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Regular Maintenance for your PC

Your investment in a computer system is usually quite significant. Like a vehicle you need to perform regularly scheduled maintenance to ensure optimum performance. Your maintenance regime should include:

  Confirm that good backups are being done. Do you have a backup procedure in place? If not, you may be sorry one day to discover your hard drive has died, Windows has become hopelessly corrupt or that someone has accidentally deleted an important file you were working on. It is not a matter of "if" your hard drive will one day fail, it is a matter of "when". The likelihood that your hard drive will crash increases exponentially in relation to the value and importance of the data on the drive!
You should establish a backup procedure using a Zip Drive, CD Burner, another hard drive or other backup method. Then make sure you back up regularly. Remember to verify the backups by actually restoring a sample file or folder.
  Empty the Recycle Bin. Many users overlook the simple but important step of actually emptying the Recycle Bin.  
  Delete .tmp files. Before running ScanDisk and Defragmenter, delete all *.tmp files that have been created prior to the current day. Tmp files are created during normal use of your computer and are temporary files your system uses while you are working. However, they serve no purposes to you if your system crashes - so you might as well remove them periodically and save yourself some space!  
  Delete files that begin with a tilde. When cleaning the system of garbage files, you might also like to check for any files beginning with a tilde (~).  
  Delete old .zip files. When you download files, they are often in a zipped format. Once you have unzipped the file, it is easy to forget to delete them. Over time, they can add up to a lot.  
  Run ScanDisk and defrag the drive regularly. Scandisk checks your drive and prevent problems by catching and correcting them before serious problems develop. Defragmenting your hard drive speeds up your system by reorganizing the files (in the way Windows accesses them). Or use a utility such as Norton Systemworks to regularly check and optimize your hard drive.  
  Check browser history and cache files. Delete the cache files and history files then reset the history files to no more than three days unless you specifically need to store that information longer.  
  Update drivers as needed. Make sure youíve installed the latest drivers for printers, modems, sound cards, video cards, and other devices.  
  Create or update the boot disk. Every Windows user should have a boot disk and every NT client should have an emergency repair disk.  
  Check the operating system and applications. Update your OS and applications with the latest service packs or updates. For Windows 98, Millennium or XP users, use the Microsoft Windows Update website regularly.  
  Check your cords and connections. Make sure all the plugs are snug in their connections. And make sure you are not using a string of extension cords to power your machines.  
  Clean or replace floppy disk and CD drives as needed. You can clean both by obtaining the appropriate drive cleaning kit.  
  Clean the mouse. It never hurts to make sure the mouse is free of dust and grime.  
  Clean the keyboard. Turn off your computer first. Remove the keyboard and then tip or turn the keyboard upside down and carefully use the palm of your hand to strike the keyboard several times.  
  Change passwords. It is important for you to maintain a regular procedure to change your passwords.  
  Check your printer. Print a test page. Make sure the printers are producing clean copies, and that the toner or ink jet cartridges aren't about to run out.  
  Update your anti-virus software. Make sure you know how to update your anti-virus software. If you donít know how to do this, make sure you visit the website , check the help files or manual for your anti-virus program.  
  For braver souls, open up your computer case. UNPLUG your computer from the wall first and then make sure you ground yourself (by wearing a proper ground strap - they are pretty inexpensive and you can get one at any computer store). With the case off, gently push each of the adapter cards inside to make sure it is properly "seated". Heating and cooling of your computer can cause expansion cards, CPU, and memory to work their way out of their sockets.  
  Use a can of air, and blow the dust and debris out of keyboards every now and then. Since the pressure is much higher with canned air, don't direct the air at an unsecured fan. Try using a pencil erasure to keep the fan from turning while you clean out the power supply and CPU. Blow out the power supply from the inside out first, or youíll get tons of dust blown into the computer. Take your computer outside or somewhere where all the dust being blown out of the computer won't cause a problem.  
  Check the fan. Check that the CPU's cooling fan is working and that the airflow isn't impeded by dust. Overheating caused by a poorly working CPU fan can cause all kinds of problems on your system.  

For Assistance on doing any of the above steps or would like a professional to help you, please click HERE or call (800) 297-9695.



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