the window that comes up, click "Analyze". The defragmenter will run an analysis. When it is complete you’ll see the "Defragment" button. Click that and then you can leave the computer to run the task. If you do this once a week or so, it shouldn’t take too long, but if it’s been a while, a defragmentation can take up to a couple of hours.
Virus and Spyware Scan – This is the only task on the computer maintenance checklist for which you will need to purchase software. Most of the decent programs will combine virus and spyware scans, so be sure to check out any security software carefully before you buy. These programs can be preset to run scans on a daily or weekly basis. It recommended that you run a daily quick scan and then do a deep scan once a week. Given that the program is doing most of the work, all you need to do is check the reports about once a week.
Once you have completed everything on the computer maintenance checklist, you’ll need to restart your computer. Once it’s running again, you’ll notice that the programs load a bit faster and the whole thing runs much more smoothly.
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