Computer Maintenance

Hi this is Chip Shepard with Shepard Technologies, today I would like to discuss a little about computer maintenance. If you have the time and some computer knowledge you can actually do your own computer maintenance.  The steps that we take to do computer maintenance are typically as follows:

CCleaner

We will install and/or update a product called Ccleaner by pirform it’s a great product, that you can use for residential or business free one time. However, they do have a paid version that runs in the background and works awesome.  In the 15 years I have known the product they had 1 issue and it was addressed quickly.

Once installed we go through a process of scanning the computer temporary files. Click on the Custom Clean tab that you see on the left.  You can either Analyze first then remove, or just select Run Cleaner and it will clean it up and report. Once completed the next one below is Registry, this helps clean up any unnecessary registry entries does improve performance on your PC as well. The next step I would typically do is check for any software that’s installed on your computer and remove anything I no longer need.  This is found in the Tools tab of CCleaner or independently use Programs and Features to find programs that are no longer needed or wanted on your PC.  Additionally, I would check startup items and you can do that through CCleaner as well.  Startup is also under the Tools tab.  On Windows 10 you can go into Task Manager by right clicking your system tray and clicking on Task Manager or by pressing ctrl+alt+delete and selecting Task Manager, select the tab that says startup. From there you can review those items and look for anything that looks weird or you don’t want to start up or run when the computer comes up. 

Malwarebytes

One of the next things that I would do on a computer is install or update a program called Malwarebytes this product is excellent for checking out your computer making sure you don’t have any malicious or rogue device installs, or anything on the background running that might be potentially unwanted programs (PUP.  After installing Malwarebytes, I would run a scan, often times I’ll go into settings first and turn on the Root Kit scan so it also checks for Root Kits then I’ll go back over to the scans and run a scan. Typically, it is safe to remove or quarantine everything that it detects.  I’ll review the scan and make sure everything that’s there should be removed and typically 99% of the time everything is safe to remove, or it is something that you don’t need or want.

Windows Updates

After we’re done with that we will check for Windows updates, make sure that it has the latest updates this is important but it’s also something you want to be careful about because sometimes the major release updates are deployed too soon, and it may cause issues.

Anti-Virus Software Check

The next thing after Windows updates I would do, would be to check your antivirus software, most people may just have Windows Defender which is free and comes on the computer.  I do recommend at least Malwarebytes in addition to Windows Defender so that they run hand-in-hand.  I don’t recommend free products over paid versions for the simple fact that they run in the background and do what they’re supposed to do with the paid features.  Check your anti-virus software and make sure it’s up-to-date and make sure it’s running properly.  

Computer Backup

Next thing I would do is check your backup software.  Not only do you want to check your backup software to make sure it is backed up, but you may also want to test the restore of a couple files to make sure that it is going to work for you as well.   We have an article on Computer Backups, so you may want to visit that one if you have any questions about backups in more detail.

Driver Updates and Firmware Updates

Another thing I would do depending on the model and the brand of your computer is check driver and firmware updates.  It’s a little easier if you have a Dell, HP, Lenovo, or major manufacturer because they offer automated scans of your system for these component updates.  For the major computer vendors you can go to the support section of their website to find the updates you need and in most cases, have it automatically scan your computer for updates.  Sometimes it will download an app that you can use  anytime you’re updating drivers and hardware.  You want to make sure you go to the manufacture for the drivers and not some third-party.  Often times, those third parties will contain malware or other malicious intent, so it’s best to get your drivers from the manufacturer, and by that I mean major manufacturer so if you had a Intel graphics card or an Nvidia graphics card but it came with your Dell then it’s ok to get those drivers from Dell. 

Computer Defrag

Another item I would run typically on a monthly or quarterly basis, depending on the drive itself, is a computer defrag.  If it’s a standard hard drive I would run a defrag monthly, if it’s a SSD I might run it quarterly or less frequent.  

Scandisk Check Disk

I also examine the hard drive and you can do this through “My Computer” also known as “My PC” or “This PC”, in File Explorer.  Locate your C: Drive and right click it and go to properties then Tools tab.  Run error checking by clicking on Check.  Check disk looks for errors on the hard drive will attempt to fix them if it can and report if it can or can’t. 

Performance Monitor

Additionally, I would also go back in the task manager and monitor the system performance.  Check the processor/CPU, the memory, and hard drive and see if cleaning up things allows the computer to run more smooth without maxing out resources.

Computer cleanup

This concludes steps to perform for cleaning up your computer.  There are definitely other ways to do a computer cleanup, but in our experience,  we find these steps work most of the time and your computer will run much better with regular maintenance.  Additionally, a great way to increase performance of an older computer is to replace the standard hard drive with a solid state drive (SSD).