The Basics of Routine Computer Maintenance
By Daniel Flynn, Daniel Flynn IT Services
You might not think that your computer has much in common with either your car or your teeth. In reality though, all three have one very large similarity- they all benefit hugely from regular check ups and maintenance. If you identify a small problem in the early stages, it is usually much easier and cost effective to fix. If a small problem is allowed to gradually become more and more serious, you can quickly find yourself looking at a bill for hundreds or even thousands of Euros.
Performing regular check ups on your computer can save you a lot of money, and does not require a lot of technical knowledge. The most basic thing you can do is ensure that you have a reputable anti-virus program installed, and use it to run regular scans on your computer. This should ideally be done at least once a week. A virus is a piece of malicious software that aims to install itself on your computer so that it can destroy or steal information. There is excellent subscription paying software such as Kaspersky, but even free anti-virus such as Avast and AVG can often do a very good job of protecting your devices. Also remember that if you own a smart phone, this is a computer in its own right. As such, it is also susceptible to viruses and should have anti-virus software installed.
Secondly, make use of a reputable anti-malware program such as Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. Malware is the term used to describe any potentially malicious software that may have been installed on your PC. This includes viruses, but also less dangerous software that might not be identified by your anti-virus software. Adware and spyware are examples of malware that are less destructive than viruses, but can still pose a threat to your privacy and reduce the performance of your computer. Most free anti-malware programs do not monitor your computer on an ongoing basis, but instead allow you to run regular malware scans. I would recommend doing this at least once a month, and ideally at least once a week.
Finally, your computer can often benefit from having old files and programs cleared away. These can take up valuable hard drive and memory space, reducing the performance of your computer. I recently had a client who was worried that they would need a larger hard drive, as they were receiving urgent warnings from their laptop that it had run out of hard drive space. In less than 20 minutes I had freed up over 70% of the total hard drive space, simply by clearing out unnecessary and redundant files that had built up over the previous five years. Many users can clear a lot of spaces by themselves, using free and simple to use software. Microsoft supplies a Disk Cleanup utility in all current versions of Windows, whilst for a more thorough job you can download free software such as CCleaner Free.
So to summarise, there are three key areas that I recommend paying attention to in order to keep your computer in peak condition:
- Use a reputable anti-virus program to protect your computer and run regular scans.
- Use a reputable anti-malware program to run regular scans.
- Regularly clean up old files and programs that are not needed.
For those looking to save themselves or their business some time, I offer a full maintenance service for just €50 per computer. Not only does this cover all of the areas outlined above, it also provides a comprehensive physical cleaning of the computer using a specialist anti-static air cleaner. I perform this routine on my own computers every six months, and also recommend this to all my clients. For more information or to arrange a service, please don’t hesitate to get in touch today.
Daniel Flynn IT Services
089 236 5354