This article may help you to maintain and ensure your computer is kept in good condition. A computer is in some respects, very like an automobile. To keep it in good working order, it requires servicing. If you neglect this, it will no doubt continue to function, until that day when, just like the on-board computer of the modern automobile, you suddenly start receiving error messages.
It is important to remember, that this machine cannot think. There will, if you neglect the regular maintenance of the computer, most certainly come the day when it appears that the computer, can think quicker than you.
Geeks to Go - where you are reading this short article and I am a Tech Staff Member, is one of the many computer forums providing free help and advice.
It was established in 2003 and an interview with "Admin" the Head Geek can be found here:
Over 353,000 persons have joined this site. It has been mentioned, with praise in many publications and YOU are now connected to what many consider to be the BEST internet site to obtain free help, assistance and advice with your computer problems.
There are so many articles, publications, magazines, books and other sources to obtain advice about how to use your computer that the choice is bewildering. The purpose of this short article is, to try and ensure that you have the basic rules and guidelines to hand.
1. READ YOUR USER GUIDE/MANUAL
Your new computer will have been provided with a user guide and manual, possibly partly on paper and on a DVD/CD, or even loaded onto the hard drive (the fixed drive inside your computer, where all data is stored). To those of you that never read the manual, before using your new television, washing machine etc., I would urge you to read the computer manual. The time to learn how to enter the advanced boot options, the BIOS setup or the Recovery installation etc. is NOW not when Windows will not load and you are under stress.
2. DO NOT INSTALL "GO FASTER", "OPTIMIZE" or "TWEAKING" - programs
When you connect to the internet, you will no doubt notice, various adverts offering VITAL programs to download to ensure your computer is "tuned to run as fast as possible", or warning you of the dangers of not cleaning the registry and offering this fantastic program that will do all of this and MORE.
Whether you are the novice user, or reasonably experienced the advice is quite simply - do NOT install these programs. They are frequently useless, sometimes dangerous to the health of your computer and often, little more than a scam. The scam programs will inform you that your computer is infected with a virus and has hundreds or thousands of errors. What started with a FREE examination of your computer can now only proceed when this fantastic program is purchased. If you now realise, that it is extremely unlikely that your new computer has all these errors, you may be extremely disappointed to find that continual Pop-ups interrupt you and remind you that you MUST buy the program to resolve your problems. If, this happens, it is time to come back to this site and ask for help.
One of the most common causes of problems on your computer is these registry cleaning programs.
See this link for the opinion of an accepted expert.
Your new machine will, no doubt have an anti-virus program pre-installed. It may well be AVG, Norton, Avast, Avira or one of the many others available. However, it is more than likely a 30 day trial. Although the length of this trial may vary, it is unlikely that on the average branded computer, the anti-virus program is more than a free trial. It will be a fully working edition of the program, but after the period expires, it will require you to renew the FREE edition, purchase the full edition or some similar course of action.
If you did read the user guide, you will probably know all about this. However, you would be amazed how many people continue to use the computer, after the free trial has expired and effectively without adequate virus protection. New viruses are discovered every day and unless your anti-virus program is up to date, YOU ARE AT RISK.
See this link for some excellent advice from Geeks to Go - from Founder Geek - Admin.
P2P downloads (Peer to Peer) A lot of people use these sites. Some offer the apparently FREE download of music, many illegally. Using this type of software is a more or less certain route to acquiring Malware.
Please see this
and the warnings in this article
and the most scary risk of P2P, is the malware that it installs to monitor EVERYTHING you do on the computer, including attempts to monitor your banking security and even steal your identity.
It may be great to torrent the latest music, until the day when you find that the latest music download, not only will not play, but YOUR computer has strange messages and behaviour that you have not seen before. You sign on the internet - and wonder why it is not your usual "home page". If you have ignored the advice to NOT download this type of software - now is the time to join Geeks to Go.
Click on this link
This is the link to our Malware forum, where you will receive free help, from a malware expert, certified after extensive training for their level of knowledge in this particular field.
You may browse the link, without joining, but you must join if you wish to seek advice.
4. PROTECT YOUR DATA - Backup and restore
Your computer will most likely have been supplied with instructions as to how to protect your data, so that recovery from disaster is at least possible. Many computers are provided with Windows pre-installed on the hard drive and a Windows installation DVD/CD is not provided. Most, but not all of these machines, advise you to prepare your own Recovery DVD, to support the recovery partition on the hard drive, where a back-up copy of Windows is installed. IF your new computer is so equipped and you have read the manual, please do NOT make this one of those tasks that is to be done tomorrow. YOU may be unfortunate in discovering that the computer crashes before tomorrow has arrived.
