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Beginners Maintenance Check List

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 »  Home  »  General Articles  »  Beginners Maintenance Check List
Beginners Maintenance Check List
By  Super Admin  | Published  02/27/2005 | General Articles | Rating:
Beginners Maintenance Check List

-- "First, do no harm:" ie, don’t start your computer career by trying to delete everything, modifying the heck out of your registry, or racing around to various exotic tweak and tips sites that are all too easily, abundantly, and alluringly hailable, available, and accessible over the internet. You need to learn before you can truly 'tweak.' ;)

1.Disk Defragmenter. - run once a week, and/or after installing a new program, or uninstalling an old one. ( avoid installing too many extraneous programs, especially 3rd party free- and share-ware off the Internet. XP doesn’t really like it, or cooperate with such an approach.)

2. Run chkdsk in run command ... I do it every day: others may settle for once a week, maybe longer.

3. Left click Disk check with bad sectors check (requires reboot, as prescribed...whole process can take 20 minutes or more.) I doubt if this would hurt anyone if you ran it once a month.

4. Delete temporary internet files, from Internet Explorer > Tools > Internet Options > General tab ...oh, once every few days. ( I delete mine every day.)

5. Delete cookies, from same.

6. Delete history, from same.

7. Delete *.tmp, .gid, .cnt, .fts, .dmp files occasionally. Leave .old, .bak, and .log files until you learn more about them. It can be a drag to lose them, only to find your system needed them to load or uninstall a particular program ( oh, those tedious error pop-ups!)

…and XP is nothing, if it isn’t ‘particular!’

8. Uncheck unneeded services in msconfig (run command) on start-up tab. Don't mess with the other tabs in System Configuration for a good long while!

9. run SFC /scannow (type in run command line) with OS disc once a month (takes about 20 minutes.)

10. Reboot often, more or less ( after running a given program, even if it doesn’t tell you to, for example. As a general rule, if your rebooting, say, about once every half-hour, I can hardly think that is excessive, even today, with our 'new and improved.')

11. Resort to power off, occasionally, for that reassuring clean sweep effect.(Start, Power off, Turn off .) Wait a half minute or so, and reboot with tower button.

12. Remove old programs you no longer use, from Add/Remove.

13. Make extra restore points, and resort to System restore, when necessary.

14. Review and learn how to do a repair reinstall, should the necessity ever arise.

15. Do automatic updates, if so inclined (Some download them all, some are more selective, and some daring souls neglect them completely.)

16. Run Anti-virus scan once a week, and keep steady scan on all the time.

17. UseWindows firewall as present. Disable temporarily if necessary for downloads. 3rd party fire walls, even the free ones, are for the slightly more advanced. They can be frustrating. ( Also, disable anti-virus, if necessary, to exectue difficult or slow downloads. You can always save the file to disc, and scan it for viruses, before you open it. Ie, you don't need to run anti-virus during the actual downloading, itself.)

18. Download and run (Lavasoft) Adaware 6, if necessary, if you play with third party software downloads off internet. ( A pleasant way also to remind you of all the 'cookies' and such you left sitting on your system, no doubt draining your resources and slowing the system down!)

19. Avoid deleting surplus refernces to deleted files and removed software in the registry. You need to be really sure you know how to do this before you can

20. Consider full system reinstall.

21. Get one or two more hard drives, and keep OS on separate hard drive.

22. Check for, and download, new drivers for the stuff you know you have (ie, in device manager.) from the various manufacturer's website.

23. Always use Add/Remove programs in Start > Control Panel to remove unneeded software. The uninstall programs provided with downloadable freeware and such are not necessarily good for your machine. XP is not overly fond of uninstalling software, except thru Add/Remove. (Use the right tool for the job!)

24. Consider upgrading to at least 256 RAM. ( that’s the basic message I get, wherever I go.)

25. If you want to, disable Messenger, Indexing, Automatic Updates, Remote Desktop, and the annoying Error Reporting service, if you must … but leave the rest of the System Configurations ( ie, those found by typing in services.msc in the run command, and pressing OK button) alone, for now ( the engaging to the contrary.)

