Your computer is starting to drag, and it’s only six months old. Sound familiar? It happens to us all – but there are simple FREE solutions! Here is useful list of important tasks that will keep your computer running smoothly:
- Delete unused programs, folders, and files. An external hard drive is perfect for storage and/or backup if you have lots of music, pictures, video and other large files. Using ccleaner (see below) to delete unwanted programs or turn off startup programs can be very helpful!
- Create backup disks. Backup any files that you use on a regular basis or files that are updated frequently. In the unfortunate event of a hard drive crash, you won’t panic about lost work. Drag your entire My Documents folder to your external hard drive once a week, and store the drive in a safe place!
- Create system restore points regularly. Do this at least once a week. If weaker viruses are accidentally downloaded, the restore point will ensure that your data is recoverable. Most computers will ask you to create a system restore point before a new download, but creating your own occasionally is a great idea.
- I can’t stress this enough: DO NOT USE LIMEWIRE, MP3ROCKET, FROSTWIRE, BIT TORRENT OR ANY SIMILAR PROGRAMS! They not only allow illegal sharing of files, which is pirating, but they also allow viruses and spyware to slip past your firewall.
- Use anti-spyware software. These programs can rid your computer of unwanted spyware, greyware, and malware. I recommend CCleaner and Advanced System Care Free!
- Utilize anti-virus protection. If you can’t afford an anti-virus program, I recommend AVAST Free.
- Defragment. Defragmenting your computer will guarantee that your files are organized and your computer is running at optimal speeds. This should be done at least once a month. I highly suggest using SmartDefrag or Defraggler in place of Windows Defrag.
- Find a reputable computer shop! Just as you need a trustworthy auto mechanic, a trustworthy computer repairperson can save you hundreds of dollars in unnecessary repairs or upgrades. Don’t spend a lot of money on an older computer – it’s just not worth it. Save up and buy a brand new netbook or laptop instead.
Have at least two browsers on your computer! I recommend Google Chrome as your default browser.
It’s imperative that you have more than one admin account on your computer. This way, should one become corrupt, you won’t lose access to your computer. Go to the control panel, then Users, and create a new backup account. Be sure it has administrator privileges.
UPDATE: Please also remember your other devices, such as smartphones and tablets, iPhones and iPads. Check out your app store for FREE apps to clean and protect your device. I use AVAST Free on our Android devices, as well as an app called Clean Master. I discovered a CCleaner Portable edition on CNET, which has great ratings. I will be checking that out asap.