The best advice is, after reading the manual and following the guidance there, to purchase an external hard drive. These are relatively inexpensive these days, about £30 UK will buy you an adequate hard drive, usually connected by USB to your computer. Once you have that, all your personal data and a complete image of the hard drive can be installed on the external drive.
If your computer hard-drive crashes beyond recovery, for instance, a mechanical failure on the hard drive, as against a data corruption, unless you have followed the advice in your computer manual and here, you will probably lose all your data.
How to Backup
There are many ways of doing this. XP provide one, on the Professional edition and it may also be installed on the Home edition. Here is the link to Microsoft`s XP general guide
and another link to a FULL guide on using backup on XP. The article also deals with installing backup on XP Home edition.
Here is the link for Vista
and the link for Windows7
Free back-up utilities
There are many free utilities and some that can be purchased, that are easier to use than the ones listed above.
If your internal hard drive, or your external drive is Western Digital then they provide a free edition of Acronis.
Here is the link
If one of your Hard drives is Seagate then you can use their Disc Wizard
and also a link listing other hard drive manufacturers utilities, not all of whom provide imaging facilities.
The BACKUP is vital for any computer on which there is data that cannot easily be replaced. It caters for one of the inherent weaknesses of OEM builds, where Windows was pre-installed, the installation CD was not provided and the hard drive has a recovery partition. WHEN that drive fails beyond repair, that recovery partition may just have well NEVER existed.
If your new computer has Windows7. This, the latest Windows operating system, has the facility to create a repair disc. This is a vital step, explained here -
5. CLEANING YOUR BROWSING HISTORY
Every time you connect to a site, that is recorded in your browsing history and on many occasions small files, known as "cookies" are created. Other files are also created and all of these are stored on your hard drive. These files can become quite large and should regularly be deleted. The links below, explain how to do this. Passwords, for entry to sites that require them, such as your email, are also saved if you so choose. The procedures outlined on the links, cater for deleting or not deleting the saved passwords.
Although the link refers to Vista the actual procedure is for IE and not restricted to any Operating System
You may find references to a program called ATF Cleaner.. It is no longer supported. The home site is
and you will find that the download link is a dead link. The program can still be obtained from other download sources, but it was not designed for modern browsers and should no longer be used.
6. CLEANING THE HARD DRIVE - using Windows - Disk Cleanup.
This facility is your first basic tool for ensuring that your hard drive is not cluttered with unrequired files. They are created from many activities and Disk Cleanup will safely remove them. Generally for the less-experienced user, all selections on disk cleanup may be checked, and the program run on a weekly basis. Further guidance is provided in the links.
Here is your link to disk cleanup on Vista
and here for Windows7
and here for WindowsXP
7. FURTHER ADVICE ON MAINTENANCE
Including defragmentation of the hard drive, uninstalling unwanted programs, removing Windows components that are not required and the more advanced options of reducing the number of items in your Start-Up folder.
AND an excellent program for cleaning temporary files, which may be used on all Windows Operating systems, written by OldTimer a Senior Staff member at GeekstoGo and highly regarded on many other computer help sites is Temporary File Cleaner, known as TFC
Here is the link.
At this stage of reading this article, if you wish to join GeekstoGo then here is the link
If you do join, you will now be a member of one of the best computer help sites available. You will find us, welcoming, family friendly and hopefully, we will solve you problem. If you have some degree of knowledge yourself, you may even wish to contribute to the forums, helping other people solve their computer problems.
GeekstoGo has a few rules, but there to help EVERYONE and to maintain the excellent reputation of this site.
May I stress again that BACKUP is the most important and the most vital process you will ever carry out. Many people have regretted the day, they did not create a full backup.
However well and efficiently you maintain your computer, one day, something will go wrong. It may be simple to recover from the error. On some occasions, nothing more than a reboot will be required. On the other side of the coin, computers, like any other electronics can fail and if this does occur, for whatever reason, that backup on an external hard drive, or other medium, may prove your lifesaver.
Finally, I hope you found the guide useful.
All the Links were live when the article was prepared. However some sites do change their link address (URL) from time to time.