What should I do to ensure my computer runs smoothly?

1. Keep your Operating System and Drivers Up to Date: Keeping your operating system and drivers up-to-date is one of the most important steps in maintaining a smooth and stable computer. Regularly check for software updates so you can get the latest security patches and features.

2. Manage your Start-Up Programs: Many programs will automatically launch themselves when your computer starts. These programs can slow down your boot time and eat up valuable resources on your computer. To minimize these programs, you should open your system’s Task Manager and manage what programs launch at start-up.

3. Prevent Unnecessary Programs from Running in the Background: Some programs may be running in the background without you even knowing. To view and manage all the programs currently running on your computer, open the Task Manager and disable any unnecessary programs.

4. Defragment Your Hard Drive: While modern hard drives use more efficient data storage methods, they can still become fragmented which can lead to decreased performance. To remedy this issue, use a disk defragmenter program to rearrange the pieces of an application so that they are stored sequentially on the hard drive.

5. Use Anti-Virus Software: Malware, Trojans, and viruses can severely harm both the performance of your computer and the safety of your personal data. For this reason, it is important to use an anti-virus software to keep your system safe.

6. Clean Up Unnecessary Files: Over time, your computer accumulates unused files and applications that can take up valuable space. To clean them up, you can use the Disk Cleanup feature that comes with Windows 7 or 8.

7. Perform Regular Maintenance Checks: From time to time, it is important to perform maintenance checks on your computer and address any issues that are detected. You can use the built-in Windows tools to run a check-up or with a third-party software. We recommend WinUtilities, which can be used to clean up your hard drive, optimize memory usage, and secure your PC.

8. Keep Cool: Make sure your computer is properly ventilated by leaving some space between the wall and the back of the machine. Also, make sure that any dust build-up is regularly cleaned out as it can impede the cooling system.

9. Check Your Power Settings: To maximize battery life and conserve energy, computers have built-in power settings. It is important to check these settings and make sure they are set correctly.

10. Upgrade Your RAM (Random Access Memory): If you are using an older computer, it might be worth investing in more RAM. By increasing your RAM, you can improve the overall performance and speed of your computer.