Maintenance & Security
Here's a suggested list of some of the items that should be maintained on your computer and some suggestions for added security. Basic maintenance and basic security work together to keep your system performance at its peak. Like your vehicle, a computer is a complex item that needs routine maintenance and basic security to keep it running and free from problems. Keeping a clean and maintained machine makes for a smoother operating computer.
It may sound like a lot to do, but breaking it down and doing some occasionally should make it simple. Plus, if you start off on the right track you'll save headaches down the road.
It's difficult to say how often these items should be completed. Your computer is different from others and your use is different, so your time frame may differ and that's fine. This is intended to give some ideas of the types of things that should be done. Add/delete/modify as needed. The point is to establish a routine on a regular basis.
First, some of the basics: For the most part, these items need to be done only once. (Should be done immediately when getting a new machine)
Rename user account disable guest account & password other accounts Install a firewall
Install an antivirus program
Install a spyware/malware remover
Install a spyware blocker
Install a trojan detector
Install a registry guard
Install a program to edit your startup programs
Uninstall preloaded programs that you won't use
Secure browser & email client settings
Setup "popup" control or install popup blocker
Customize settings for all installed programs
Check for current versions/updates on all software, including the Operating System.(OS)
Disable "Messenger" unless needed
Replace/disable programs that "phone home"
Determine how you will back up critical data
Install surge protector or UPS
Record serial #s, product key #s, model #s & specifications
Make (and test) a boot disk
Back up drivers and special install disks
Clean up the startup programs
Perform as needed:
Backup vital files on a time frame appropriate for you. If you have a lot of important data that is updated/added frequently you'll need to backup more often than someone who has little critical data.
It's also a good idea to change your passwords periodically
Items needing attention regularly. Suggested time frame: Weekly to 2x/month
Update definitions on any program running in the background, such as a real time virus detection.
Run virus check and spyware check (if not done automatically)
Clean out junk mail and old email
Clean cookies, temp files etc.
Empty recycle bin
Backup registry/set System Restore point
Suggested time frame: Monthly to Quarterly
Disk check & Defragment
Check for OS updates & patches
Suggested time frame: Once or twice a year
Clean keyboard, mouse, mouse pad, monitor, vents & case
Uninstall (don't just delete...