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Computer Maintenance

To keep your computer healthy there are a few things that you need to do regularly to ensure smooth operation. This advice is primarily for Windows based computers, but may also apply to other operating systems.

General Operations

Windows Automatic Update
Ensure this option is turned on (for internet connected computers). This will automatically download and install the latest program and security updates. This ensures your computer software is up to date with the latest fix packs.

Run a Scan Disk
This will check your hard disk for any data or format errors and if it locates any, it will correct them.

Sometimes Microsoft Windows will run this automatically when starting up your machine. At other times you can run it manually from the System Tools folder.

Run a disk cleanup
Run this program periodically to clean up temporary internet files, leftover install files and other system files no longer required. If your web browser is running slow this option can help to speed it up.

You can access this program from the Systems Tools folder.

Run a disk defragmentation (speed disk)
You should also perform this periodically to help reorganise all the files on your hard disk. Running this utility can help improve the overall speed of your computer as files can be found and loaded faster.

You can also access this from the Systems Tools folder.

Run a disk compression
Standard disk compression using NTFS is recommended as it adds a level of disk reliability. It can almost double the size of your disk space available and can also increase your machine speed as less disk access is required.

Enable this option for each hard disk if you are low on space.

Internet Operations

Virus Protection
If you use the internet and e-mail you must have an anti virus program loaded and running. It only takes one virus to possibly wipe out your whole hard disk.

There are many different companies that distribute anti-virus programs. We use and recommend Norton's Anti-Virus from Symantec.

Update virus protection
Most anti-virus companies update their virus lists every day. Please ensure that you set your anti-virus program to also automatically download the latest updates for your virus protection as soon as they are available.

Scan for Virus
Most programs run a full disk scan for viruses once a week. Please ensure you set your program to perform this task regularly. Any viruses found should be quarantined and/or deleted.

E-mail attachments and programs
Be very wary when receiving e-mail attachments as this is how the most common viruses are downloaded. It is a general rule that unless you know the sender and are expecting a particular attachment, that it should be treated as suspicious. You can delete the attachment without opening or if you are unsure, save it to your disk and scan it with your anti-virus program first.

Broadband Connections
With broadband or 'always on' connections, you must ensure that you have a firewall program running as there is less security checking by default. Many people run this with a router to keep their home/business networks separate and secure from the internet.

Wireless Connections
Most wireless devices come with the security options disabled. Please ensure after establishing connections that at least one encryption method, such as WEP or WPA is enabled between all your devices. This prevents other people from being able to use your network unless they know your security codes.

Other Operations

Backups must be performed for any data which you cant afford to lose. This can be performed by using your DVD drive, tape drive or floppy disks. Some people even purchase a second hard disk drive or external enclosure. How often you backup depends on how often or how much your data changes. Most businesses would backup their data every night.

If possible, keep any media backups in a separate room or building from the computer.

Individual computers may or may not have security enabled. To protect your data it is recommended to enable password protection.

This is enabled from the Control Panel in Microsoft Windows.

If you are running a network it is essential that you secure each computer and network device and only allow sharing where required.

Assistance Available
If you require assistance in carrying out any of these tasks or would prefer that we perform them for you, then we will be happy to provide telephone advice or on-site support.


The suggestions listed here are only a guide to some of the general operations that can be performed. There may also be other utilities available that perform similar tasks.



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