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Computer Maintenance – The Comprehensive Guide

HomeSingularLabs ForumsHelp ArticlesComputer Maintenance ArticlesComputer Maintenance – The Comprehensive Guide

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    As you’re probably aware; your computer will get slower and less stable over time. Unless you regularly take steps to maintain your computers performance, you will inevitably find yourself dishing out $1000 for a new one months (even years) before you really need to. This article will walk you through quite a few things you can do to fix general errors on your computer and make it much faster. Many programs will claim to be a 1-stop solution to clean your computer, many will boast that they can increase system speed several times over. Before we begin, you need to understand that these are marketing ploys and painfully untrue. There are many very effective free tools to boost system speed in a particular area, but there is no such thing as a “one click solution.”

    Remove unwanted programs:

    With that said; the best place to start is by removing unwanted (or useless) programs from your computer. Go to “Add Or Remove Programs” (accessible from the Control Panel) and remove any programs that you no longer need.

    When uninstalling programs, often you will be asked to restart your computer. While there is no real harm in waiting a while and uninstalling several programs before doing a restart – often programmers ask you to restart the computer for a reason, so it is often best just to do it. If you are having trouble removing any particular program I recommend this blog for specialized tools to remove specific software.

    Clean up startup entries:

    You can dramatically improve the time it takes your computer to start by removing startup programs. These programs attempt to open themselves whenever Windows starts, to make them more accessible and faster for the user to boot – or because they need to be constantly running to operate correctly. You can mange these  programs from within Windows by going to the start menu and clicking “Run” –> then type in “MSConfig.exe.” This will open a window where you can select what programs you don’t want running on startup by unchecking the respective tick box:

    If you do not know what to remove, Bleeping Computer have a very useful Startup Program Database for you to investigate every item to decide what it does. If you are looking for something a little more intuitive, Malwarebytes’ Startup Lite will prompt you to remove a general list of known unnecessary startups. System Ninja also has similar functionality, although it is not as comprehensive at this time.

    A general rule when removing startup items is: Do not remove anything associated with your antivirus/firewall software. This can lead to serious consequences and may leave your computer unprotected from malicious software.

    Eliminate Malware:

    Possibly the biggest consumer of system speed that I encounter is caused by malicious software – such as virus’s, spyware, trojans, malware and other undesirable programs. According to a study conducted by Emsisoft; 55% of all computers are infected with malware. In my experience that number would be even higher, but the reasoning for this (and ways to protect yourself from viruses) will be outlined in a later article. I would recommend two free programs to quickly check if you are infected with any malicious software and subsequently remove it:

    Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware.
    “Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware can detect and remove malware that even the most well known anti-virus and anti-malware applications fail to detect. Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware monitors every process and stops malicious processes before they even start.”

    Trend Micro Housecall.
    “HouseCall can quickly identify and fix a wide range of threats including viruses, worms, Trojans, and spyware. It is now faster, more powerful and browser independent!”

    Defragment your hard drive(s):

    As time progresses, your computers hard drive will decrease in speed and efficiency. This is due to the process of “fragmentation,” which results from files on the drive becoming divided into many small pieces. When your computer tries to access data, it must locate each little piece of the file and put them together before it can continue. The more fragmented your computer becomes, the longer this process will take. Windows contains a built in tool called “Disk Defragmenter” which consolidates the files to make your hard drive fast again. This tool should be run at least once a month to keep your computer running fast and increase the lifespan of your hard drive.

    Many free Defragmentation tools are available with a variety of features that the built in Windows program lacks. I personally recommend either Puran Defrag or Piriform Defraggler.

    Eliminate Junk Files

    The more you use your computer, the more unnecessary, temporary, and junk files accumulate on your hard drive. Programs such as Internet Explorer, Adobe Flash, Microsoft office and thousands more will slowly clog up your computer with junk files left behind from day-to-day usage. Over time these files will accumulate into hundreds, even thousands of megabytes of wasted space, which can impact your computers speed significantly.

    The most popular program to clean these files from your computer is CCleaner, by Piriform.

    CCleaner is a formidable cleaning application, however it is unable to clean absolutely everything. You can add hundreds of new definitions to increase the cleaning power of CCleaner with my free tool, CCEnhancer. CCleaner + CCEnhancer will clean almost everything that shouldn’t be on your computer, however if you after a more thorough clean of your system I’ve written a program that does that too. System Ninja is a cleaning program, similar to CCleaner that works in an entirely different way, allowing it to find junk files that CCleaner has missed.

    System Ninja is a lightweight program designed to clean your computer of unwanted junk, constantly slowing your entire system down. System Ninja features a fast and powerful file cleaner, Startup Manager, Process Manager, plus several useful tools such as CCEnhancer, FileAnalyzr and MalRunDestroyer.


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