Computers, just like cars, need consistent maintenance. Failing to do a regular maintenance check may cause slowing down on your machine and in time, this can lead to more serious problems that can damage software, hardware and the entire system itself.
It is therefore important that you regularly do some checking, maintaining and cleaning (both on software and hardware) on your computer especially if you’re using it on your business or your job. The more tasks you do in it, the more often you should do a maintenance check on it to prolong its life and of course to protect all the important files that you have in it. Here is a quick rundown of some maintenance steps that you can perform on your Windows 7 machine.
1. Regularly Remove Junk and Unwanted Files
Your Windows machine, no matter where it is housed (a laptop, desktop or a netbook) accumulates some useless files from the time you spend browsing the internet. These useless files are stored in temporary directories and folders.
One or two of these files doesn’t have to bother you that much but as you spend more time surfing the net and doing other tasks, these files pile up into a large data that takes up a lot of disk space. Most browsing histories and downloaded contents may also contain viruses that can hurt your system and totally render your hard disk useless in the long run. This is where maintenance through disk cleanup is needed.
To do a Disk Cleanup just follow the steps below:
- Click the “Start” button on the lower left hand corner of your screen.
- Place your mouse pointer on top of the “All Programs” menu just above the search box and click it to reveal more programs installed on your machine.
- Look for “Accessories” folder on the list of programs then click it to reveal more system components.
- From the items that appear under the “Accessories” folder, look for another folder labeled “System Tools”. You should be able to find the “Disk Cleanup” utility, click it.
- You will then be prompted to select the drive (C: or D:) that you want to cleanup. The Windows OS is installed on drive C: by default unless you changed the assigned letters then click OK.
- You will then see that your system is calculating and looking for files that need to be cleaned up.
- The next window that would appear will let you choose the type of files that you want to delete. Check everything then click OK.
- You will then see that your system will start deleting all useless files. Wait until it completes and you’re done!
2. Defragment Your Drive Regularly
Files and bits of data have the tendency to be scattered all over your drive as you install programs and do some tasks on your computer. This is a common cause of slowing down, crashes and errors. It is important that you defragment your drive on a regular basis to ensure that all related files are stored in one area on your hard disk.
- Do the same process. Click the “Start” button, click “All Programs” and look for the “Accessories” folder, click it, go to “System Tools” and look for the “Disk Defragmenter” system utility. Click it to initiate the defragment process.
- You will then be directed to a window prompting you to choose which drive you want to defragment (C: by default) then click “Defragment disk”.
Defragment usually takes quite longer than a cleanup. Wait until the process completes and you’re done!
3. Take Control Over Your Installed Programs
You surely have installed a lot of programs on your computer since you first used it. Most of these programs are actually unused. Look for any free version that already expired or those that you actually don’t use and uninstall them.
To uninstall a program, follow these simple steps.
- Click the “Start” button then choose and click “Control Panel”.
- On the control panel window that appears click “Uninstall a program”.
- You will then be directed to a window that will tell you to choose the program that you want to uninstall. Choose the desired program then click “Uninstall”. Follow the uninstall process. You might also be prompted to restart your computer after the uninstall process. Do it when prompted.
4. Protect Your Machine
This can simply be done by installing virus protection software on your computer. You can also choose from free and licensed premium version of antivirus software. Free versions of antivirus programs are available for download from many sources all over the Internet.
The free version offers good protection although there are other things that you can’t do with it compared to premium versions which are available in computer and online shops. Protecting your machine with antivirus will help you get rid of harmful software, malware and viruses that get access to your computer every now and then as you use it in surfing the Internet.
A lot of these viruses are luring around the Internet space just waiting for a security breach on your machine to take advantage with. Microsoft also offers “Microsoft Security Essentials”, a free antivirus that works best on your Windows PC.
5. Be Careful of What You Download
Don’t just download anything from any website. Before downloading free software make sure to Google the source first and scan the file before even installing it to your machine.
It also helps if you make a habit of deleting downloaded files right away if you’re not using them anymore to avoid a messy downloads folder which can become a home for malicious programs.
6. Organize Your Files Into Folders
This is just another important thing to prevent your computer from slowing down. Organizing all files into properly labeled folders helps your computer to perform faster. It also prevents fast virus infection which can prove to be a very devastating disaster. Make a habit of saving files to the folders where they belong to.
7. Avoid Those Tempting XXX Sites
Most XXX/porn site contains adware and other pop-up contents which are actually malicious software in disguise. Do your best to shun visiting XXX sites to avoid harmful programs and software.
The Benefits Outweight the Time Requirements
Maintaining your Windows machine somewhat appears to be a tedious task but the benefits just clearly outweigh the sacrifice that is required from you. Imagine a fast computer that’s free from crashes, hangs and errors and the peace of mind of having all your critical files in a safe place. That’s what you will get if you make a habit of maintaining your precious Windows machine.