What type of maintenance tasks should I be performing on my PC to keep it running efficiently?

To ensure your PC is running efficiently, it is important to regularly perform maintenance tasks. These tasks should include running disk clean-up, updating Windows and programs, uninstalling unnecessary programs, disabling unnecessary startup items and services, freeing up disk space, defragmenting hard drives, running virus scans and system checks. Taking the time to perform these tasks can help keep your computer running smoothly and help increase its longevity.

Disk Clean-Up: Disk Clean-up will scan your computer for temporary files and other items that can be safely deleted. The files that can be removed include internet cookies, temp files and old system restore points. To access Disk Clean-up on a Windows 7 or 8 system, open the Start menu, type “Disk Clean-up” into the search box, and then click the Disk Clean-up shortcut.

Update Windows and Programs: Keeping Windows and program updates current helps maintain optimal performance. To check for updates on a Windows 7 or 8 system, open the Start menu, type “Windows Update” into the search box, and then open the Windows Update control panel. If you have automatic updates enabled, Windows will automatically download any updates as they become available.

Uninstall Unnecessary Programs: Programs that are rarely used can take up valuable space on your hard drive, as well as clutter your start menu or desktop. Uninstall any programs that are no longer used or necessary. To uninstall a program, open the Control Panel, select “Programs,” choose the “Uninstall a Program” link, select the program to be removed, and then click the Uninstall button.

Disable Unnecessary Startup Items and Services: Startup items are programs configured to run automatically when Windows starts. Running too many startup items can noticeably slow system startup and reduce overall performance. To view and manage startup items, type “msconfig” in the search box, and then open the System Configuration utility.

Free Up Disk Space: Freeing up disk space helps improve system performance. To free up disk space, use Disk Clean-up (described earlier), uninstall unnecessary programs, and delete unnecessary files.

Defragment Hard Drives: Fragmentation occurs when files are split into pieces and stored in non-contiguous clusters on your hard drive. This slows down access time as the read/write head has to move around more. It is recommended to defragment your hard drive at least once a month. To defragment a hard drive in Windows, open the “My Computer” window, right-click on the hard drive, click “Properties,” click the “Tools” tab, choose the “Defragment Now” button and then click the “Defragment” button.

Run Virus Scans and System Checks: To help ensure your system is not infected with malware, it is important to regularly perform virus scans. Virus scans can be configured to run automatically or you can run them manually. To run a virus scan manually with Windows Security Essentials on a Windows 7 or 8 system, open the Start menu, type “Security Essentials,” and then click the ‘Windows Security Essentials’ shortcut.

In addition to the maintenance tasks noted above, we recommend using WinUtilities software to keep your system running smoothly. WinUtilities is a comprehensive set of tools for cleaning and optimizing your system, including disk clean-up, disk defragmenter, registry cleaner, privacy cleaner, file undelete, and other useful utilities. Using WinUtilities regularly helps keep your system running faster, prevents computer crashes, and removes evidence of your online activities.

By performing the maintenance tasks described above, plus using WinUtilities software, you can help keep your PC running smoothly and efficiently. Doing these tasks on a regular basis will help keep your system running at peak performance, protect it against viruses and other malicious software, and help extend its life.