aNewDomain.net—All new computers are speedy and smooth, but over time they can become slow and aggravating. Just as you would give your car a tune-up to get it into top driving condition, you can give your computer a tune-up to get it into top computing condition.
As with a car, small items of maintenance, like checking your tire pressure, should be done regularly to prevent larger problems from billowing out. It’s the same on a PC. You should keep a good back up of your data, update your software, and run a malware scan with a good anti-virus program regularly. Two of the highest rated antivirus programs are F-Secure Internet Security 2013 and Norton Internet Security 2013. With today’s computers, all of these tasks can, and should, be automated.
Once your backup, updates, and scans are in order, you can simply perform a few additional tasks on a regular basis to tune up your PC. First, use Window’s Disk Cleanup Tool to remove unneeded files like temporary files and to empty the recycle bin. On a Vista or Windows 7 computer you can access Disk Cleanup by going to Start-(All) Programs- Accessories-System Tools-Disk Cleanup. Check off the items you want to cleanup and Windows will do all the work for you. In Windows 8, simply type “Disk Cleanup” at the Start screen and follow the directions.
Once that is completed, get rid of old data files and programs you don’t need. Your hard disk needs at least 10% free space to work properly. So if you have a smaller hard drive or have used a lot of hard drive space, this step can be very important.
Defragmenting the hard disk has always been a part of a PC tune up. Yet Windows 7 and Windows 8 both do a better job of defragmenting the disk as they process information. The defrag utility, however, is still available. You will find it in the System Tools folder along with the Disk Cleanup utility. It’s a good idea to run it after the Disk Cleanup and program removal. And remember that solid state drives should not be defragmented.
You may have heard that cleaning the registry should be a part of a PC Tune up. This is true with older versions of Windows. However, newer versions like Windows 7 or Windows 8 do a good job of controlling the registry, so it is not as important as it once was. I don’t recommend registry cleaning for the average computer user. Changing the registry can quickly screw up the computer, so don’t try it unless you really know what you are doing, If you feel it is necessary, try a free tune up utility like CCleaner or Glary Utilities.
There are many advanced tools for keeping your PC running smoothly, but these simple steps will give it as good a tune up as your car gets at the auto mechanic’s shop. Best of all, it won’t cost a penny!
Based in Pinehurst, North Carolina, Sandy Berger is a veteran tech journalist and senior editor at aNewDomain.net covering tech tips and tricks, apps and gadgets in general. Email her at Sandy@aNewDomain.net. Follow her on Twitter @sandyberger, +SandyBerger on Google+, and www.facebook.com/sandyberger on Facebook.