Caring for your Computer: Virtual maintanance

Windows disk clean upLast week, we gave our readers some quick tips on the kinds of physical maintenance you can do to keep your computer running smoothly.  This week, it’s time to talk about some simple “virtual” clean up procedures that can help extend the life of your equipment.

It should be noted that most of these activities can be automated, which is especially useful when you’re at work or you have a large number of PCs to maintain.

#1. Remove old files and applications

If you have old files like photos and videos that you no longer need, you can clear a lot of space by deleting them off of your hard drive.  Of course, you should always be cautious when deleting anything off your computer.  If you’re not sure exactly what one of your applications or files does, play it safe and leave it alone.

#2. Disk Clean Up & Disk Defragmenter

Microsoft Windows includes software designed to free up additional space on your computer’s hard drive by removing old, unnecessarily files and rearranging the rest of them to use up disk space more effectively.  On most Windows PCs, you can find this these under the start menu under Programs > Accessories > System Tools.

#3. Scan for malware

Even if you’re using antivirus software, it may not be able to stop every infection in real-time.  If your system does not already do so automatically, it’s a good idea to scan your system regularly for malware and spyware once every couple of weeks.

#4. Backup regularly

Last but not least, you should take care to backup your data on a regular basis.  Backing up increases the changes that you’ll be able to fully restore your computer in the event of failure.