Preventative Maintenance for your PC

Your computer is constantly working. It is continually allocating memory, prioritizing tasks, storing files and executing commands.  Over time this can lead to errors, fragmented files, corrupted files and more. All these little errors add up and eventually slow and can even crash your operating system.

Your computer also is working mechanical machine complete with moving parts as well as parts that are sensitive to heat.  Like most machines, computers need some basic preventative maintenance done to them to keep them up and running. Preventative maintenance helps prevent down time, costly repairs, and worst of all loss of data.

So what are some things you can do to prevent such catastrophes from happening? That’s easy, set up a routine maintenance schedule and stick to it.

There are two sides to preventative maintenance, the hardware side and the software side. There are also other variables to take into consideration such as how often you use your computer, environmental conditions your computer may be in, whether it is home or business computer.

Obviously if a computer is in a dusty environment is should be cleaned with compressed air more often that a computer that is in a cleaner environment. Also if your data is detrimental to your business or you don’t want to loss 10 years worth of irreplaceable family photos you should back you computer up more often.

Personally I don’t feel that there is much difference between routine maintenance schedules for a home computer verses a business computer. Below is a suggested preventative maintenance plan that can be used on both a home and a small business computer.  If you are responsible for maintaining the computers at your home or small business, you should take in to account the different variables for you situation and adjust the recommended frequency to compensate.

Recommended preventative maintenance plan:  software

Preventative Maintenance Activity Recommended Frequency
Run disk cleanup Weekly
Defragment HDD Monthly
Check the HDD for errors Weekly
Back up your data Weekly (do this more often depending on how important your data is)
Update anti-virus/anti-malware software Daily (often this can be automated)
Scan for viruses/malware Weekly
Review security updates for your OS Weekly
Review driver updates Weekly
Remove unwanted programs Monthly

Several of the items listed above can be automated and can be set to run on a schedule. You should consult the documentation that comes with your software to see how you can setup an automated schedule.

Recommended preventative maintenance plan:  hardware

Preventative Maintenance Activity Recommended Frequency
Remove dust from fans and intakes, power supply and components inside the computer Monthly (or more often as needed)
Check for loose connections Monthly
Replace CMOS battery Every 3-5 years

In conclusion, setting up a routine maintenance schedule is easy and there is little to no cost involved. In fact a little effort will go a long way towards increasing the life of your computer and reducing repair cost in the long run.

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