Computer Servicing & Maintenance: Get Your PC Running Like New
Optimize Your PC's Performance
Over time and prolonged use computers tend to become slow, buggy and sluggish and begin to crash more often. Often this is due to a variety of progressive problems such as lost file fragments, built-up temporary (junk) files, cookies, redundant registry entries, spyware, adware and much more. It's a good idea to give your PC a full-over service every once in a while to kick it back into shape and to optimize the computer's performance. There are a series of steps that can be used regularly to service a PC, although it can sometimes be a lengthy process.
If you haven't run a virus scan for a considerable amount of time then now would be the ideal time to do it, you never know what you might find lurking in your computer behind the scenes. It's also recommended that you use a commercial virus scanner like Norton although there are also some good free security applications out there available such as AVG Free or Avast Antivirus. Should your computer be infected with viruses that you are unable to remove, or malicious files such as root-kits, then you need to get hold of the operating system disc, format the hard drive and reinstall a fresh copy of the operating system (ie Microsoft Windows).
Once you've ensured that your PC is completely free of viruses you should then check for spyware and adware, some of which can slow your computer right down to a crawl. There are plenty of free spyware scanners available though I recommend Malware Bytes Anti-Malware. Spyware and adware are different to viruses and therefore they may not be detected by conventional antivirus software programs.
Once you have removed any malicious software that you may have found on your computer, the next step is to perform a clean-up of all the nuisance temporary files that Windows automatically stores on your hard drive. For this I recommend a program called CCleaner which is a free download available from Piriform. Start by using CCleaner to analyze your system then run the cleaner to remove all the junk that has been detected. CCleaner could easily find a gigabyte or more of unused files on your system, depending on how long you have been using your computer. Once you have run the cleaner, run the registry scanner and scan for issues. Don't be too concerned about removing them all, CCleaner will ask you if you want to make a back-up before removal. If you have any problems afterwards you can always then rewrite the data to the registry simply by double-clicking on the back-up file.
Once you have performed the above procedures you should have removed all the malicious software from your computer and then deleted all unnecessary files that may have been hogging up precious space on your hard drive. Next you should do a general clean-up of Windows which is fairly straight forward and shouldn't take too long.
Clicking on 'My Computer' then right-clicking the C: drive will bring up the hard drive's properties and also gives you the option to perform two tasks - disk clean-up and defragmentation. You should start with the disk clean-up which will, once again, analyze your hard drive and then show you how much space you could free up by carrying out the clean-up.
You should always perform the disk clean-up first before defragmenting your hard drive.The final step is then to defragment the hard drive and if you have followed these procedures correctly, it is after this step that you will notice a significant increase in the operating speed of your computer. Defragmentation can be a lengthy process but you should always wait until it is complete or you may not notice a difference. Even if, upon analysis, your computer says that it doesn't need to be defragmented doing so anyway could still significantly speed up your PC.