Regular Windows Computer maintenance

6 10 2009

The second Tuesday of each month is Microsoft Patch Tuesday – this is a good time to plan for other maintenance since you probably will already need to reboot. The updates usually don’t show up until the afternoon, so you may want this maintenance to occur on the Wednesday after the second Tuesday of every month – as odd as that sounds.

Preliminaries – Has the machine had any issues with extreme slowness or other erratic behavior? Other than running a backup, I wouldn’t do the other maintenance issues below until I was sure that I knew the backup was good, and had an idea of what was going on.

Backup – this of course assumes that you have a backup plan and sufficient disk space. I would run the backup manually just to make sure it is working even if it is scheduled to happen automagically.

Disk cleanup / registry scan/cleanup – I run a free tool called ccleaner. When you install it pick the minimal options to prevent it from putting a bunch of other stuff on your computer. Keep an eye on free disk space, it is easy for that to creep up on you, this tool, carefully used can manage some of that.

Microsoft Update – not just Windows update – make sure the updates are installing, even if they are scheduled to happen automatically.

Antivirus update – I’ve used a number of difference AV products throughout the years, and all have their pluses and minuses. The key is to pick *one* to use per machine and to only have one installed. Uninstall other products and convert to “Microsoft security essentials” for most situations a free tool is good enough.

Other software updates – it is easy to forget about other updates, but now that Microsoft patches regularly this is where the malware can sneak in and mess up your computer. Review the applications in your add/remove programs control panel (if you don’t need some and you know what you are doing – remove what you aren’t using) and check to see if any updates are available.

Antivirus / Malware scan – presumably your built-in tool is updating and doing this automatically. If you aren’t noticing any issues, doing a manual scan after updating is probably sufficient.
I’ve probably forgotten a few things but this is a good start.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Or you can just buy a Mac…

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