Best Monthly Laptop Computer Maintenance Tips

While there may be times you need to do something to keep your laptop computer working, it is wise to have a monthly laptop computer maintenance schedule to prevent loss of data that you have accumulated through time. The following are just simple tips to perform so that your laptop computer will serve you well through the years and make full use of your investment.

1. Scan Your Hard Drive for Problems

In the course of your surfing, copying, downloading and typing activities, some clusters of data are lost and cause your laptop to slow down or hang at times. Scanning the hard drive for problems can help solve the problem automatically and make your computer run smoothly. You can easily determine your hard drive’s defragmentation state by clicking the start button and typing “scan hard drive”. You will be guided by a menu to enable scanning and defragmentation of your files.

2. Arrange and Delete Unnecessary Files

You tend to accumulate files or data that you actually do not need. These may be old games that your friend shared with you, blurred pictures from your camera that you would not want, accidentally recorded videos, or downloaded materials which you already copied and used somewhere. These files accumulate precious storage space that can slow your laptop computer. Arrange your files and delete unnecessary files while going through them. If you don’t need those files, you might want to save them in a separate external hard drive or compact disc.

3. Uninstall Unnecessary Software Applications

Uninstall unnecessary software applications in your laptop computer. One way to find out which software application you don’t need is to list the applications you use and tally your usage. Find the best application you need and uninstall the seldom used ones. This will unload your laptop computer of applications that demand memory resources even when not in use. Revo Uninstaller is a good uninstaller that can remove deep-seated files that cannot be removed by the integrated windows uninstaller application.

4. Dust Off Dirt from Your Laptop Computer

Dirt building up in your computer can cause electronic malfunctions especially if you are living in a humid zone. Water vapor easily adhere to dirt surfaces and clog the fan of your laptop computer. Cleaning the accessible moving parts can prevent squeaking fan sounds due to friction that may lead to overheating of sensitive electronic parts.

5. Copy Your Laptop Computer Files Into an External Hard Drive

Copy all the files of your laptop computer into an external hard drive with large storage space. A difficult to remove virus might infect your system and destroy your files. If your files are important, make it a habit to save it right away into a separate external hard drive, USB flash drive or compact disc. It pays to have redundant files to prevent major problems due to the volatile nature of computer data.

6. Create a Restore Point

Create a restore point when you think you have made an optimal software application installation that you would want to maintain in your laptop computer. This spares you the need to reinstall everything when the computer crashes. Again, it is easy to access the restore point procedure by typing “create a restore point” in the windows search application box or in internet browsers. This will save you time which can be devoted to other activities.

7. Clean Your Registry

Clean your registry by using popular applications like CCleaner. A free version is available. Cookies accumulated during internet browsing, trash in the recycle bin, file links in your office application will be removed to bring back your laptop computer up to speed.

8. Download and Install Software Updates

Regular software updates are made available primarily to address security issues. These software updates can effectively block new viruses or malwares that can slow down your laptop computer, destroy your files, or steal your personal data.

Speed Up Your Computer in 5 Simple Steps

Do you feel that your slow computer could do with a bit of speeding up? Computers can become slow for a number of reason, but the most common one is lack of regular maintenance. In this post I’m going to show you how to speed up your computer in five simple steps.

1. Get rid of infections

Viruses, malware and spyware are the most common causes of PC slow-downs. That’s why you should check your computer for infections on a regular basis to ensure top performance. Keep your antivirus updated with the latest definitions and use additional anti-malware software for good measure. Malwarebytes is an excellent program that can find and remove infections that are often missed by a lot of antiviruses.

2. Disable excess startup items

If your computer takes a really long time to start, you might have too many programs launching on Windows boot. Disabling excess startup items will free up system resources and make your PC boot faster. To disable unnecessary startup items, go to Start – Run – type msconfig and hit Enter. Then navigate to the Startup tab and disable things you don’t need. After all, you can always launch programs like Windows Live Messenger and Skype manually whenever you need them.

3. Check your hard drive for errors

As time goes by, your hard drive can accumulate a large number of logical errors and bad sectors. These errors can significantly reduce computer performance and potentially cause data loss. Fortunately, there is a built-in Windows utility that can detect hard drive errors and repair them. This tool is called Check Disk. Here is how you can run it:

Go to (My) Computer and right-click on your main hard drive.
Go to Properties and navigate to the Tools tab
Click on the Check Now button under error checking.
A new window will appear. Make sure you check both checkboxes.
The tool will prompt you to schedule the scan for the next reboot. Do that and reboot your computer.
Check Disk can take quite a long time to complete the scan, so make sure you don’t need to use your PC for a while.
4. Clean your disks

Did you know that simple tasks like browsing the web and working with files creates hundreds of junk files? These files accumulate over time and take up hard drive space. They also slow down your computer because Windows needs more time to process all the files. The solution is to remove junk files. To do that, use the Disk Cleanup tool:

Go to Start – Programs – Accessories – System Tools
Select Disk Cleanup
Let the tool analyze your drive and then check the checkboxes for the categories you wish to cleanup.
5. Defragment your computer

Defragmentation is something that can speed up your computer a lot. That’s because accessing fragmented files takes a lot longer than accessing the defragged ones. Windows has a built-in defrag utility, but it’s not really effective, unless you use Windows 7 where the defragmenter is quite good. That’s why you’d be better off using a third-party defrag program that can defragment both the files and the free space.

