PC Maintenance Software Precautions

by Rod Dunne on March 15, 2010

in Articles, Performance

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The worst sight any Windows user could possibly see is the blue screen of death. This is a screen of exception code stating a fatal computer error has happened leaving you no option but to reboot.

Thankfully this is a rare occurrence. That said, there are several practices that Windows PC users can execute to decrease the chances of problems happening.

Don’t Overload Your PC or Laptop

Avoid running a large amount of peripherals connected to your machine as there can be problems with the USB hubs/splitters. Peripherals such as keyboards and mice are fine as they consume small amounts of energy. But having several external hard-drives (or other power hungry peripherals) running in parallel for long periods will overheat the hub resulting in potential blow-outs, computer freezes or device recognition issues from the operating system (O/S).

PC manufacturers provide a specific number of USB ports on their machines that are within their own testing constraints for the machine – overloading these ports pushes the constraints. USB data recovery is always possible if the worst does happen but you are better off not over-exerting the USB hub in the first place.

Our article on how to prevent computer overheating covers additional causes and ways to stop the risk of heat damage to your PC.

Update Software Regularly

Ensuring the O/S and application drivers are kept up to date is the easiest way to do pre-emptive PC repairs. It is generally good practice to ‘Check for Updates’ often and the better vendors will provide automated update checks with their products.

Windows Update service will be the first port of call for O/S updates. These updates generally fix Windows minor bugs but you’ll also find critical security updates which are essential to keep up to date to safeguard your PC/laptop. Service pack 2 and above are strongly recommended updates for XP computer owners.

Security & Virus Protection

There is the ongoing danger of receiving hacker attacks while connected to the net so it is essential to have a firewall installed along with spyware protection and virus scanners. Just be sure to keep the applications and their virus databases up to date. Our post on USB protection covers software/hardware options for securing flash drive data.

Protect Yourself Against Power Surges

Always use a power extension which has surge protection as a built in feature. If there is a power cut in your area or the some household appliance (microwave/hoover/etc.) blows out a fuse then there is the potential for surge being sent to your machine burning out its electronic components – and this is fatal for most machines.

Use Windows Hibernation Mode

Screen savers really don’t save your screen. Modern monitors use less power than old legacy monitors so there is a lower chance of such damage occurring.

One unfortunate myth about screen savers is that they conserve energy – which is untrue. If you want to conserve energy then use the Standby mode in Windows. An even better solutions is to use the Hibernation mode. Standby keeps the machine still using a small amount of power. Hibernation takes a snapshot of applications running and then shuts down the computer completely, which saves power and saves the electronics from continual usage. Do a completely reboot from time to time to free laptop memory that has been cached.

Remember that your Windows computer has hundreds of circuits that have a well-defined workload capacity and shelf life. The above actions can help keep your computer running within these constraints and therefore working better for longer.

Related posts:

- Why Is My Computer Running Slow?
- How to fix DLL errors.

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