26. Disable hibernation (Control Panel > Power Options > hibernate tab ) unless for some reason you anticipate needing it.

27. Disable audio card System Sounds, if you like ( pleasant not to hear them, and pleasanter still to know they take up no extra power when turned off, especially the EXIT sound.) I do this via Media Player 9 > Tools > options card > Devices tab > speakers > properties button > Sounds and Audio Devices card > Sounds tab.

28. Run Disc cleanup - skip compress old files, as I don’t recommend it (others may disagree.) Disc cleanup is also a pleasant way to remind yourself of all those Temp Internet Files, Temp files, and the junk still hiding in your recycle bin.

29. Download and install a second freeware media player like vlc (VideoLAN) that will play the files which Windows Media Player won’t play, like those nice high-kilobyte SVCD files you can glean from Kazaa lite, and play so easily on your vlc. (It’s so heartbreaking and pathetic to watch Media Player struggle to try to download a codec from its meager resources, when vlc, or perhaps WinAmp, will play them so much easier and quicker, without all the fuss!)

30. Searching the Internet? Stick with Google, until you have a bloody good reason to graduate to another search engine. I’ve messed with many for 3 years, and always run back to Google.)

31. Don’t bother downloading screensavers and ‘desktop themes’ (!) off the internet. They are too risky: ask your guru for the lowdown on 3rd party software.

(I have had fun downloading, saving, and selecting/installing sound waves from a couple of different Clint Eastwood screensavers, however! ( I then select and delete the rest of the other screensaver material in the file.) ...however, you have to learn how to do such things.

32. Be considerate. Get a pair of headphones, to spare your housemates and neighbors your Metallica rock sessions.

33. Delete old pics, music, and video files you don’t need. Get a DVD /CD - RW (rewritable) to avoid having all that stuff accumulate.

34. Get a good computer guru. An experienced one. Or a few experienced ones.

35. Consider saving yourself the agony of wondering if someone hacked your private info by keeping your financial and thins like personal address info. off your computer. Less convenient, but you may be happier in the long run.

36. Print hard copies - off your printer - of whatever you are typing into your Word program or whatever, ASAP ( as soon as possible.) This is so even though you may already be 'saving to disc'(ie, floppy disc in your A: drive.)

This saves one the agony of losing the material should your computer act up, power outages or whatever cause disconnect/freeze-ups, or some as-yet-undiscovered subatomic particle disables something. Relying just on the ‘Save’ and/ or ‘Save As’ options, or just leaning on one or more A: drive/’floppy’ disc copies, may not do the job. Printing a page each as you go, is the safest bet for a backup: modify according to your tolerance and creative powers.

37. Shared computer? You’ll still be happier resorting to keeping some hidden files within your own account/profile.

38. Acrobat reader freeware can be useful for reading off the Internet. (PDF files or what-not.) but as a general rule, avoid third-party software, no matter how much fun it is. Removing it can be a nuisance, and is just an extra strain for XP.

Nothing wrong with an ad-free Kazaa LITE or an extra media player like vlc Videolan, or WinAmp.

I have never found a 3rd party audio freeware that truly out did Media Player 9, vlc, or the WinAmp, however. I wouldn’t bother with those others if I were you, no matter how exotic or sophisticated they make themselves sound ( grass is always greener over there, right?) or look ( actually, some of them are so gothically hideous, you'll save yourself some misery by not ever having to look them. Some are so space-age-nerd looking, they make you laff: and both 'goth' and nerd types take too much time, in my opinion, for the effort it takes to navigate their control buttons. Stick with the players mentioned above.

Investigate and consider freeware WinMX, as a download source similar to Kazaa lite.

39. Don’t go relocating your music, pictures, or video files all over the place. It’s so dangerously simple to move files, once you learn how! However, it can make them alot harder to find and/or access, especially when trying to access them via the file hunter in your Media Player, or an unfinished file in Kazaa's Shared Folder feature.

Keep it simple.

40. Try to avoid running two or more programs at once. With more ram, or perhaps an extra hard disc, you may get away with it better than low ram and a 1 gig. hard disc drive.

