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How Do I Keep My PC Healthy?


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#1
CompaqBabe

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Just as we have to go to the doctor regularly to check on our health, I'm a firm believer that my computer needs a "check up" to make sure everything is running smoothly. I guess what I would like is a maintenance schedule for my PC that I can go through on a routine basis to keep everything ship shape.

In your opinion/s, what maintenance steps should I take? What preventative processes can I perform? How often should I do them? What software applications (free please) can I use to help get rid of any garbage that may have accumulated on my computer (not just malware, by the way), slim down my hard drive, get rid of unnecessary files, etc?

What do you guys do to keep your computers lean, mean machines?

Keep it simple, if you would. I know nothing about programming or anything like that. I just want to keep my computer for as long as I can by taking good care of it!

BTW, I have a Compaq Presario 6000 running on Windows XP Professional.

Thanks in advance for any helpful advice!

Edited by CompaqBabe, 05 August 2006 - 11:39 PM.

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#2
Facedown98

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First, you need good antivirus and spyware protection. This all depends on if you don't mind purchasing products or not. For free, AVG Free AntiVirus is good, as well as Microsoft Windows Defender Beta for Spyware. You will also need a firewall. I think Zone Alarm Free does a great job. Now, you need to keep your hard disk in order. I suggest using CCleaner, which will, on your command, clean out internet jumnk, as well as fix computer registry errors. You also should run a Disk Defragment every month (I do it once a week). I'm sure there's plenty of other ways, however, these are the basic things. (Anyone feel free to add something if I left something out) :whistling:
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#3
magusbuckley

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CompaqBabe:

You might be interested in Windows OneCare. Unfortunately, it isn't free, but I think it is well worth the money. For $50, you can download the software from http://www.windowsonecare.com. This all-in-one program is Firewall, Spyware, and Antivirus in one. In addition, it has a maintenance schedule that you set to run at at times you know you won't be on your machine. The maintenance routine deletes temporary files to free up space on your hard drive, it runs a full system virus scan, defragments your hard drive to speed things up a bit, and marks new or changed files for backup. This program will automatically backup your files to an external drive, but will also burn files to DVD-RW and/or CD-RW. If you don't have an external drive, I highly recomend the DVD-RWs. Most people have enough data on their machines to use the DVD format these days. The data is compressed and burned to DVD with the click of the button. It's really nice.

I have been running this program for several months now and haven't had any trouble out of my machine. My maintenance routine runs once a week. Afterwards, OneCare lets me know that I have files and/or folders needing to be backed up. I slip in the last DVD-RW it used, click "Backup", and away it goes. When it's done, I throw my backup DVD's in my fireproof safe. Nothing to it.

If Windows is the potatoes, OneCare would certainly be the gravy.

Unlike other programs, the $50 you pay is for a one year account. During this time, you can download any updates to the program (which it does automatically) and new virus definitions. At the end of your subscription, you simply renew for another year. This is much better than paying 50 or 60 bucks for the software and then having to pay for the updates. I ran into trouble with this one time when using some Symantec software. I had just purchased a new virus definition update, but my version of their antivirus software was no longer supported. I couldn't get a refund on my virus definition renewal so was practially forced to purchase an updated version of the antivirus software. This is no longer the case thanks to Windows OneCare.

There are many free tools you can use to do what you are trying to do, but having all of these programs bundled into one makes it much easier to install and monitor. You won't have to open a hand full of programs to see if your system is healthy, you can just ask OneCare.

Before installing any new firewall, it is best to disable your old firewall. You should NEVER run two software firewalls at once.

Hope this helps.

Magus
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#4
CompaqBabe

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***** BUMP ***** Thought this was an important topic to revisit!
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