Most people understand preventive maintenance like changing the oil in your car will help your car run better and last longer. The same principle holds true for your PC. Based on the computer repair services we do on computers in Cincinnati, we believe 80% of computer slowdowns and problems can be prevented!
The purpose of this article is to help you understand how you can prevent computer slowdowns and other issues.
The top 10 ways you can prevent computer slowdown are…
1. Ensure antivirus software is installed, automatically checking for updates, and automatically scanning all incoming files. If there is a virus associated with a new file it will automatically be repaired or quarantined. New viruses come out daily. Because of this, the anti-virus software needs to be configured to automatically updates it’s self. McAfee and Norton’s are the most popular anti-virus software and what we recommend.
2. Run antispyware/antiadware software. Spyware and adware are hands down the most common cause of PC slowdowns. This software is critical if you are surfing the Internet. Spybot Search & Destroy or Ad-aware are the two most common free anti-spyware/adware packages. We recommend a more proactive packages like Spy Sweeper which proactively scans your system and cost less than $30. A combination of Spy Sweeper and Ad-aware provides very good coverage today.
3. Install a hardware firewall to keep hackers out. Hackers have automated tools that are looking for any PC connected to the Internet without a firewall. To give you an idea, at the time of this writing, my home PC was scanned 158 times in the last 24 hours. This means it was scanned an average of every 9 minutes. If you’re connected to the Internet but don’t have a firewall, hackers (criminals) will be in your PC. Beyond stealing your information they can install programs that can damage or slow your PC down. A hardware firewall to protect all the PCs on the local area network provides the best protection. Recommended hardware firewalls are Linksys, Netgear, and D-link. Hardware firewalls are easier to set up and maintain than software firewalls.
Software firewalls work but we don’t recommend them because they are complicated to maintain and often cause other confusion and issues.
4. Microsoft Windows is constantly releasing updates for their operating system. Most of these updates are repairing security holes in their software. You want to configure your machine to automatically check for and download critical updates as they become available.
5. Delete your Internet temp files monthly. This will keep your system cleaner and allow it to run faster.
6. Defrag your hard drive quarterly. This is not the issue it was but there are still benefits to defraging your hard drive on a regular basis.
7. Read the terms and conditions before signing up for or downloading anything for free on the Internet. Free downloads like Kazaa (music), games, toolbars, and coupons often come with adware or spyware. The terms and conditions of downloads explain adware will be installed on the persons machine in exchange for the free software, music, pizza or whatever. Of course, few people read these terms and conditions.
8. Don’t open e-mails from strangers. Don’t open attachments from people you know if your not expecting it. Call the person and ensure they sent it. If they did not, don’t open it. E-mail from strangers and unexpected attachments may contain adware or spyware waiting to install on your computer. It probably won’t install if you don’t open the e-mail or attachment. (Note: If you’re using e-mail software with a mail “Preview Pane” like Microsoft Outlook, previewing the mail is the same as opening it. You should turn this feature off. Unselect “Preview Pane” under the “View” drop down list in Outlook.)
9. Use the Firefox web browser from It is more secure and less vulnerable to popup ads, viruses, computer slowdowns, etc. It also has some additional tab and other options not available with other browsers.
10. We’ve talked about preventive maintenance but issues still happen. Hard drives fail. Computers are stolen, etc. Because of these risk, it’s important to backup your data on a regular basis. The best backups are stored off site. This can be done with an Internet service or store the data to a CD and take it to another location on a regular basis.
In summary, we guarantee regular preventive maintenance will keep your computer running better. We suggest doing these things yourself or schedule a computer professional to proactively perform and ensure these preventive maintenance steps are in place and working on a monthly basis. This will prevent computer slowdowns and issues!