It would be nice if we could get a new computer every year and replace the PC that is starting to slow down, but that requires money and sometimes we just do not have it available. So, what can we do to prolong the life of our computers? Our best bet is to set up a regular scheduled maintenance plan for our computers and stick to it.
Unplug the power from your computer and open up the case. Take a look inside, does it seem to be pretty dusty in there? If so, get a can of compressed air and blow out the dust, then focus on blowing out the dust that may have accumulated in the CPU fan and the power supply. Replace the cover back on the computer.
While the computer is still unplugged, get a wash rag and a house hold cleaner and wipe down the exterior of the computer. You can also take this opportunity to wipe down the keyboard, mouse, and monitor. This not only cleans dust, but we spend so much time at our computers there is no telling what has accrued on our keyboards and mice. After cleaning, you may want to let your computer sit and dry for 30 minutes or so before you plug the power back in and turn on the computer. Your computer will love you if you can do this hardware maintenance once a month.
Maintaining the software on your computer can be a little more tedious as it could take a lot more of your time. These steps can be done once a month or bi-monthly if you do not have as much time. Your computer will perform better if you remember to keep to your schedule.
Clean out temp files – This can be done using the Disk Cleanup that comes with Windows. Click on Start -> Right-click "My Computer" -> Click "Explore" -> Right click "Local Disk C:" and select "Properties" then click "Disk Cleanup". Another program you can run along with this program is CCleaner. They will both help clean up your excess PC files.
Windows Update – Make sure your computer is set to automatically update Windows. You could also start Internet Explorer, click on "Tools" pulldown menu and then select Windows Update.
Scan for viruses – Great free virus programs are AVG and Avast.
Scan for spyware – Spybot is a good free program to track down and get rid of spyware.
Scan for malware – Use Malwarebytes's free program to scan your computer for problems and get rid of them.
Clean Windows Registry – use CCleaner to scan and clean your registry.
Defragment – Your hard drive will always get fragmented when you use your computer but we can limit the fragmentation by sticking to our schedule of defragmenting often. Download Defraggler for a great defragmenting program.