This article assumes you are running Microsoft Windows 7 or, at least, a Windows operating system. Your system may have similar stuff with exact name or different name or location.
Having a computer is one thing, ensuring its maintenance is another. Most people always wonder why their computer seems to be running slow or behaving weird. They forget, that like a car, a computer also needs maintenance. There are certain steps you can take, to ensure a faster running, secure and more efficient computer operation.
Windows 7 is a powerful and fast Operating System (OS). When it starts acting funny and slow, it's an indication that something is going wrong. There are various things that could cause it. Such as;1.Unnecessary startup programs running in the background.
2.Hard disk fragmented & in Need of Being Defragmented.
3.Hard disk errors may be corrected with "Check Disk".
4.Hard disk needing "Clean Up".
5.Adware & Spyware.
6.Windows registry issues.
8.Anti-Virus Security Programs.
9.Your PC may need more RAM (random access memory).
To fix them? Read on...1.Use MSCONFIG to Disable Unneeded Startup Programs
Today's computers are capable of doing many different things at once; however, having multiple programs running at the same time (especially ones you're not using) can cause everything to slow down.
What might such a needlessly running program be? Well, a good example is RealPlayer. This media player is used to hear songs whose file names have .RA or .RAM extensions. However, RealPlayer is programmed to start running the moment you turn on your PC — whether you plan to use it or not. Windows Media Player, conversely, is not so-rigged. Acrobat Reader and AOL are other programs that are often rigged to start running when you turn on your PC.
Here's how to use MSCONFIG(Microsoft Configuration) to control those pesky startups:
As you're a Win7 user, click onStartand type msconfig into the Search box. Then click onmsconfig to open it. Click theStartuptab to see a list of programs with a check box next to each. It's not uncommon to find all of them (many with cryptic names) selected with check marks.
Most of us don't need more than two or three of these items checked. In any case, unchecking an item does NOT delete the program — you are simply telling it not to start running when you turn on your computer. Furthermore, any deselected item can be re-enabled whenever you want.
The picture above shows part of my computer's MSCONFIG list. You can see I left the programs I want to start automatically when my computer starts, checked. If you are uncertain about what to turn off, deselect everything. Reboot to see how your PC is behaving. If anything seems amiss, return to MSCONFIG and check-mark whichever program you suspect might be the culprit. If uncertain, mark the first item in the list, restart, and review the computer's performance again. Repeat the process as needed.
Do not assume that this is a one-time ritual. Software authors have sneaky ways of adding new items to the Startup list, and re-enabling items you have deselected. For instance, I recently downloaded the latest version of Acrobat Reader, and found that Adobe had placed "Adobe Reader" on the list, despite the fact that I rarely use Acrobat Reader.
2.Defragment Your Hard Disk.
New files are normally added to your hard drive in sequence. However, moving or deleting files can leave gaps that make your hard drive resemble Swiss cheese. Defragmenting will rearrange the files in logical sequences that make them easier to access. The process usually takes less than an hour, and you can continue working during defragmenting. Click onStart>Computer. Then,right-clickthe Local Drive C:or any drive that needs maintenance, and chooseProperties>Tools>Defragment now.
Do it at least once a month.
Check Disk(Error Checking)
. This is a utility that will scan your hard drive and fix a variety of problems, some of which you don't even know you have. Click onStart>Computer. Then,right-clickonLocal Drive C:or any drive that needs maintenance, and chooseProperties>Tools>Check Now. Next, check-mark "Automatically Fix File System Errors" and "Scan for and Attempt Recovery of Bad Sectors." Finally, clickStart.
A message may appear that saysError Checking cannot be performed while Windows is running and that you need to restart your computer. ClickOKand then do a normal reboot by going toStart>Restart. See below pic.
ChkDskmay require two to four hours and the computer will be unusable while running. I usually do it at night or when out of the house for a while.
Also underStart>Computer,right-clickingLocal disk C:and choosingProperties>General, will displayDisk Cleanup, which shows options for deleting unneeded files and recovering disk space.
5.Windows Registry Issues
I don't want you to go into theWindows Registry is a very complex area that is usually best left to a technician or a Pro like me. For that reason, I'm not going to tell you to go there because you could easily make a terrible mistake that would mess up your computer, big-time.
