Perform Windows Computer Preventive Maintenance - dummies

Perform Windows Computer Preventive Maintenance

By Corey Sandler

Part of Fix Your Own Computer For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Fixing your own computer is less necessary if you perform computer maintenance. These tips for maintaining your PC can help you prevent computer problems before they happen and can keep your computer running smoothly and efficiently.

Be aware of hygiene and updates

  • Keep your computer cool and dry. Avoid direct sunlight on all computer components. Don’t block fan and ventilation openings. Be careful with food and drink around the machine; a spill can ruin a machine in seconds.

  • Keep your computer clean. Wipe the monitor, keyboard, and computer case periodically with a soft cloth. Keep handy a soft, clean paintbrush or a can of compressed air to clean out the keyboard and ventilation ports on the computer case and monitor. You can also gently vacuum the parts.

  • Keep your software up to date. Microsoft regularly updates Windows. Other software manufacturers keep their applications current with updates, too. Check manufacturer Web sites.

Be aware of sights and sounds

  • Cooling fan. The computer’s cooling fan should make only a soft whir, but some machines automatically speed up the fan when temperatures start to rise. Is the computer in direct sunlight? Have you inadvertently restricted airflow in and out of the box? Is the power supply overheating?

  • Hard drive. A louder-than-usual hard drive may mean an impending failure; listen for clicks or erratic speedups and slowdowns. Back up your data and run diagnostic programs provided by the hard drive manufacturer or your computer maker.

  • Lag time. Notice how long it takes to launch a program or retrieve data. If things start taking unusually long, you may be seeing a hard drive about to fail, or it just may be cluttered. Run diagnostics and use a defragmentation utility Also, keep an eye out for error messages or alerts.