Computer maintenance. Is there anything that’s as boring as computer maintenance? Maybe organizing the junk drawer, or scanning receipts into the computer, or watching paint dry.

But you have to do it. When the computer is zipping along, not causing any problems, life’s just a little better.

Here’s a to-do list that will save you time by eliminating preventable problems, and save you money by extending the life of your computer.

Daily/Weekly

Anti-virus/malware/spyware software – We harp on this because it’s critical that each computer has this software and that you set it to automatically update. And, set it up to scan every email and anything you download, as well as do a weekly scan of the entire computer.

Data backup – Set up the computer to back up data every day, at whatever time is convenient. The first backup will take awhile, but after that, it shouldn’t take long because it will be backing up only one day’s worth of data. You will never regret backing up data on a daily basis.

Update OS – Check for operating system updates at least once a week. This helps keep your computer secure and running smoothly.

Monthly

Trash it – Delete old emails and files. They clutter up your computer and will eventually slow it down. Tuck the remaining files into folders so that you can easily find what you need. You won’t always find all of the temp files or other items cluttering up your computer, so you may want to use something like CCleaner to give you a hand. It putters around and sweeps up a lot of debris and potential problems in various areas on your computer. Also, Windows has Disk Cleanup built in, so you can set it to run automatically. As long as you’re doing that, you should also set up the Check Disk utility to run once a month. It checks the hard disk for errors and fixes them.

Organize it – If you’re using Windows, there’s a built-in utility called Disk Defragmenter. It goes around and collects parts of files that are stored here and there and moves them to more convenient locations, increasing the speed of file retrieval. You can set this up to run automatically as often as you like.

Password – Change your email and computer passwords. Yes, you have to do it for security. And keep them handy but not on a Post-it stuck to your monitor. (We’re all guilty of that one at some time or other.)

Cleaning – Turn your keyboard upside down and see what falls out. Use a little brush to dislodge what doesn’t fall out. Dust off the outside of your computer and your monitor.

Quarterly

Cleaning – Open your computer and use an air canister to blow the dust out of it.

Updates – Check your programs, see if any need updating. This will help protect your computer from viruses and take advantage of patches or bug fixes. Always a good thing. A couple of programs that might facilitate this task: Ninite for PCs and Main Menu for Macs.

 

By Danny Tehrani