For a layman, you can use any good registry software to clean obsolete keys in the registry. I recommend CCleaner, it's one of the best out there, if not the best and it's free. It is very easy to use but use it carefully. Read its Online Helpbefore using.
Bewareof ads on the Internet that offer a "Free Download" for "Speeding Up Your PC." or "Repairing your Registry."You will be told your computer has multiple problems and needs fixing, which the advertiser will do for about $40 to $60." Just ignore it
If you encounter a problem that appears to be system-related, things can often be fixed by restoring your system to a previous date. Click onStart>All Programs>Accessories>System Tools>System Restore. A smallSystem Restorewindow will open. You will see two choices;
b)Choose a different restore point.
a) Windows selects Recommended restore by default. For a layman, you can just clickNext. After the restore has completed, windows will restart automatically. If the problem persists after restart, navigate back to the smallSystem Restorewindow as outlined earlier and try the second option.
b) Select the Choose a different restore pointand click Next. When you seeRestore your computer to the state it was in before the selected event, whereupon a table containing info. of dates you can restore your computer to will be displayed. Choose any date that precedes the date on which your problem began.
Finally, clickNextand follow the prompts to restore your settings to what they were on that date.
The list of things that can go awry in your system settings is too long to itemize here, but I have usedSystem Restoreto fix all kinds of problems.
6.Adware & Spyware
Spyware can come in many different forms. If you spend any time at all on the Internet it's a pretty safe bet you've picked up someadwareorspyware.Adwareis usually benign merchandising information used by online vendors. It is normally placed on your computer in the form of cookies. Somespywarecan come in the form of cookies or can be picked up by clicking on a misleading link while online. The traditional way to remove spyware used to be to scan your hard drive with an anti-spyware program, such as Microsoft Defender. Nowadays, however, most anti-virus programs include an anti-spyware feature. I recommend Avast! Free Antivirus, it protects against virus, adware and spyware. It's a great software and I've been using it for years. Go get it now.
Virus is the greatest enemy of your computer. There are some viruses that could actually render your computer useless. The latest one is calledFBI Viruswhich has been spreading rapidly and is infecting hundreds of thousands of computers at an alarming rate. There are many forms of the FBI Virus and all of them share the same method of operation:you did something illegal and need to pay money. If your computer is infected with the FBI Virus you need to remove it immediately. Virus Removal Instructions.
Viruses come in many different complex forms and can do all kinds of nasty harmful things to your computer. Most people have a real-time anti-virus program running continually in the background to intercept malware that may come to you as an email attachment or which you might pickup online by clicking on a deceptive link.
Usually installing any antivirus will slow down any system, so be wise and choose an antivirus which is effective but light on the system as well. I recommend Avast! Free Antivirusor at least, Microsoft Security Essentials. These programs are free, so you have no excuse to leave your computer unprotected!
One of the fundamentals of any computer is: The moreRAM(random access memory) it has, the faster it will run. There are some limitations to this rule, but it pays to check with a technician to see if your computer could use more RAM. RAM chips can be user-installed, I prefer to install mine. For a layman, please have a technician install it for you before you damage something. However, if you really want to do it yourself, buy your memory units from any reputable shop, they come with user-friendly instructions for installing them yourself.
10.Operating System Update
Update your Operating System regularly to ensure that the operating system (OS) is updated with the latest security patches. Be careful with automatic updates, however. Allowing automatic updates seems like a good idea but in reality it can severely slow down your computer.
If an update goes out that has any sort of bug in it and you lose valuable data the OS company will not compensate your losses. In addition to this the auto update program that searches for updates will slow down your computer when searching for an update. To change whether you have auto update enabled or not, click on theStart>All Programsand select theWindows Update. A window will open, click onChange settings, below theImportant updateyou will see a drop down menu selectCheck for an update but let me choose whether to download and install them. Finally clickOk.
Make sure your system is always up to date, including the third-party programs you installed on your computer. It is very very important!
Install firewall software or use the Windows firewall (which is enough). To activate yourWindows FirewallclickStart>Control paneland selectWindows Firewall, then clickTurn your Windows Firewall on of off. Finally switch the firewall on by ticking theOnradio button.
That's all folks! Have a healthy and smooth-running computer!
Merry ChristmasandHappy New Yearin advance!!