How to Keep Your PC Running Like New

11 year old computer still going strong
11 year old computer still going strong | Source
Computer Specs
Computer Specs | Source

Advancing Technology

To some extent any computer will seem a bit slower as it ages no matter what you do, because technology advances so fast. Programs and web pages become bigger and more complicated requiring more of your computers resources. Your anti-virus and operating system updates also eat away at your computers limited capabilities. Don’t loose hope though, there are some steps you can take that will keep your PC running like it did when it was new and help you contend with the advancing technology.

Back-ups

My first piece of advice is to make a back-up of your operating system files. Many computers come with a program that will allow you to create a back-up DVD or DVD set of the factory installed files. There are too many ways of doing this to mention so my advice would be to check your users’ manual or do a search for your computer and find the online manual. If you can this is the way to go because this back-up only includes what was on your computer when it was new. This DVD is only for emergencies or extreme situations as it does NOT restore any of your personal files or installations. For your personal files you should make regular back-ups with your back-up program which is usually located in control panel under Back-ups or System Restore. You will need both types of back-ups if you find yourself having to completely restore your PC. These back-ups are invaluable if you get a virus or have a hard drive failure, and need to restore your computer files.

AVG
AVG | Source

Anti-virus

The next order of business is to be sure you have an anti-virus program running and that it is up to date. I would recommend AVG as it has the best overall track record for preventing viruses over the last several years. I have been using the free version on all of my PCs at home for the last 5 years and haven’t had a single problem with viruses. Whatever software you decide to use, having an antivirus program and keeping it updated is imperative, if you want your computer to continue to run as fast and reliably as possible.

Tools
Tools | Source

Tools

If you go to the start menu, then to All Programs; scroll down to the Accessories folder, and then to the System Tools folder you will find some useful tools. The main two I will discuss are the Disk Cleanup, and Disk Defragmenter programs. Disk Cleanup searches your system for files that are no longer needed or that can be compressed. Disk Defragmenter reorganizes the files on your drive to work more efficiently. I recommend running both of them once a week or so. You can setup Disk Defragmenter to run on a schedule if you choose; it makes it easier as you don’t have to do anything after it is set. I would also create a new folder on the desktop named tools or something similar so you can create links to these and other tools. To make the desktop folder right click on the desktop, go to new, then select folder. You can name it at this point or right click on the folder to rename it at anytime. You can also customize the look of the folder if you choose by right clicking on it, selecting Properties, and then clicking the Customize tab, then selecting Change Icon. You can add the links by right clicking on the programs from the System Tools folder, and pointing your mouse to Send to and selecting Desktop from the menu. Then just drag and drop the links into your Tools folder.

CCleaner
CCleaner | Source

CCleaner

I also recommend downloading a program called CCleaner, which is similar to Disk Cleaner, but it finds many unused files that Disk Cleaner will miss. CCleaner also searches for registry errors and corrects them, which is a very helpful feature. I recommend following the CCleaner link above and downloading the installation file. After the file downloads install the program. I would leave the settings as they are unless you are an advanced user and know what you are doing. With the Cleaner tab on the left selected and with the Windows tab along the top in the middle selected run the cleaner a few times then a few times with the Applications tab selected. I usually run each of them until 0.0 MB is removed. Now select the Registry tab on the left and select Scan for Issues you may get a couple of notifications just agree and continue. I recommend repeating this process at least once every day that you use your computer.

Blower Vacuum
Blower Vacuum | Source
Vacuum Hose Attachment
Vacuum Hose Attachment | Source
Side Panel Screws
Side Panel Screws | Source
Side Panel Removed
Side Panel Removed | Source

Physical Cleaning

As a computer’s fans work to cool everything down they also circulate lots of dust, which becomes lodged through out the computer. As that dust builds and accumulates air flow is restricted and your computer will begin to over heat. An over heating computer will be slower and the life of the computer will be compromised. So, it is important to clean out the dust from inside your computer case at the least a few times a year. If you live in a dusty environment you may consider four or more times per year. It is best if you have a vacuum that has an outlet hose that forces air out the end, though any vacuum will work to remove some of the dust. If you must use a vacuum it is best to at least have an attachment like the one pictured on the right.

Shut down and unplug your computer before attempting to clean it. After your computer is unplugged you want to remove the side panel or cover, many computers are like the one in the photo and only require you to remove two screws and slide the panel backward to remove it. If this isn’t the case refer to your user’s manual. Once the inside of the computer is exposed very carefully remove all of the dust possible paying special attention to areas near the fans. After the dust is removed replace the cover, plug the computer in and reboot it.

Final Thoughts

You should be sure to update you operating system files regularly or better yet set your system to automatically update. It is also best to limit the number of programs you install because the more files and programs you have on your computer the longer it takes to access them. You should also be aware of how each program is set up; many programs will run in the background even when you aren’t using them, unless you set them up not to. These settings can usually be found in the properties section of that particular program. Also read everything as you install new software as many vendors like to add extra programs, which you can usually opt out of installing if you don’t plan to use them. If you use all of the maintenance techniques mentioned in this article your computer should last for years and continue to work like it did when it was new.

