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9 Tips to Keep Your Computer Running Smoothly

Happy computers = happy people

Wouldn’t you agree that it’s very frustrating when your computer doesn’t work the way it should?  All you want to do is sit down, check your email or Facebook, or enjoy a few minutes playing solitaire – without becoming stressed out by an uncooperative computer.

Your computer is very similar to your car.  It requires regular, basic maintenance to help keep it running smoothly and more error-free.  It’s not a set-it-up and forget-it device like your home DVD player.

While performing regular maintenance on your computer does not mean it will never break or experience problems, it does reduce the chance of a more serious problem occurring and causing you major headaches or expensive repair bills.

Daily Tasks

1)     Back-up your data files.  If you create documents, manage your finances, or store pictures or music on your computer, you should back up your files every day.  This can be done by copying them to a DVD, an external hard drive, or USB flash drive.

2)     Perform virus scans.  Virus infections cause most of the problems people experience with their computers.  Installing a quality antivirus program, such as VIPRE Antivirus, and scanning your computer daily will help keep your computer healthy.

Weekly Tasks

1)     Install updates.  Software manufacturers release updates to fix problems with their software.  You should install Microsoft or Windows updates, Java, Adobe Flash Player, and Adobe Reader updates when you are notified that they are ready to be installed.

Each of these software programs has a distinctive icon or dialog box that will alert you that updates are ready to be installed.  These icons generally appear in the bottom right corner of your screen near the clock.  Download our update guide at

2)     Reboot your computer.  If you leave your computer on all the time, you should shut down and restart your computer at least once or twice a week.  This helps clear the memory and allow the computer to operate faster.

Monthly Tasks

1)     Remove junk files.  As you use your computer for browsing the Internet, installing and uninstalling programs, and other tasks, unnecessary files begin to fill up your hard drive.  These files eventually slow down your computer.
The easiest way to remove all these files at one time is to use a free software called CCleaner.  It can be downloaded from

2)     Run disk check.  This process examines the health of your hard disk, detecting and fixing potential problems before they happen.

To run a disk check, click on the Start button and select Run.  In the box, type CMD and click OK.  In the black window that appears, type:  chkdsk c: /f.  Then restart the computer.

3)     Defragment your hard drive.  Each time you use your computer, files get accessed by various programs.  When the program is finished using a particular file, it doesn’t always put it back in the same place it found it.  This causes your computer to run slower.
To run the defragment utility, click on the Start button.  Then choose All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter.  When the program opens, click on Defragment Now.  (See for more information.)

Every 6 Months

Computers attract dust, dirt, and animal hair.  This can cause problems, as it clogs up the fans inside your computer and can cause heat to build up and damage the critical components of your computer.

Turn off your computer and unplug it from the power outlet.  Open the computer case and gently blow out any dust with a can of compressed air.  You can also brush off any dust or animal hair from the outside of the case.  You may also want to blow out your keyboard with the compressed air.

Yearly Tasks

If you’re performing the preceding maintenance on your computer, it should run faster and more error-free.  However, it’s always a good idea to have a computer professional perform a more in-depth tune-up once a year.

A quality tune-up service will check all of your computer’s hardware for potential problems, uninstall unnecessary software programs, and clean the registry (something that should NEVER be done by a home user).

Performing these simple maintenance tips on a regular basis will keep your computer healthy and running smoothly.