Useful Hints and Tips

It is important to tune-up your computer, just like servicing your car regularly is seen as a necessary task.  If you do not perform periodic computer housekeeping then , like your car, the longer you leave it the less the performance and the more likely a fault will occur.  So, here are a few basic steps to follow regularly so as to ensure your computer performs efficiently and doesn't grind to a halt or succumb to a nasty virus etc.

1. Defrag your hard drive at least once a month.  Automatic defrag scheduling is available with both Windows Vista and 7.  However, it needs to be done manually with Windows XP as follows:
  • Open My Computer.
  • Right-click the local disk volume that you want to defragment, and then click Properties.
  • On the Tools tab, click Defragment Now.
  • Click Defragment.

  • 2. Do a disk cleanup once a month to free up space (or more frequently if needs be).  This can be done as follows:
    Open My Computer, right-click the disk in which you want to free up space, click Properties, and on the General tab click Disk Cleanup.

    3. Regularly delete or backup and delete files/data that you do not need so as to improve efficiency.

    4. Ensure your antivirus program performs a scan weekly (can be setup automatically).

    5. Review your programs and uninstall ones that you no longer use/require  - this will speed startup and subsequent performance.  This can be done in XP as follows:

  • Open Control Panel.
  • Click on Add or Remove Programs - wait for the list to come up. 
  • Review list and click on each program to be examined for possible deletion.
  • You can see how frequently the program is used and when last used - you can then click on Remove if required.                                                 

  • In Vista/Windows 7:

  • Click Start-> Control Panel-> Programs-> Programs and Features to access the add/remove programs section.

    For those using the classic control panel:

    Click Start-> Control Panel-> Programs and Features to access the add/remove programs section.


  • 6. Make sure that your antivirus/malware and firewall programs are ALWAYS turned on and up to date - NEVER ignore any security warning messages or alerts, even if only to eliminate same.  Act where/if relevant.   

    7. Last but not least ensure that you take a backup of your important files (eg photos, music etc) at least once a week.  Ideally you should use a program to do this (lots of free software available - see link below)  so as this can be scheduled automatically without the need to keep remembering to do it.....especially when it's too late and the damage has been done!    

    ** Very useful FREEWARE  (free downloadable software) site for tuning software, backup software, maintenance software, security software etc:    http://www.techsupportalert.com/ 
    (The Editor's Choice List on this link is a good starting point).

    **Another very good site is for Microsoft software at greatly reduced prices for households with students (all levels).  These products include  Windows 7, Microsoft Office,  Microsoft Office for Mac to name but a few.  Here's the link   http://www.software4students.co.uk/  Well worth a look if you are considering upgrading to Windows 7 or need an office software suite.

    ** If you want to gain some very practical, easy to understand and useful everyday computing advice and information then  take a look at "Computer Active" magazine - here's the link to their website http://www.computeractive.co.uk/magazine

    If you need any help with implementing any of the above steps or any other information/advice please email me and I will reply with further links/instructions.   I am also always happy to take a call if you need to discuss any concerns or queries you might have.

    Thanks....VTCM
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