Thursday, October 13, 2005

General Windows Maintenance (Part 2)

This is a continuation of my 'General Windows Maintenance' article. If you have not read first part go there first before reading this part of the article.
  • Delete unused computer accounts on your computer, these accounts can sometimes be consuming several hundred megabytes or more (in extreme cases). To remove these account from the Start menu open the Control Panels folder, and then double-click the System applet. Click the Advanced tab, under the 'User Profiles' section press the Settings button. From here you can delete unused profiles.
  • Go to WindowsUpdates and make sure that your computer has all the latest patches installed on it. This operation could require a reboot of your computer when it is finished.
  • Remove unused fonts from your computer. From the Start menu open the Control Panels folder, and then double-click the Fonts folder. Delete fonts that you know you may never use. Be careful not to delete certain system fonts (such as: Courier New (TrueType, including Bold, Italic, and Bold Italic variations), Arial (TrueType, including Bold, Italic, and Bold Italic variations), Times New Roman (TrueType, including Bold, Italic, and Bold Italic variations), Symbol (TrueType), Wingdings (TrueType), MS Serif, MS Sans Serif).
  • Right-click your computer's Recycle Bin, and select 'Empty Recycle Bin'.
  • Scan your computer for viruses and other malicious programs. Download Avast Home to check your computer for viruses. Download the Microsoft AntiSpyware to check your computer for adware, spyware, and other malicious software. Its also very important to make sure your applications signature files are up-to-date.
  • Defragmenting your hard drive, should always be done last. Some people claim that you will see a performance improvement by doing this, but personally I have never really seen much of one myself. I just like to know that the files are organized properly on my hard drive. The one good thing about defragmenting your drive is that its a good health check of your media, this because it has to move the file around on the hard drive to defragment them.
Cleaning Your Computer's Hardware
Now that you have cleaned up your hard drive, its a good idea to clean the physical hardware. To clean the inside of your computer does require some existing experience with opening it up. If you're not comfortable doing this, or don't know what you're doing then I have to advise you against proceeding.

Caution: Make sure to unplug your computer from any power source. Ground yourself, and follow any anti-static protocols that you may have been taught. Also depending on your computer's warranty, you can void it by opening it up.
  • Using canned air, remove all the dust from the inside of your computer. Also, make sure to clean out all your fans. Dust will kill your computer, because it prevents airflow which will cause your computer to overheat.
  • Make sure all the external cables are securely connected to your computer (i.e.: monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc.). Make sure all the internal cables are securely connected to your devices inside your computer (i.e.: hard drive, optical drive, expansion cards, fans, etc.). Sometimes these cables can come loose over time.
  • Make sure the CPU and RAM are seated properly in their sockets. Sometimes due to thermal expansion, its possible for these devices to move small amounts and unseat themselves.

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