... and don't let your computer frustrate you. It's only a machine. Don't let it confuse you. It is loaded with a miriad of 'factulae' which will simply take awhile to gracefully arrange themselves on your humanoid system disc (ie., your brain.) Take a break from your computer once in a while ( remember those friends and that fresh air you once had ?)

(P.S. : I apologize, as I am not a gamer, that I have little to offer in that direction. I do know, however, that you usually need to use game software that is specific to your system make and OS : any old disc won't do, so I hear...and it helps to have plenty of ram, and a 3-D card for gaming.)

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  • Comment #1 (Posted by dave)
    great site, plainly written (which is a BIG PLUS), straightforward, and easy to follow. many useful tips, all of which is **VERY** much appreciated - thanks dave
  • Comment #2 (Posted by an unknown user)
    Very good advice. Especially the last paragraph.
  • Comment #3 (Posted by an unknown user)
    This is an excellent Maintenance chacklist. Ilikedit very well and i hope it weill be upgraded soon.
  • Comment #4 (Posted by an unknown user)
    it was so easy to understand
  • Comment #5 (Posted by an unknown user)
    good job for the newbies,, will get them going!!!!!
  • Comment #6 (Posted by an unknown user)
    Plainly written info, thanks
  • Comment #7 (Posted by an unknown user)
    run chkdsk everyday! disk defrag every week! reboot every 30mins! The man is clearly mad. Ask a techie friend if the above should be done - they wont be able to stop laughing.
  • Comment #8 (Posted by an unknown user)
    hey, are y inlove of VideoLAN? Have you tried itues? I hope Microsoft and others software developers, some day learn of what is consistence and coherent in a software behave.. Few thigs are so glad to use as Itues.. makes me think to try someday OSX. I would decide faster if it runs on a PC Clone.
  • Comment #9 (Posted by an unknown user)
    plain english, sense of humor, aimed at me, the beginner!
  • Comment #10 (Posted by an unknown user)
    "17. UseWindows firewall as present" ..uhm, don't think so.........
  • Comment #11 (Posted by an unknown user)
    big fuckin deal i knew all that stuff
  • Comment #12 (Posted by savio)
    perfetto ok
  • Comment #13 (Posted by an unknown user)
    It does not answer my question -- at all
  • Comment #14 (Posted by kakudmi)
    Running Disk Defrag is not at all necessary but once in 4 months or so. Rebooting as often as you suggest is madness. Reboot only if your computer starts being sluggish or after installing a huge application such as Photoshop, Premiere... NEVER use system restore ! If you get a virus, it is likely it will hide itself there as well. So when you resort to restoring your system to an earlier time, guess what, you're still infected. Turn that feature off and use Norton Ghost to backup your system on a regular basis. Get an external hard drive and set up Ghost to back up your whole system incrementaly every day, without user's input.
  • Comment #15 (Posted by an unknown user)
    kaza and realplayer were killing me now i'm free to go
  • Comment #16 (Posted by an unknown user)
    As a new user I found it very helpful. Thankyou
  • Comment #17 (Posted by Pumba)
    these steps suck. i done these steps and now i have no house thanks to you.
  • Comment #18 (Posted by an unknown user)
    Ok you only run 2 programs at a time, so you have to go thru processes and close all of them. Then it is time for your 30 minuite reboot. Then you have to do it again. Geez
  • Comment #19 (Posted by tone)
    You have a good list of maintenance routines for beginners; however, I agree with kakudmi about resisting over abuse of defragmenter and some other points to consider. Perhaps that defrag time is better spent reading Windows "HELP" topics or AntiVirus HELP topics to learn to use and maintain the box above beginner level. For instance, creating an Emergency Repair Disk (ERD)isn't rocket science but could be a better use of time than defragging a drive that is not fragmented. That said, I wish all the beginners take to heart your advice to resist arbitrary deletion of files, folders, etc. That is truly a pitfall for beginners; although, many beginners grow from the experience--the frustration hardly seemed worth it in hind-sight.
  • Comment #20 (Posted by an unknown user)
