If I were ever going to give someone basic computer advice, I guess I would be able to sum up what I would recommend to them in two simple, straightforward little phrases, which would be:
- Take care of the physical well-being of your machine and
- Pay equal attention to the operating system and functionality of it too.
Let’s take a quick look at each in turn.
This perhaps sounds a bit silly, like a phrase that you might use when you are talking about looking after an elderly relative, but, if you think about it, as your computer ages, the two things are perhaps not so different!
They both get a little bit more fragile every day, and perhaps a touch more temperamental as well! And they definitely need more caring for if you want them to stay in the best of health for the longest time!
However, I am going to limit myself to some basics of PC care for the purposes of the rest of this article.
So, firstly, how about doing some simple cleaning of your PC every now and then? Check for accumulated dirt and dust between the keys of the keyboard, for example, because any ‘foreign bodies’ that drop into your machine cannot help it, can they?
Check all you connections for wear and tear, and replace any that appear to be damaged, as they may pose the risk of short-circuiting and causing damage to your machine.
If you are using a laptop, does your machine run very warm? If so, this is seriously compromising the life of your hard drive, risking a total failure happening much sooner rather than later.
Invest in a fan-loaded cooling mat to help offset the problem. They are not at all expensive, but could save you a lot of money (and heartache) in the long run.
See, it is all basic, simple stuff, but it could help your PC serve you better, and for a lot longer as well, so do not choose to ignore this advice!
The Functionality Of Your Machine
There are lots of things that you can do to keep your machine running cleanly, quickly and efficiently, and you should establish a regular pattern of doing everything at least once in a while, although something you should definitely do more often than others.
You must run a thorough virus scan at least once a week (and more often as possible) because a particularly nasty virus – and there are many – could destroy your PC as effectively as any industrial hammer ever could.
Of course, there are many anti-virus programs out there, but it is still hard to beat McAfee for speed and effectiveness.
Make sure that you check for Spyware and Adware as often as possible too. Again, there are many different anti-Spyware programs available, but the best that we have used so far, bar none, is the excellent XoftSpy. Try running a free Spyware scan to see what problems you have already managed to pick up, and the download the program to get rid of them.
The registry of your machine that drives the Windows operating system slows down over time, and the more you use your PC, the slower it gradually becomes. Your registry will almost certainly welcome a tune-up, and to do this, you should first of all isolate the existing problems and errors by running a free scan using SpeedyPC. Then, one you know what the problems are, use RegCure to fix everything that is already wrong with the registry (there will be lots!)
Finally, every so often, you should check your disk volume for errors and also look whether your disk needs Defragmenting every once in a while too. You can find both of these (free) functions in XP from ‘My Computer’, right click on your main ‘C’ drive, scroll to the bottom (Properties) and then hit the ‘Tools’ tag. Check the volume reasonably regularly, and Defragment once every few months.
Follow that little schedule and you are doing everything you can to keep your PC as smooth flowing and efficient as possible, and there is not much more that you can do than that!