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Windows 7: Computer Maintenance Guide



Computer Maintenance Guide

Keep Your PC Performing With Regular Maintenance
Published by tw33k
18 Apr 2010
Default Computer Maintenance Guide

Computer Maintenance Guide (Part I)

Most people service their cars regularly. Everyone knows that in order to keep the car running some regular maintenance is required. But ask these same people if they service their PCs and watch the funny expressions you get. Like a car, a computer requires some regular, routine maintenance if it is to perform optimally. The following is a basic guide on what needs to be done to keep your PC happy.

Case Cleaning
Dust and dirt cause overheating and excess heat leads to quicker deterioration of the PC. Cigarette smoke is particularly nasty. Also, ensure there is good ventilation around the PC. The sides and especially the rear, need good air flow to keep internal temperatures down.

Always turn off your PC prior to cleaning and unplug it. Hold the power button in for a second or 2 to ensure all the power has left the circuits. An anti-static wrist strap is best to avoid accidentally zapping the computer. If you don't have one, regularly ground yourself by touching the outside of the PC case.

When cleaning inside the case, pay particular attention to the vents and fans. Use compressed air to clear any dust. Use a lint-free anti-static cloth to wipe inside the case.

warning   Warning
NEVER apply liquid directly, moisten the cloth and wring out excess water before cleaning.


Keyboard
Turn the keyboard upside down and shake vigorously. A few good blasts of compressed air will also remove crumbs etc from under and between the keys. The keys can be removed for a more thorough clean.

Mouse
For those still using a non-optical mouse, unscrew the ring on the bottom of the unit and remove the ball. Then scrape the accumulated gunk off the two plastic rollers that are set 90 degrees apart inside the ball's housing.

Monitor
Wipe the monitor case and clear its vents of obstructions, without pushing dust into the unit. Clean the screen with a standard glass cleaner and a lint-free cloth. If your monitor has a degauss button (look for a small magnet icon), push it to clear magnetic interference. Many LCDs can be cleaned with isopropyl alcohol; check with your LCD manufacturer. Wipe your LCD lightly as the underlying glass is fragile.

Tip   Tip
Don't leave your monitor running. The best way to extend your display's life is to shut it off when it's not in use.


As mentioned earlier, cigarette smokes causes damage. Keep the PC in a smoke-free environment.

Leave the PC running. Powering up and down constantly is one of the most stressful things you can do to your system's components. If you don't want to leave your PC running all the time, use Windows' Power Management settings to put your machine into hibernation or sleep rather than completely shutting down.




Computer Maintenance Guide (Part II)

Now that your PC has been cleaned inside and out it's a good time to look at "tuning up" your hard drive/s.

Disk Cleanup lets you remove unneeded files such as temporary file directories, deleted files in the Recycle Bin, and unneeded downloaded program files. Removing these files is an easy way to free up some valuable hard drive space.

To run Disk Cleanup, click Start and type "clean" (without quotes). Click Disk Cleanup, choose the drive you wish to clean and click OK. After the program does an initial scan of your hard drive, a dialog box display a list of locations that house what the system considers to be unnecessary files. Check the box next to each location you want to clear. You can monitor how much space you’re creating by keeping an eye on the number in the Total Amount Of Disk Space You Gain section in the middle of the Disk Cleanup dialog box. Finally, click OK and then Yes to run Disk Cleanup.

After you run Disk Cleanup, it’s time to run Disk Defragmenter. When you delete or remove files from your hard drive, you actually create gaps between bits of information on the disks. Instead of all of the data in a file being stored contiguously, it ends up scattered all over the drive; this slows down file retrieval and makes your drive work harder than it needs to. Disk Defragmenter removes these storage gaps and puts as many files as possible into one big chunk. This keeps the drive’s read/write heads from having to jump around so much looking for information.

To run Disk Defragmenter, click Start, type "defrag" (without quotations). Click the Disk Defragment button to begin. Choose the drive you wish to defrag and click Defragment disk. Once your drive finishes defragmenting, click the View Report button to see characteristics such as the total number of files on your hard drive, the average file size, and average fragments per file.

Note that there are third-party alternatives to Windows’ built-in defragmenter. These commercial tools tend to be more robust, more sophisticated, and faster than the Windows utility.

Note   Note
Solid State Drives do not require defragging


Diagnostic Utilities

If your defragmentation report mentions files that could not be defragmented, it could mean that your hard drive has a bad sector. (It could also mean that the files were in use at the time Disk Defragmenter was running, so be sure to shut down all of your applications when running Desk Defragmenter. In fact, many users boot into Safe Mode and then run defragmentation utilities.)

To get a better idea of what's happening inside your drive, download some diagnostics software. This is usually available from the Support section of your hard drive manufacturer's Web site or on the page your drive manufacturer sets aside for your hard drive. For example, you can find Western Digital's diagnostic utilities by visiting it's site and then clicking Support, Downloads, your drive's type (such as SATA or Passport), and then clicking the model. The model's download page includes links to any tools (including diagnostics utilities) that support your hard drive. Depending on the software your manufacturer provides, you may notice that there is a quick diagnostic test you can run to check your drive, or a more in-depth test that takes a little more time.


Tip   Tip
For a more extensive guide to optimizing performance, see: Optimize Windows 7




Published by
18 Apr 2010   #1
not so gray matter

W7 Ult. x64 | OS X
 
 

I suggest hibernation over sleep, as sleep tends to reek havoc on Windows.

Nice suggestions!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Apr 2010   #2
tw33k

Windows 7 Ultimate (x64) SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by notsograymatter View Post
I suggest hibernation over sleep, as sleep tends to reek havoc on Windows.

Nice suggestions!
I put my PC to sleep every night and have had NO problems what-so-ever.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Apr 2010   #3
not so gray matter

W7 Ult. x64 | OS X
 
 

Really? You're a lucky one, seen quite a few people w/ sleep issues. I stopped using it because when I woke from sleep my entire computer took twice as long to respond to any action. Don't get me wrong, mine works wonders on the OS X side, but if I attempt it on the Windows side it makes me want to cry.

Then again, I haven't tried it yet in Windows 7, maybe it's been improved since Vista.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


18 Apr 2010   #4
tw33k

Windows 7 Ultimate (x64) SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by notsograymatter View Post
Then again, I haven't tried it yet in Windows 7, maybe it's been improved since Vista.
It's a good idea to have actually tried something before making suggestions about it
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Apr 2010   #5
Dave76

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ult x64 - SP1/ Windows 8 Pro x64
 
 

Nice Tut, Good information.

Sleep has always worked for me, even in Vista.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Apr 2010   #6
noobvious

Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit SP1 (desktop)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by tw33k View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by notsograymatter View Post
I suggest hibernation over sleep, as sleep tends to reek havoc on Windows.

Nice suggestions!
I put my PC to sleep every night and have had NO problems what-so-ever.
+1.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Apr 2010   #7
noobvious

Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit SP1 (desktop)
 
 

Is there a general rule of thumb as to when it is time to defrag your HDD? I've heard 5% fragmented, 10% fragmented, so far I have gone by the 10% theory.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Apr 2010   #8
CarlTR6

Windows 7 Ultimate 32 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by notsograymatter View Post
I suggest hibernation over sleep, as sleep tends to reek havoc on Windows.

Nice suggestions!
Sleep works fine for me; no problems. It never did work right for me in XP.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Apr 2010   #9
CarlTR6

Windows 7 Ultimate 32 bit
 
 

Good information in the tutorial, tw33k. Nice job.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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