Monday, May 7, 2012

How To Keep Your Computer Running Healthy - Part 1 of 2

Welcome to my first article, related to "all things" computer - that means anything related to computer repair, installation, maintenance, software, hardware... you name it! For now, this relates to Windows-based computers only. Of course, many computer issues are beyond what can be easily taken care of by the average person for a variety of reasons. We'll concentrate on what's in our control from the onset and see where this takes us going forward.

That said, let's get right into some of the things you can do to help ensure that your computer stays in shape and running smoothly!

1) Keep Windows Updated

You should always keep your installation of Windows updated with the latest fixes, patches, and upgrades. Typically, you should set Windows Updates to "automatic" with a set time. When Windows updates are available, you should see a yellow or blue icon in your bottom right system tray, depending on what version is running. Double-click that icon to bring up the Windows update dialog. For Windows versions prior to Vista, click "CUSTOM" to show ALL the updates available, and make sure that all of the updates are selected. For Vista and Windows 7, ensure that you select "OPTIONAL" updates and select all of those as well as the recommended and critical updates. I'm not really sure why Microsoft labels some updates as optional, but as far as I'm concerned, if Microsoft or a particular vendor puts out an update, there's usually a good reason for this. So, do all updates. And note that you may or may not have to reboot your computer after updates have been installed. Check to see that none of your updates have failed. And when rebooting, the installation of these updates may continue for a few minutes, depending on what updates were installed. Once your updates are complete (and optionally, if a reboot was needed), manually check Windows updates again to ensure that there are no "second-level" updates to be done.


CCLEANER is a small, free program available at that will clear your computer of the build-up of temporary Internet files, old log files, and a lot more. These days, useless files can really build up on your computer and potentially slow it down. Download and install this program and set it to run every time you reboot or power on your computer. You can leave the default settings as is.

3) Reboot your computer daily, at a minimum

For many computer users, this is not an issue, as the computer is shut off at night and turned back on at some point during the day. For others, such as myself, I tend to leave the computer on always. If the latter is the case, leaving the computer on all the time will eventually take up most of your computer's memory resources, and you will notice a slowdown in how your computer is running. This can be frustrating, to say the least. At least once a day - or as needed - save all your work, and reboot your computer to free up the resource hogs from the past number of hours and get a "fresh start". It's important to note that depending on your computer, you may not have enough memory installed that the reboot itself will produce any noticeable difference. We will get into that at a later time.

4) Install a good computer "TUNE UP" program

For this topic, there are a number of programs out there that make all kinds of claims regarding helping to keep your computer tuned up and running efficiently. Some of these programs are nothing more than "registry cleaners" (more on that in an upcoming blog). Some programs are free; some are paid. Some are very good, some are not. Generally, you can do a little "due diligence" and search for editor and user reviews on these types of software at, for example, a trusted source like CNET's DOWNLOAD.COM.

My personal preference is TUNEUP UTILITIES 2012. This is a paid product, but it doesn't cost much - and it has a fully functional 15-day trial. This is the best program that I have found in this category that is light on CPU resource usage, can be configured easily, and runs seamlessly and quietly in the background to help keep that electronic friend of yours in good shape as you do your internet surfing, reading, emailing, playing...oh, and speaking of playing, it also has a "turbo" setting for gamers to disable a number of services for optimum performance during these times. But, you have to be careful with this setting as you'd want to revert back to "normal mode".

Andy Cooper is the owner of IFIXPCZ, an independent computer repair services company servicing the entire North Shore area of Chicago and beyond. Please check out our website at and make sure you "LIKE" us on Facebook for special content, discounts, and our exclusive Computer Repair / Windows Q & A Community! 1.866.224.8420

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