    Does not fit the way most people use their PC's. Reboot the PC every half hour!!! get real. Yes I can see the person writing this article has little knowledge of game machines. OR how bad MS firewall is. Guess that is why some people feel running Something is better than nothing. RIGHT? The FIRST thing to do is disable the MScrap Firewall AND the automatic update. MS can and will re-activate programs you do not want or have replaced. Run ZoneAlarm and keep a good virus scanner like AVG or NOD32 running. Try not to run more than one program? Have you looked at the sytsem tray? Or Looked at the task manager and Process tab??????????? Yea right... One program he says... :) LOL Oh and DO NOT USE SYSTEM RESTORE!!! Want a virus to return from the dead. Presto change-O- it's MS restore... There are a few tidbits to pick out that ARE useful. Each computer guru or nerd has their likes and dislikes. So asking someone is good advice. Just be prepared to accept or reject the advice as it suits YOUR needs. I'm still laughing at rebooting every half hour! Geeez is he kidding!!!
  • Comment #21 (Posted by an unknown user)
    Just what I can use....easy to understand...
  • Comment #22 (Posted by an unknown user)
    Thorough, easy to understand, he gives reasons when he says no. Indispensable for the newbie!
  • Comment #23 (Posted by an unknown user)
    Profound, and easy to read... NOW TO EXECUTE
  • Comment #24 (Posted by an unknown user)
    very good ,comp and people savvy
  • Comment #25 (Posted by an unknown user)
    A lot of what is mentioned here is outdated, some examples: Most machines come with at least a CD-R so it would be better to get a USB Flash Drive. There is nothing wrong with keeping financials on your computer, just use passwords and other security measures like firewalls, etc., and make sure you keep backups. Using third party software is no more of a strain on you computer than running MS software provided you use a reputable company and you meet the min. requrements needed to run it. Vlc and WinAmp are far from being the best audio/video utilities available and I would not use them at all. Running two programs simultaneously is not a problem with a newer computer (hard-drive size is relevent, speed is but not size) they almost always have the ram available for task. Any anti-virus program you have should be running all the time, it should scan all in-comming and out-going emails, all downloads and run at startup. Last, if you are running MS Xp a full system install should be the very last thing you should ever do!!! Get a XP Console Recovery disk from your computer manufacture and follow its instruction and you can almost always repair the XP OS without re-installing the OS.
  • Comment #26 (Posted by an unknown user)
  • Comment #27 (Posted by an unknown user)
    Excellent article
  • Comment #28 (Posted by an unknown user)
    Very good!!!
  • Comment #29 (Posted by an unknown user)
  • Comment #30 (Posted by an unknown user)
    why disabling hibernation plz give the reason
  • Comment #31 (Posted by an unknown user)
    good stuff - confirmed what I was doing was not a paranoia
  • Comment #32 (Posted by an unknown user)
    Well Done! Great info to help us mortals keep our computer running well. :-)
  • Comment #33 (Posted by an unknown user)
    Oh my god this is a nonsense! According to this you have to reboot it almost...all the time! All time goes to maintaining your computer!
  • Comment #34 (Posted by test)
    2 good points #9 and #2. I wouldn't say to do #2 everyday though. I know others said it too but come on man 30 min reboots? ROFFLMFAO hahahahha.
  • Comment #35 (Posted by an unknown user)
    First class
  • Comment #36 (Posted by an unknown user)
    alot of hard work went into this article - well done and thanks.
  • Comment #37 (Posted by an unknown user)
    it kind of fun
  • Comment #38 (Posted by an unknown user)
    nice one
  • Comment #39 (Posted by an unknown user)
    dude your gay and you have a crappy computer...i bet hahaha
  • Comment #40 (Posted by an unknown user)
    This article is terribly inaccurate. While there IS some good advice here. The author has mixed up security, backup, repairing and decluttering procedures that simply aren't necessary for everyone. If you find you need to do all these things, it's a sign of an underlying requirement you are not fulfilling. You probably do not have enough hard drive or RAM. 40 is a joke. The author also believes all third party software is bad. Advising newbies to avoid all software that could save them time does more harm than good and propagates fear on people here.
  • Comment #41 (Posted by an unknown user)
    very informative for newbies
  • Comment #42 (Posted by an unknown user)
    Agree with some of ur tips
  • Comment #43 (Posted by an unknown user)
