Ultimate Preventive Maintenance Checklist for Computers

by Rod Dunne on February 23, 2011

in Articles, Performance

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You can use a preventive maintenance checklist for computers to help retain the performance of your home PC and ensure it is more resilient and reliable over a longer period. In this article, I’ll step through the key PC maintenance checks you should be performing on a monthly basis.

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Preventive Maintenance Checklist

  • The first critical thing to do are backups. Use synchronization software (e.g. SyncToy) to clone your data to an external storage system.
  • Update your anti-virus application and run a full scan of the entire hard drive. If your anti-virus tool does not have malware detection programs then run these separately (weekly).
  • Keep your programs up-to-date. Most applications will have a ‘check for updates’ feature which can automatically ping the manufacturer servers to see if there are updates. In addition, run Windows update service (which can in fact be automated) to get the latest OS patches and device drivers.
  • Help virtual memory expand by keeping 10% of your disk empty. The Windows operating system uses any free space that’s available for expanding the paging file (i.e. virtual memory). Virtual memory is used to help speed up processing application commands. The easiest way to clear out extra space on the disk is to transfer larger files onto an external storage device, remove old unwanted programs and empty the recycle bin.
  • Staying with the disk drive, run a disk defragmenter every few weeks. This will help reorganize data clusters on the disk to improve access speeds for all applications and the operating system.
  • Finally, check how many running applications you have and try to cut back on the amount of these programs. Use the task manager (or Resmon in Windows 7) to identify programs using too much processing power/memory and try updating/replacing/removing these tools.

It would be impossible to provide a definitive preventive maintenance checklist for computers as each OS version and PC brand will differ. However, the above checks are quite general and will help overall performance and reliability in the majority of cases.

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