Basic Computer Mauntenance

Task
Purpose
Frequency
Disk Cleaner
Clean and compress files
1 time per week
Disk Defragmenter
Organize files on disk
1 time per week
CCleaner
Cleans files and fixes registry bugs
1 time per day
Back-up (Factory Files)
Backs up all factory installed files
1 time
Back-up (Personal Files)
Backs up your personal files
At least monthly or as needed
Update Computer
Keeps OS files up to date
1 time every day or two
Update Anti-virus
Keeps virus definitions up dated
1 time per day
Remove Dust
Keeps computer cool
2 times per year

A quick guide to updating RAM

I have included this video as a walk through to upgrading your computers RAM, which is the easiest and cheapest way to upgrade a computer for improved performance.

Does your computer seem to run a lot slower than it did when it was new?

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Comments 18 comments

Michael Arida profile image

Michael Arida 4 years ago from Philippines

Nice post, I am sure this will help some people that aren't too computer literate. I didn't read your entire post since I more than likely know most of this information however I felt that something was missing thats worth mentioning.

"Your anti-virus and operating system updates also eat away at your computers limited capabilities."

Yes and no, if you have an older computer you can still make use of it by using Linux. Its a free operating system that can easily be setup to be very resource friendly with no anti-virus software needed.


JohnGreasyGamer profile image

JohnGreasyGamer 4 years ago from South Yorkshire, England

Nice Hub, voted up and useful! I'll be sure to follow your hints 'n' tips, and pass them along ^^


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

Michael Arida, thanks for stopping by my hub, I appreciate it. I agree that Linux is always a viable option to free up some resources on an old computer, but as you might have guessed this article is geared toward those with less advanced computer skills. Thanks again and have a great day.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

Thanks for posting this video instruction hub. I can really use this one. Your instructions and guides are excellent andd will be helpful to many out there who need this maintenance.


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

JohnGreasyGamer, Thanks for reading and commenting, hopefully there are those that will benefit from the ideas I have outlined. I almost never have trouble with my computers, and when I do I'm always ready with a back-up.


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

teaches12345, thanks for reading and for your comment. I am hoping that some will find it helpful. These simple actions can really make a lot of difference in the performance of your computer, and add years to its life. Thanks again and have a great day.


scrittobene profile image

scrittobene 4 years ago from Melbourne Australia

Thanks dmop for this instructional tutorial. It's motivated me to be more diligent with maintaining and cleaning my computer.

Cheers mate,

Maria D'Alessandro


Noy 4 years ago

Great Hub! Loved it!

I learned a lot specially the basic computer maintenance chart... I researched more about disk clean-up and defragmenter and found this one http://picneck.blogspot.com/

Thanks for this hub...

More power to you mate. :D


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

scrittobene, thanks for taking a moment to check out my work, I appreciate it. I have several old computers that all still work quite well for their age, mainly because I take a bit of time to maintenance them regularly. I know computers get cheaper all the time, but who wants to run out and buy a new one every year when a few minutes here and there will keep the old one running just fine. Thanks again and have a terrific day.


scrittobene profile image

scrittobene 4 years ago from Melbourne Australia

You're absolutely right dmop. Also, some middle aged people seem to be somewhat intimidated by computers but if they can be shown how to do a task via a video, then such hands-on instruction would be helpful to them. After all, most tasks are easy when you're shown how. LOL


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

Noy, I'm glad you liked my Hub. I hope it is useful to you, and helps you keep your computer running better for longer. Thanks for stopping by and for the link and comment, have an awesome day.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

Good stuff Sir!!!!


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

Wesman Todd Shaw, Thanks for checking out my hub I hope you found it useful. I noticed that you seem to have a love affair with guitars, and though I'd point out that I share your sentiment. There's nothing like sitting around anywhere really plucking a nicely tuned acoustic guitar. Thanks again I hope you have a great day.


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 4 years ago from West Virginia

Voting this useful, awesome, and interesting. Would have voted up, but there is no button. Once again, I really don't like the new interface. Two big thumbs up. This is a class "A" article. Great video, info, and tips my friend. Will keep this page around for future references. Again, awesome article! My computer is a little slower, but I need to run that disk clean. Once again, VERY USEFUL INFORMATION.


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

thelyricwriter, I am glad you liked this article, and I hope you find a use for the information. I'm undecided on the new formats, they look nice, but I wish the vote buttons were easier to find and the vote up option was still available. Thanks for reading, the votes, and the comment, I hope you have a splendid day.


Brinafr3sh profile image

Brinafr3sh 4 years ago from West Coast, United States

Hi Dmop, these are very useful tips on how to keep a computer running like new; maintenance will make a computer last many years. My last HP computer lasts for 11 years. Voted up.


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

Brinafr3sh, a computer can last a really long time if it is taken care of properly. Maintenance is important no matter what machine you are talking about. If its something you don't want to replace often you should take care of it. Thanks for stopping and have a nice day.


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona

Oh, wow. This is great. I've got to read this all again tomorrow. I just spent more than an hour tonight trying to take Microsoft Security Essentials off my computer which was not working -- it turns out for some time now -- and installing AVG which I used to have for years. (I still can't get MSE off of here.) I also re-installed Malware protection -- which I learned about from a hubber on here a couple of months ago. I had it on here, but it needed reinstalling.

This article helps me relax and know there is hope.

Voting up, useful, awesome and Sharing.

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