The following preventive maintenance checklist of best practices should be adhered to by all Windows users if they wish to maintain their computer in a healthy state.
Daily Computer Repair and Maintenance
Run anti-virus scan on a daily basis. It is best to set this up as an automated scan that you can schedule to run at a suitable time. This may even fix slow computer issues if the virus is utilizing CPU, RAM and internet bandwidth (e.g. trojan viruses that mass email from your PC).
Make a backup copy of all critical data – 5 minutes making a backup saves you the cost and effort of calling in a computer doctor or data recovery experts if the computer develops serious faults. Using synchronization software is the optimum way of doing this (as they only copy across a delta of file and folder changes; rather than copying every single file and folder). Again, this task can be automated to run at a time of your choosing. The simplest way of doing this is using Microsoft Scheduled Tasks. Incorporate a photo backup of pictures from camera media or phones.
Check for updates to anti-virus and anti-spyware software for the latest virus definitions, and run a scan. Most applications can now be configured to schedule the updates to happen automatically.
Check that you have enough free disk space (>10% free).
Monthly Computer Repair And Maintenance Activities
Remove any applications you don’t need. We have a separate post about computer clean up approaches for freeing up disk space.
Run the Microsoft Windows update service from the Start Menu. If you choose the ‘Custom’ option in the update then always make sure to include critical security updates. Patches include PC repairs, performance improvements and security updates.
Use a clean up tool (e.g. the free registry repair application CCleaner or Windows own Disk Cleanup tool) to clear out cached and temporary files that are no longer needed. CCleaner also detects any Windows registry error that may be on your computer.
Quarterly/Less Frequent Checks
Change all passwords to protect yourself against identity theft.
Check all PC cables are correctly plugged in securely without any impediments that could damage the pins on the sockets.
Backup your data and then perform a full Check Disk scan of your hard drives (you can find this Microsoft tool by selecting open My Computer on the desktop, right-click the local disk volume you wish to analyze, and then click Properties. On the Tools tab, click Check Now). The check disk scan will reboot the system after the scan is done.