Here's a suggested list of some of the items that should be maintained
on your computer and some suggestions for added security. Basic
maintenance and basic security work together to keep your system
performance at its peak. Like your vehicle, a computer is a complex
item that needs routine maintenance and basic security to keep it
running and free from problems. Keeping a clean and maintained machine
makes for a smoother operating computer.
It may sound like a lot to do, but breaking it down and doing some
occasionally should make it simple. Plus, if you start off on the right track you'll save headaches down the road.
It's difficult to say how often these items should be completed. Your
computer is different from others and your use is different, so your
time frame may differ and that's fine. This is intended to give some
ideas of the types of things that should be done.
Add/delete/modify as needed.
The point is to establish a routine on a regular basis.
First, some of the basics:
For the most part, these items need to be done only once.
(Should be done immediately when getting a new machine)
Rename user account disable guest account & password other accounts
Install a firewall
Install an antivirus program
Install a spyware/malware remover
Install a spyware blocker
Install a trojan detector
Install a registry guard
Install a program to edit your startup programs
Uninstall preloaded programs that you won't use
Secure browser & email client settings
Setup "popup" control or install popup blocker
Customize settings for all installed programs
Check for current versions/updates on all software, including the Operating System.(OS)
Disable "Messenger" unless needed
Replace/disable programs that "phone home"
Determine how you will back up critical data
Install surge protector or UPS
Record serial #s, product key #s, model #s & specifications
Make (and test) a boot disk
Back up drivers and special install disks
Clean up the startup programs
Perform as needed:
Backup vital files on a time frame appropriate for you.
If you have a
lot of important data that is updated/added frequently you'll need to
backup more often than someone who has little critical data.
It's also a good idea to change your passwords periodically
Items needing attention regularly. Suggested time frame: Weekly to
Update definitions on any program running in the background, such as
a real time virus detection.
Run virus check and spyware check (if not done automatically)
Clean out junk mail and old email
Clean cookies, temp files etc.
Empty recycle bin
Backup registry/set System Restore point
Suggested time frame: Monthly to Quarterly
Disk check & Defragment
Check for OS updates & patches
Suggested time frame: Once or twice a year
Clean keyboard, mouse, mouse pad, monitor, vents & case
Uninstall (don't just delete folders of) obsolete & unused
Clean out old downloads and files that are no longer needed. Also
check for ~*.*, *.tmp, *.chk, *.old, file0*.* and other similar files
Clean inside case (blow out dust, check connections etc), including
Check that fans are working
Clean out excess startup programs
Clean Start Menu
Clean & organize files
Check hard drive space - should be >20% free space
Clean index.dat files
Clean out Bookmarks/Favorites
Clean out excess graphics files
Don't forget to unplug your system and phone/internet connection
Document error messages so you can research them or ask for help
Pay attention to strange sounds and noticeable changes in performance
Thanx to (Cynic) Ken for this contribution
How to secure a retaining wall around a pond?
Microsoft Security Essentials available Sept. 29
Trying to keep up with maintenance.