Today I am doing this post as a general overview of the things I do to windows computers when fixing them up. This will work for all windows operating systems.
Defraging / Defrag
Fragmentation: fragmentation In computer storage, fragmentation is a phenomenon in which storage space is used inefficiently, reducing capacity and often performance. Fragmentation leads to storage space being “wasted”, and the term also refers to the wasted space itself. Think of it as a file cabinet being out of order and untidy.
Defragging: Defragging In the maintenance of file systems, defragmentation is a process that reduces the amount of fragmentation.
To help keep your computer in top running order you need to sort out the messy file cabinet or fragmented drive. This is where you need to Defrag the drive to clean it up. In windows xp the built in defrag tool was not so good and there are many 3rd party defrag tools designed to do this. as windows has improved in windows 7+ the built in defrag tool is allot better and works fine for this.
Overview When to defrag your computer often depends on how much you are using it and what you are doing. I generally recommend you defrag your computer at least once a month to help keep it in top working order.Fore more information see my tutorial How to Defrag Your Windows HardDrive
ccleaner is a great application it helps to clean up applications, fix registry errors and has an easy windows to add and remove applications on the compute.
Cleaner: the ccleaner cleaner will check the windows computer for all common applications and they will show. You can select what things you want to check for. Eg clear browser cache, history and cookies, and other tweaks. If you dont know what to do leave the default ones set.
Click the Analyze button then when it has found things click Run Cleaner. Its that simple.
Registry: ccleaner also has a registry cleaner over time the registry can become clogged, there are 2 thoughts on this matter 1. leave the registry alone if you change it you may screw up the computer. 2. cleaning the registry is a good thing to do to speed up your computer. I have never had any problems when cleaning the registry using ccleaner. But not to worry the regestry cleaner has a backup changes option so you can restore things if something goes wrong. Click registry on the left side of the ccleaner window. Then Scan for Issues button then select Fix Selected Issues this is where you will be prompted to backup changes if you like then away it will go.
Overview: on a computer that has been left unmaintained like this even after running ccleaner for the first time you will notice the difference. I recommend running this once a month.
MsConfig tool (this is a more advanced user tool)
MsConfig tool is useful to remove any quick start / start up processes that can slow the computer using down. Applications you install may create quick start processes for them. These quick start processes do make the application run faster when you first click on the app. But you don’t need them to be there.
1. In the windows start menu type msconig and click msconfig. if in xp open start menu click run then type msconfig
2. go to the statup tab you will see a list of items that will run when windows is booting.
3. remove any obvious apps that you don’t need. I usually look on google for any of the start up items I am not sure about and I get good information. In google I type “what is …….” without the quotes where ……. is the startup process name.
4. if you are not sure about this any of the items it is ok to leave the processes there.
5. when you have done this you will notice that your computer will generally boot up allot faster.
Note: under no circumstances do not edit any other tabs, especially if you don’t know what you are doing, as this may cause windows to have some big errors.
As you know when running windows you need a decent antivirus program to help keep you protected from any viruses etc. Note i do use antivirus on my macbook as well.
Commercial antivirus: You are free to purchase any of the professional antivirus applications from your local store or online. These have a fee every year you need to pay to keep getting the latest updates for them. They are a good option as you get a guarantee not to get viruses and if you do you should get compensation from the company in some way. I recommend getting one if you have sensitive documents, from work, a company, ministry, government agency etc. the one thing to note is that most of these antivirus applications can slow down your computer speed as they do their job.
Free Antivirus: these give basic protection from viruses and they don’t slow your computer down that much. There are a few good free antivirus apps available. Most of you will have heard of avg it has a long standing good reputation. Avast is another good option, Panda, Sophos, Spybot Search & Destroy etc the list goes on.
Recommendations: I use and recommend Avast Free Antivirus as it has a good list of features now. Also it has always had a boot time scan option in the free version lacking in other free antivirus apps. Boot time scanning is good as it scans the operating system files that are not scanned when an operating system is running. Avast also comes with a Software Updater to make sure the common applications, such as adobe, browsers, quick time, and other applications you have installed are up to date. Along with avast I also recommend to have Spybot Search and Destroy. Spybot scans and detects bot and malware that avast and others may leave behind. When I set up Spybot along side another antivirus app I turn off the real-time scanner as this can conflict with the other antivirus I run spybot once a month. Or if a virus is detected by the other antivirus. Spybot also comes in a portable version available with the portable apps manager from http://www.portableapps.com this is great as you don’t need to install it on the computer just put it on a flashdrive and your done.
It is a good idea to check that all applications that are needed are up to date.
Windows Updates and services packs:
Microsoft is always working hard to make sure their operating system is running at its best. So they often release updates and fixes. These updates are designed to fix security issues, give new application features and Improve stability of the windows operating system. Services packs include all the latest updates and fixes, known as patches, for the operating system. Many of the patches may already have been released and available in windows update. But the service pack allows for all patched to be installed in one single time. Service packs also often include new features in addition to fixes. Some people may suggest not to install updates, claiming they can slow down your computer and cause other errors. True sometimes this may happen. But not usually and you can uninstall any of the updates you think are causing any problems.
although generally if things are working I don’t always update these.
it may be a good idea to check for any updates to the hardware on the computer. This includes things like graphics drivers, motherboard drivers, mouse and keyboard, printers and scanners, etc. The software that may come with any of these things might have an updates checker. Or you can usually find updates to your computer and devices from the manufactures website. Also on new computers from 5 years old and up it is fairly easy to update Bios too. on old computers it is not worth doing this, especially if you can’t get the exact drivers. If you use the wrong bios version you will brick the motherboard making it not usable again.
I will be doing more detailed tutorials on each tool mentioned above soon so you will be able to use them yourself to maintain your own computer.