Good Computer Maintenance Part One

Good Computer Maintenance - Part One
Normally we​ think of​ maintenance as​ a​ chore,​ something we​ have to​ do to​ keep things running smoothly and prevent problems down the​ road,​ whether with our car,​ house,​ or​ computer .​
But with a​ PC,​ maintenance can actually be fun .. .​
approached from the​ right perspective .​
Automatic Updates
The joy of​ computer maintenacne takes many forms .​
These days,​ automation is​ the​ byword .​
Operating systems such as​ Microsoft Windows and Symantec's Norton Interenet Security let you automatically keep crucial parts of​ your computer system up to​ date .​
It's fun to​ watch the​ technology keep tabs on​ itself .​
The security vulnerablilites of​ Windows are legion,​ and this forces you to​ download patches and updates if​ you want to​ minimuze your exposure to​ hackers seeking to​ break into your system over the​ Internet.
You can run Windows Update periodically through Microsoft Internet Explorer,​ which automatically detects which versions of​ Windows components you currently have installed and,​ by checking with Microsoft's site,​ which have newer versions.
Or,​ if​ you are running Windows XP Home Edition,​ you can automate things even further by directing Windows to​ check for critical updates by itself at​ the​ frequency and time of​ your choosing .​
From the​ Control Panel,​ go to​ System and click Automatic Updates to​ specify your settings.
Website Updates
You can keep your other software up to​ date by periodically checking the​ Websites of​ the​ respective manufacturers .​
Typically,​ by pulling down the​ program's Help menu,​ you will quickly be directed to​ the​ site .​
But the​ Website VersionTracker ( does something similar with multiple programs,​ for free,​ whether you have a​ Windows PC or​ a​ Mac .​
the​ ad-supported site has 30,​000 programs in​ its database .​
Pay versions,​ starting at​ $24.95,​ automatically alert you when new updates of​ programs that you're using become available.
Using Utilities
Staying up to​ date is​ crucially important these days in​ keeping the​ bad guys away from your computer and those using it .​
a​ good utility suite for this is​ Norton Internet Security (,​ which combines such crucial tools as​ a​ firewall,​ anti-virus program,​ pоrn-blocker,​ spam filter,​ spyware detector,​ and pop-up ad blocker .​
If you use the​ program,​ make sure you let its LiveUpdate feature automatically keep your virus definitions and other components up to​ date.
Symantec's other utility suite,​ Norton SystemWorks,​ is​ less useful,​ and if​ you need system tools more powerful than those provided by Windows itself,​ a​ better package overall is​ V Communications' SystemSuite (
SystemSuite includes tools for preventing and recovering from hard disk crashes,​ recovering accidentally erased files,​ completely uninstalling programs you no longer need,​ and completely shredding sesitive files .​
It also has an​ excellent file manager,​ PowerDesk,​ that makes quicker work of​ copying,​ moving,​ deleting,​ and otherwise manipulating files than Windows Explorer.
With today's large and fast hard drives and more efficient operating systems,​ one maintenance task that's no longer as​ necessary is​ disk defragmenting .​
When working with files over time,​ they invariably wind up stored in​ places at​ different locations on​ your hard disk .​
Running a​ defragmenter gathers up the​ pieces and places them together in​ one contiguous location.
Recent testing by the​ computer magazine PC World,​ however,​ showed that defragging no longer improves performance the​ way it​ used to​ .​
It still makes sense to​ defrag once in​ a​ while,​ though unless it's for a​ network file server,​ there's usually no need to​ buy a​ separate program for this beyond what comes with Windows itself.
So in​ all .. .​
even automated maintenance can be fun in​ that it​ is​ automated and can leave you more time for other endevours.

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