It's 9:00 on a Sunday evening and the phone rings. It is my Dad telling me that his computer is running slow, giving unusual error messages, takes forever to start up or something along those lines. He needs it working tomorrow when the stock market opens.
Three years ago I gave my 80 year old Dad a rebuilt computer of mine so he could check his stock prices without calling his broker all day long. He can get on the internet, read the news, go to Yahoo finance and check stock prices and look at a few other pages that I have saved in his Favorites. That is pretty much it. If anything out of the ordinary happens, he calls me. Other than the time a cricket got into his computer, all that the computer has ever needed is to have a good electronic scrubbing.
I highly suggest that everyone stick to a regularly scheduled maintenance program for their computer. How frequently this needs to be done is dependent on how much you use the internet the source of all of the spyware, viruses, browser hijackers, cookies, temporary internet files and other malware that can affect your computer's performance. I maintain my work computer weekly, but this may not be necessary if you do not spend forty plus hours a week on your computer. My second computer that is not used but a few hours a week is only maintained monthly at best.
Here is a list of the things that I do to keep my computers running at peek performance:
1. Always keep your antivirus program up to date and scheduled to run daily at a time when your computer is on, but not in use. I have been using the AVG free version for many years and highly recommend it.
2. Run the free Adaware from Lavasoft weekly. It is a spyware removal program, with paid upgrades available. Adaware removes spyware, dialers, Trojans, browser hijackers and much more. It is best to remove it all regularly since even the less harmful stuff slows your computer down and wastes space. The free version of Adaware will remove most spyware and does not take very long to run, so I run it first.
3. Run Spybot. Spybot is another free spyware removal program. It will often pick up a few more nasties that Adaware missed. This program takes a bit longer to run than Adaware but is worth it.
4. Clean out junk files (temporary internet files, cookies), remove invalid registry entries, another check for spyware, defragment your hard drive and RAM and optimize your startup menu. I use a program called System Mechanic by Iolo Technologies. I bought this program for around not long after Windows XP was released in 2001. I still use this product regularly. It performs these tasks quickly and is very user friendly. This product is a must have and a bargain in my opinion. I am sure System Mechanic has made many advances in the last seven years, but my old version still works very nicely for me (until the custom computer shop I use quits selling computers loaded with XP!).
This may sound like a lot of work to do on a weekly basis, but is well worth it. I do this on Sunday evenings when I am usually lounging around the house watching TV. I set a program to run, check back in a while when it is done and then start the next one. This way, it is not that much of an inconvenience.
See ya. Gotta run over to Dad's now to clean up his computer.