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6 computer spring cleaning tasks


Now that it’s officially spring, here are some preventive maintenance tasks you should consider for your computer to kick off spring.

Run a check disk on your hard drive. Data on hard drives can become corrupt, causing crashes and other instability. This corruption can just happen over time from typical computer usage, but it can also be triggered, for instance, by improperly shutting down Windows. Check Disk is a utility included with Windows that scans for and tries to repair any hard drive corruption. I suggest running it every few months.

Physically clean your computer system. Dirt, hair, and dust aren’t good for computers. Over time, they can lessen the life of your computer, cause heat issues, and otherwise hurt the computer components. How often you should clean your system depends upon how quickly it gets dirty, but I’d say at least every six months. If your computer is on the ground and you have hairy pets that shed or no carpet to absorb dirt then I’d say do a cleaning more often. You can unplug the cords and vacuum around the ports and fans of the computer outside, but I suggest having a professional clean the inside.

Protect against power fluctuations. As you may know, computers are sensitive to power surges and other power fluctuations. Thus, plug your computer system into a good modern surge protector. After a couple years, surge protectors may not offer good protection anymore. For the best protection, use an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) that offers battery backup in case of power outages.

Use a software cleaner program. At least every couple of months consider running a cleaner program that deletes temporary files and repairs registry errors. There are endless cleaner programs out there, but be careful as many are basically rip-offs. CCleaner is a very popular legitimate program, but my favorite is Glary Utilities. Both provide premium editions, but the free versions will usually suffice.

Ensure you have a regular backup. As always, if you have files, documents, and photos you don’t want to lose, then make sure they’re backed up in case of hard drive failure, viruses, or other disasters. For full peace of mind, use a backup utility that backs up to a separate local drive and also online.

Run a Defrag on your hard drive. Data on hard drives can become fragmented, slowing down your computer. Windows includes a Disk Defragmenter that can try to fix the fragmentation. In Windows Vista and later, the utility should actually run automatically but you should verify it is. After opening the utility, it should say the last time it was ran and the next scheduled time. If using the old Windows XP, defrag is likely not set to run automatically and you need to manually run the defrag ever few months.

Remember, you should always have a good antivirus program installed and consider extra adware and malware protection. Additionally, consider getting professional computer help if you aren’t sure about these maintenance tasks.

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