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How Do I Maintain My PC

Keeping your computer in good working order is essential to get the most out of your machine. Follow the straightforward steps and tips in this article to maintain your PC and keep it running smoothly and efficiently.

Security
Making your computer safe from hackers and malware is a first and easy step to maintain your computer, and keep it running smoothly. Hackers and viruses can access your hard drive without you knowing, through email attachments and even some sites you visit. Websites are not such a concern because most modern browsers will display a warning if you're opening a site that has been identified as placing malware on your computer.


The other security measures you can take are to make sure you keep your firewall turned on and updated. Your firewall will keep your computer safe from hackers and viruses, which in turn will save you time and money on expensive repairs. Check now if your firewall is turned on. Go to Start –> Control Panel –> Network and Internet Connections –> Windows Firewall.

Give Your PC a Dusting Down
Increase your PC's lifespan by keeping it clean. It's very easy for dust and dirt to access the areas you don't see. Under your keyboard and in your monitor, behind the trackball of your mouse, and in the fan that keeps your hard drive from overheating. Keeping the keyboard, screen and mouse clean is a trivial matter of wiping them down with a dust-free cloth, or damp baby wipe following by a lint-free cloth. Similarly, removing dust from your hard drive just needs a once-over with canned air. This will blow the dust and dirt out of your machine, and keep your computer running smoother, longer.

Backup Your Data
The major function of your PC is to allow ready access to data that you use daily, and archive data that you access infrequently. By maintaining your data storage — that is, your hard drive — you will keep your computer up-to-date which helps it run smoothly. Store all your large files like movies, music and photos on an external hard drive or burn them to CD, to leave more room for your computer to find what it needs when you open a program. Saving space makes your computer run faster, which extends its lifespan by reducing wear and tear on the hard drive.

Keep Your Files Up To Date
Just as you can reduce wear and tear on your hard drive by backing up your data, you can also optimize your hard drive's performance by removing clutter caused by old and incomplete files. Here are two ways to make sure your computer isn't weighed down by files you don't need:

Uninstall old programs
With time, a regular computer user will have a dozen or so programs on their hard drive that had a purpose for particular task, but haven't been opened for a long time. Removing these is easy and frees your computer up for other jobs. To find and remove old programs, go to Start –> Control Panel –> Uninstall a program (Vista), or XP users, follow Start –> Control Panel –> Add/Remove Programs. This path will show you a list of familiar programs, some of which you may no longer have a use for. Click on the program, then select 'Uninstall'.

Remove temporary files
You may have documents that were relevant several months ago, but their use has passed. Also, you will download a lot of images attached to emails, such as a signature file. These have no use to you, but they take up room on your computer. To clear these unnecessary files, go to Start –> All Programs –> Accessories –> System Tools –> Disk Cleanup, and select the files you want to remove.

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