Computer Maintenance Tips
Tips to Keep your Computer Running Smoothly
1. Never, never, turn your computer off with the power switch until Windows has shut down.
The one exception to this rule is when your computer locks up and your hard drive is not running (hard drive light is not blinking). In this situation, you can turn the power off without harmful effects to the hard drive. As cutting the power can also result in lost data or Windows files, you should only do this when you have to.
Following this rule will prevent permanent hard drive defects caused by the hard drive heads contacting the surface of the drive disc, and it will prevent a host of Windows problems.
Whenever possible, recover from crashes by pressing the Ctrl + Alt + Delete keys at the same time. Press them again to reboot your computer. If you computer is connected to a power strip, you should not turn the power strip off. The computer has a small internal battery that keeps setting store even when the computer is off. If you turn the power strip your computer relies on the battery to store those settings. When your battery is dead you may lose setting that allow your computer to run.
2. Purchase an UPS (uninterruptable power supply) for your computer. This will keep your computer from crashing during power outages, and will protect your computer from low and high voltage occurrences. An UPS is far superior to a surge protector and will save your computer from almost any type of power disaster. (See #1 above for what happens when your computer crashes.)
3. Backup, backup, backup, any data you cannot afford to lose to at least two separate physical drives. So backup data to external hard drives, CD-RWs, USB thumb drives etc.
The time to backup is when you create something you can't afford to lose. Don't wait until tomorrow.
4. Run Scandisk and Defragment at least once a month. This will keep your hard drive healthy and prevent crashes. Some antivirus packages now have this automatically scheduled but don’t assume.
5. Never unplug peripherals from the computer when it is powered up. Unplugging with the power on can short out the connector socket or the motherboard.
The only exception to this rule is if you know a peripheral is "hot pluggable". If you do not know what "hot pluggable" means then ignore this exception.
6. Do keep at least 400-600 MBs of your C: drive free for Windows to use. If you do not have enough free space you will choke Windows and it will start dumping data to your hard drive, or it will just get really, really, slow.
Use the ADD/Delete tool in the Windows Control Panel to delete unneeded programs from your drive.
Do not delete files unless you back them up.
7. Do not let a lot of programs load up when you start your computer. They use valuable memory and Windows Resources (Windows internal workspace). All programs in your Windows System Tray (in the lower right of your screen) are running on your computer. Close them if you don't need them or run them and configure them not to load when you boot up.
Other programs running in the background can be found by pressing Ctrl + Alt + Delete at the same time.
8. Use an antivirus program regularly. Everyone should use a antivirus. The best type of protection is continuous monitoring from a dedicated anti-virus program. The second best thing is to use is the free online virus checkers your internet service provider may offer one for free while you are their customer. The antivirus program should be updated regularly.
9. Firewall program. A firewall program keeps those who want to hijack your computer from gaining access to your system. You really do not want someone else running your computer. Your firewall should boot up with your computer to protect it from invasion. Your internet service provider may offer one for free while you are their customer.
10. Keep track of the software disks you receive with your computer and new peripherals. These disks contain valuable software drivers and programs for Windows and are needed when Windows must be reloaded. Keep these disks and your Windows software disks in a safe, dry, place -- you never know when you will need them.
11. Wireless Network Security. If you use a wireless network at your home or business you need to make sure that the security is enabled, either by a network serial key or mac filtering. This will keep people off your network when you don’t want them there. Outside users can steal your bandwidth slowing down your internet. They can also do illegal activities that show up as your activity by you ISP (Internet Service Provider)
Hopefully these computer maintenance tips will keep you out of trouble. However, if you have problems with your computer, feel free to ask for help either by email firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (203) 813-8538. .