These simple steps will help you speed up your computer and keep your system healthy.

Speed Up a Slow Computer

When a computer is running slow, simple operations that would normally take 3 seconds (like opening a Word document) takes a whole minute to load. This can be really frustrating and can affect productivity in a work setting. Lucky for us, there are several simple steps that can be taken to help speed up a sluggish computer system:

1) Uninstall Unused Programs and Disable Unnecessary Startup Programs

Too many programs installed on the computer take up precious space and can make your system run slow. To reduce the number of programs on your computer, go to Start Menu > Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs (for XP or Vista users) or Programs and Features (for Windows 7 users). Uninstall non-essential programs you don’t plan on using in the future, like an old version of software you’ve updated or a program (or computer game) you tried but didn’t enjoy so much. To do this, just select the program and click the Remove button (for XP), or right-click the program and select Uninstall (Vista and Win 7). Be sure that you know what you’re uninstalling – you don’t want to end up missing important programs. To be on the safe side always do a backup before doing uninstalls.

Startup programs are those that automatically run in the background whenever Windows starts up. A lot of these are really unnecessary and just take up precious memory. The easiest way to disable these is by using a program called Ccleaner(www.piriform.com/ccleaner – it’s free). Open the program, go to Tools, and select Startup. Pick out the programs you don’t need to run in the background (like a program updater or a media helper), then click the “Disable” button on the right side. This doesn’t delete or uninstall the program, but turns it off at startup.

2) Free Up Wasted Space

Dwindling disk space can also make your computer run slow. You can free this up by deleting old unnecessary files like temporary files, old log files, Recycle bin records and such. Ccleaner is a program that’s mainly designed to do that task for you. In the default Cleaner window, just pick out the items you want to clean (default settings work fine), then hit “Run Cleaner”. You’ll be surprised to discover that you have hundreds of megabytes (or even gigabytes!) of space just lying around in your computer.

3) Adjust the Virtual Memory

When the computer is running out of system memory, Windows allocates part of the hard disk, called the paging file, to store memory data. This is what is called the virtual memory. A paging file that is too small or too big can both cause the computer to run slowly. As a general rule, it is best to set the size of your paging file to 1.5 times your RAM – for example, if you have 256 MB of RAM, your paging file should be 384 MB. To adjust the paging file size, go to Start > Control Panel > Performance and Maintenance > System. Look for Performance under the Advanced tab, then click Settings. Under Virtual memory, click Change. Select the drive that contains the paging file, then click Custom size. Type the desired paging file size in megabytes (minimum and maximum) in the boxes, then click Apply and OK.

4) Adjust the Display Settings

Fancy visual effects like Windows Aero and animated windows also cost precious memory. To change this, go to Start > Control Panel > Performance and Maintenance > System. Under the Advanced tab, look for Performance and click the Settings button beneath it. In the Performance Options window that appears, go to the Visual Effects tab, and select “Adjust for best performance”. Then click OK.

5) Defragment Your Hard Drive

Over time, a computer’s hard drive becomes heavily fragmented. Data and files are written on the drive in a non-contiguous manner, which makes accessing programs and files take longer. To defragment your drive, open My Computer, right-click the drive you want to defragment, click Properties, and under the Tools tab select Defragment. The Disk Defragmenter window will appear. In XP, you can click Analyze first to check if your drive really does need defragmenting. If a message appears and says that you should defragment the volume, pick Defragment Now. In Vista and Windows 7, just click Defragment Now. This might take long, so do this only when you don’t plan to use the computer for a couple of hours at most.

6) Run a Virus Scan On Your Computer

Some types of computer viruses can clog up memory and really slow down the computer. The best way to resolve this is to update your antivirus program and run a full virus scan of your computer. It is also recommended to use an anti-rootkit program (like Sophos Anti-Rootkit, http://www.sophos.com/products/free-tools/sophos-anti-rootkit.html) to detect and remove trickier types of viruses that hide deep in the computer’s system. Anti-spyware programs (like Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware, www.malwarebytes.org) can also detect some types of viruses that cannot be detected by standalone antivirus software.

7) Upgrade or Add More Ram

Sometimes tweaking your computer’s settings can only do so much, and the best thing to do is to add another RAM card or to replace your RAM with a higher-capacity one. If you’re unsure how to do this, it is best to consult someone who knows how. The RAM card should be compatible with your computer’s motherboard, or else it may lead to more computer problems. Proper precautions should also be followed when tinkering with the insides of the computer – you don’t want to cause damage where there is none. Replacing RAM cards on laptops is especially more tricky.

