The best ways to keep your computer error free and running for a longer time is to do regular maintenance. Most importantly, make sure you have an updated Anti-virus on there, and do your regular system and program updates and patches.
Next, Grab a copy of PC Mechanic here. It’s a great tool that can help you uninstall old programs you don’t use, clear out junk files, registry bloat, manage autostart processes and defrag/optimize your drives. It will greatly help you maintain your system.
Why You Should Keep Your System In Shape
Chances are, you’re here because you have seen a pretty nasty message on your screen. Something like this one
Or even worse, this one:
That’s scary stuff, you’re thinking; how did this happen? What do I do now? And Gods how long ago did I back this thing up!? If you’re like most other people, you won’t have an immediate answer to any of those three questions.
Depending on the type of error you have experienced, the reasons and solutions may vary. But you can always reduce the risk of any appearing by keeping your PC nice and clean. This can also extend the life expectancy of your system to a surprisingly large extent. And no, I don’t just mean dusting it off now and then, or wiping it outside with a rag. I mean keeping the files and code on the system itself clean (and dust it off now and then).
So, what are the most important housecleaning (or PC cleaning) tasks you should do, and how do you keep your PC running year after without problems?
Here’s our personal top 7:
PS: PC Mechanic is a great tool that can help with Four of the critical ones, points 3-6. Don’t forget to check it out.
Yeah, the first one is simple, as it should be. Everyone knows that an AV is necessary right? And yet, we continuously see that they are not. Even fairly recent studies have found that up to 24% of all PCs are still unprotected. Result? 5.5 times more likely to be infected.
Infections by viruses and other malware are easily the biggest reason for PC failures. If you don’t feel like paying for top-of-the-line protection, there are plenty of free ones out there. Get one…. Now. I’m waiting
Keep Your System Updated & Patched.
Yeah I know, boring, pain in the a**, takes forever. But updates are important. Most important of all: Windows updates and AV updates, next Java, flash and your browsers. These frequently contain patches to known security holes.
An unpatched system or program is always more vulnerable to infections. As soon as a patch is released, people will know about it and it will be even more likely that particular opening will be used by hackers and criminals. This goes for all apps on the PC btw, so make sure you do it frequently.
Don’t install programs you don’t use
And for that matter, don’t keep a program on your computer if you don’t intend to use it again. Uninstall is simple. Lots of programs these days fill up your computer with unnecessary stuff like settings files, auto-start entries, background processes, registry keys, etc. Periodic cleanup of programs and files means there are that much less stuff that can cause errors. It’s also highly likely that cleaning all that stuff out will speed up your system somewhat. PC Mechanic is a great tool that can help you manage this.
Clear out junk files
Do this on a regular basis. This means temporary files (internet and OS), clear out the recycle bin, duplicate files, old docs and stuff you no longer need. This tends to build up more than you think. I recently cleared out junk on my work PC, it totaled over 3GB not including the recycle bin J . Again…PC Mechanic
Manage Autostart processes
These also tend to rack up over time. Added by many programs, and even malware infections, it’s important to keep them in check. Most noticeably if you have a lot of autostarts, your computer will take longer time to start. And nobody wants that right? Use PC Mechanic or the Windows inbuilt Autostart section in mscofig.exe, search for it in your start menu.
Defragment and Optimize Drives
This is particularly important on hard disk drives (HDDs), as opposed to the newer solid state drives (SSD), but is helpful to both. Basically your disk is composed of different memory clusters. If you install a larger program, or it’s a big file like a movie or something, the information can be stored over several different clusters on your drive.
The defragmentation means your computer goes over the drive and moves data belonging to a certain program or file from one location to another, in order to make it easier and faster to find, speeding up functionality of your system. Especially on HDD that are close to being filled up this can make a huge difference.
On the newer SSD data is not saved in the same cluster format, so it won’t actually need defragmentation. But it can still be optimized in the way that Windows marks the sections on the drive that are used and those that are not, and it’ll be slightly quicker to reading and allocating space later on.
Physical cleaning duty
Yeah I know, you were silently hoping this one wouldn’t come up because it means actually doing the work all by yourself as opposed to letting some system tool do it for you. But still, it has to be done.
Over time, a lot of dust and other debris (like hair. ugh) clogs up in- and outlets, like vents, fan openings, as well as components inside. All that stuff means your PC will be less able to shed heat. And as you know, heat and electronics don’t go well together (remember not to leave your new smartphone in direct sunlight all day long?).
If it heats up too much, components will literally break down and melt. No more web browsing for you my friend. Use a can of compressed air to clear out the openings (not the vacuum cleaner, it can discharge static electricity that can mess the PC up), and a small paint brush (soft!) or dust rag to clear out the worst patches, obviously nothing wet!
Yep, that’s a list and a half, right, but these are most important and will let you keep your PC alive longer than most. I mean come on, doing all that stuff might take a couple of hours, so space it out. Tackle one or two of them every week and you’ll be golden!
Or, you can let PC Mechanic do the heavy lifting and you can focus on the remaining few things.
It’s your choice, better safe than sorry though…