    Excellent tips for PC Newbies! Those that wrote defamatory comments are idiots! If you have a better process go for it. I've been maintaining PC's for Newbies for 15 years, long before most of you new they existed. The author is making many valid reco's and the reader can decide, as experience grows, what is over kill, under kill or redundant! DEFRAG IS ESSENTIAL!!!!!!!! If you add and remove files/programs regularly then your Hard drive does become fragmented. MOST problems I've encountered with sluggish PC's is bloated and fragmented hard drives and registry!!! Cleaning and defraging Both is "crucial" for optimal performance. Again, those that attack are idiots - if you truly have the same intent as the author of this "helpful" list then collaborate with him and offer corrections. This list has such a promising base of instructions that it could be awesome with positive feedback and necessary modifications. Thank you author - remember, people are always quick to criticize leaders! Good job.
  • Comment #44 (Posted by an unknown user)
    I have not read it all yet but you have set it all out fully and in a way that is clear, thanks again.
  • Comment #45 (Posted by an unknown user)
    wonderful.i am really lucky that I have find a great site for computers,I am a beginner and I learn many new things in this site,many of the people I know hardly know things on this site.This site is really helpful and useful.Really good advices with clear instructions. But rebooting every half an hour.LOL!!!!!! what a commedy! why should we do it?and why should we turn off the hibernate thingy what harm will it do?reasons please? anyway good work,really nice.
  • Comment #46 (Posted by an unknown user)
    if this was food i would procede to nom nom nom on it
  • Comment #47 (Posted by an unknown user)
    Not bad, a little too much but it will definitely do the job. specially if you are really mad at the end user downloading all kinds of programs and installing everything they see free while surfing the internet, why not make them suffer and tell them to restart your computer every 30minutes... what the heck run your Virus scan every 5 minutes or whenever it finish running once run it again... well take that neubies!!!!
  • Comment #48 (Posted by an unknown user)
  • Comment #49 (Posted by an unknown user)
    you've explained in depth
  • Comment #50 (Posted by an unknown user)
    Well written and taught me some new procedures that I think will improve my operation. I have found that rebooting periodically has often helped.I think the best media player is Nero's Showtime.
  • Comment #51 (Posted by an unknown user)
    Most people don't take proper care of their computer. Following these tips will make your computer run faster, cleaner, and prevent problems in the future. Most take only a few minutes if done regularly, and pays off when you don't have to handle an hour-long problem that requires you to pay for an expert. Just because you haven't taken these steps and haven't had a problem yet doesn't mean you won't at some point. Taking the first initiative is the best way to handle any situation--especially in the dangerous computer world. Good reminders for the average computer user.
  • Comment #52 (Posted by an unknown user)
    Clearly written and terse! Excellent work.
  • Comment #53 (Posted by an unknown user)
    because i,m only a beginner & some of the articules I dont know how to do......9 run SFC /scannow (type in run command line) with OS disc once a month does that mean,...Type, -SFC/scannow- in :command prompt:also a lot of beginers dont know where command prompt is..As to what...:OS disc: means Gawd knows
  • Comment #54 (Posted by an unknown user)
    I don't know sqat and need guidance to keep my cp running the way it should. I keep getting the message that the "snapapi.dll" is missing and yet I can't find the file anywhere. How do I get rid of the msg? Thanks All Help Accepted RJ
  • Comment #55 (Posted by an unknown user)
    Very helpful, thankyou very much! :)
  • Comment #56 (Posted by an unknown user)
    Thanks Dave, I was ready to beat some sense into this p.o.c.
  • Comment #57 (Posted by an unknown user)
    so frank and non-pompous in tone and facts.down to earth and respecting my unfamiliarity with the computer, without making me feel "ignorant" Thank you
  • Comment #58 (Posted by an unknown user)
    I have done this test and I liked it Thank You and may God Bless You.I have one question tho, can you help me to belete my compressed files?, or can they be deleted?
  • Comment #59 (Posted by an unknown user)
    very helpfull and thorough even for the novice computer nerds!
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