Know How Power Issues with Computers Can Affect Your Data

Power outages, power spikes, and brownouts are all power issues that you may encounter with your computer system. Safeguard your computer system and the valuable data it contains by using a surge protector and installing a UPS. By being aware of the circumstances under which power failures occur and the possible repercussions, you are able to plan effective ways to protect your data from being distorted or lost.

Power outages, power spikes, and brownouts are all power issues that you may encounter with your computer system. Investigating the circumstances of power failure and how to respond effectively are important parts of computer maintenance. The data held within your computer is valuable and the electronic format may be the only source for the information. Protect your computer and the data held within it by preparing yourself for potential power issues.

Power Outages

You often cannot plan for a power outage or blackout. There is not always a warning beforehand, such as a phone call notification of an area outage. Fierce winds outside, for example, may take down power lines and cause power outages. Short circuits and power station issues also cause loss of electrical power.

If you are using your computer at the time of the outage, your settings may not be saved. Any data imputed into software programs such as MS Word or Excel after your last save of the document is likely lost. You may lose data as well if you are transferring information to disc at the time of the outage.

If your computer is not in use when the power outage occurs, the situation is similar to turning off the computer’s power button. No harm is likely done to the equipment. Upon next log on, you may be prompted to select ‘safe’ or ‘normal’ mode to run your computer as the system detects improper activity.

Brownouts

Brownouts are a type of power issue for computers and are also known as voltage sags. The power supply to the computer system is lower than the demand required to properly power the equipment. The lowered voltage often causes computers to shut down or malfunction.

Brownouts may cause worse damage to computer data than blackouts if the computer remains running rather than being shut down entirely. Stress is put onto computer wires and transistors due to the reduction in power being drawn from the wall. While data may still be accessed during brownouts, the processing speed is often significantly reduced. The voltage sags may be caused by damage to electrical wires.

Installing a UPS or uninterruptable power supply is a great way to protect your data against brownouts and surprise power outages. The system keeps your computer up for a few extra minutes while you save active data. You can then safely shut down equipment without harm to the devices or loss of data. The UPS is often used as a battery backup system for a PC. Many systems also include surge protection.

Power Spikes

Power surges or power spikes are rare but do occur to computer systems. The spikes are sudden increases in voltage and often occur following brownouts. A power surge may occur, for example, from a lightning strike in close proximity to the building that houses your computer system.

Power surge protectors on PCs help protect your data against power surges. Without protection, power spikes may mean you need to rebuild or replace fuses and circuits; the process is expensive and takes time away from working hours for businesses. Use surge protectors to plug in all parts of your computer, such as the monitor, central processing unit (CPU), speakers, modem, and printer.

It is an expensive ordeal to replace ruined equipment following a power failure. Issues with power can result in failure of devices and lost data. Safeguard your computer system and the valuable data it contains by using a surge protector and installing a UPS. By being aware of the circumstances under which power failures occur and the possible repercussions, you are able to plan effective ways to protect your data from being distorted or lost.

You Should Delete Duplicate Files

When people try to find ways to make their computers work better and faster, they often overlook one important bit of PC maintenance – removal of duplicate files. Duplicate files are something that makes your file collections disorganized and wastes valuable hard drive space. Finding and deleting duplicate files is a must and here are top three reasons why.

There is nothing worse than having a disorganized and cluttered computer. Finding files takes ages, your operating system takes a long time to load on startup, your music library is a mess, and so on. The more cluttered your PC or Mac is, the more time you need to do everything.

One of the ways to make your computer more organized is deleting duplicate files. Here are three reasons why you should do it.

1. Free up disk space

For a lot of people, this will be the main reason for removing duplicates. Duplicate files are useless copies of your photos, documents, songs and even videos. The more there are, the more disk space they take up. This is especially true for large files like images, music files and movies. Deleting unneeded copies has the potential to free up gigabytes of disk space which yu can use for storing your other files and installing the software you need.

2. Keep your folders organized

Another reason to delete duplicate files is keeping your folders organized. Having files scattered all over your drive makes using your computer a nightmare. You can’t find what you are looking for, so you download and save it again. That’s how duplicate files get created. The amount of them grows with time and soon you don’t know which ones are the originals and which ones are duplicates. On top of that, finding the most recent versions of your documents. This can seriously affect your work. And if your photo and music libraries are a mess, finding your favorite songs and photos becomes a real challenge. Deleting duplicate files will help you identify the files you don’t need and thus make your files and folders organized.

3. Make your PC or Mac faster

Both Windows and Mac computers’ performance depends on the amount of available disk space. The more free space there is, the speedier your computer will be. While most people remember running computer maintenance tasks like disk cleanup and uninstallation of unused programs, they forget that it’s possible to free up space by managing and deleting duplicate files. Removing duplicates will make your PC or Mac faster, just like deleting junk files would.

As you can see, you can improve your computer performance and your productivity by simply deleting duplicate files. The best way to do that is to use a duplicate file finder – a program that can automatically find duplicates and offer you to delete the ones you don’t need. There are several programs you can use, Easy Duplicate Finder and Duplicate Finder being the most popular. They work on both PC and Mac.