Monthly Maintenance: Tune Up Your Computer

Computers need tuneups periodically, just like cars and most other machinery.

A few years ago, I came up with the idea of placing a folder on my computer’s desktop labeled “Monthly Maintenance,” and placing shortcuts to my antivirus, antispyware, and tuneup programs inside it, thus creating “one-stop shopping” for computer maintenance.

Monthly is only a suggestion; If you use your computer 12 hours a day every day, more often won’t hurt. If you use your computer once a week, you may not need any maintenance for 6 months. I find it a convenient reminder to run the maintenance when Windows installs updates, usually on the second Tuesday of each month. I’ve started putting such a folder on all my customer’s computers as well.

Here’s what’s in the folder (All these may not be in the folder, but most will be):

  • Click me for Maintenance: This is a special little “batch file” that will launch a quickie tune-up that runs in the background, wait 30 seconds or so, then launch a disk defragmenter. If you do nothing else, maintenance-wise, do this.
  • CCleaner: This is the tune-up utility that runs in the background when you launch the above file. There are lots of options when you run it in the foreground for a more in-depth tune-up. Along the left side of the program window, the top option, “Cleaner,” does the same thing it does when you click the above link. I strongly recommend not changing any options here unless you know what you’re doing. The 2nd option, “Registry,” lets you clean the windows Registry. This is pretty safe and I’ve never had a problem, but always use the option to back up the Registry before cleaning. The 3rd option, “Tools,” gives you several shortcuts to uninstall programs, see what automatically starts with Windows, find duplicate files, and access System Restore.
  • Flash Update: This shortcut will take you to Adobe’s website to download/update Flash. If you get a pop-up telling you to update Flash, or “Media Player,” do not click it. Use this shortcut instead. Any optional software offered should be un-checked on this page. No need to run this unless you think you need an update.
  • Glary Utilities: Another tune-up utility, a bit simpler and not quite as intimidating as CCleaner. Choose the 1-click Maintenance tab, don’t change any options, click “Scan for Issues,” wait till done, click “Repair Problems,” that’s all there is to it. Note: Glary will sometimes nag you to buy the paid version; you don’t need to. Just click “No Thanks” in the lower corner of the nag screen.
  • Malwarebytes: My all-time best go-to program for malware that the virus scanners miss. Does not run in the background; this is an on-demand scanner. You don’t need to run this when you run maintenance unless something strange is going on, like your homepage has changed, you’re getting lots of pop-ups, or you’re getting strange messages about errors on your computer.
  • Ninite: A website that has the very best free software, including antivirus, and a 1-click download/install system. Highly recommended. If you don’t feel like paying for antivirus, get it here.
  • Update Software: A customized file from the Ninite site that will update a lot (not all) of the software installed on your computer. When you run this file, click “Show Details” on the left side of the window to see what’s being updated. If you get a pop-up saying Java needs updating, run this file instead of clicking the pop-up.
  • SIW: A simple program that will tell you more about your computer’s innards than you ever wanted to know. You don’t need to run this unless you’re curious.
  • SUPER Antispyware: A secondary anti-malware program. If you have serious issues, run Malwarebytes first, then this.
  • Teamviewer: A means for me to give you remote support. Don’t worry, I can’t be in your computer unless you give express permission, every time.
  • The Gizmologist: Shortcut to my website.

Note: you do not have to run every single thing in the folder. If everything is fine, just “Click me for Maintenance” and “Update Software”  will go a long way.

Some of these programs I install manually, but if you want to do it yourself, you can get almost everything on this list by clicking this link for the ninite file:

https://ninite.com/auslogics-chrome-glary-java8-malwarebytes-reader-super-teamviewer/

Note: The above file will install a disk defragmenter called Auslogics, plus the Chrome web browser, Glary Utilities, Malwarebytes, Super, Java, Adobe Reader, and Teamviewer.

Flash player download link: http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/

And CCleaner (Direct Download link): http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download/standard

When you’re done, make a folder on your desktop, and drop all those icons in there for a streamlined PC maintenance experience.

For even more empowering technology info, read my new book, “Deciphering the 21st Century,” Available now!

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