Frequently Asked Question
Quick PC Maintenance Tips
Last Updated a year ago
1) Always have an Antivirus.There is often confusion between malware and viruses, malware is the complete umbrella term for “Malicious software” which can include; Viruses, Adware, Ransomware, Spyware, Worms, and Trojans. All of which, are all malware, so it is important that all are protected from. Nowadays, despite being labelled anti-virus software, they are mostly all equipped to deal with nearly all malware.
Another misconception is that there is a “best antivirus” – an antivirus' performance can vary from machine to machine, and from operating systems, so the best antivirus on a Windows Laptop, may not be the best antivirus on an Android Smartphone.
It is important that you have an antivirus active on your device, and even better if it proactive (prevents infection). Windows 10 comes with its own antivirus installed with simple features, however you can see our recommended antivirus list for alternatives that may have more features and levels of protection.
Not only is it important to have an AV software, it is equally important to allow it to run scans regularly. We recommend Monthly.
2) Perform Regular Disk CleanupsOver time, whether you see it or not, your computer builds up residual unnecessary files that simply take up space, and slow down your computer. It is useful to perform "Disk Clean-ups" regularly - Windows is as follows:
- Go to Start menu
- Type in "Disk Cleanup" and press enter.
- In the window that appears, select the "C:" drive, then click OK.
- Once the scan has complete, a new window will appear. Click all tick boxes on the left hand side of the window (NOTE: THIS WILL ALSO DELETE ALL FILES IN YOUR DOWNLOAD FOLDER).
- Click OK and allow some time for it to complete.
We recommend doing this monthly.
3) Ensure your operating system is always up to date.Each operating system update will come with improvements, patches, and security enhancements, therefore it is important to ensure it is kept up to date to ensure you have the latest features and security. In Windows 10, this should usually happen automatically in the background, however to force or change these settings, you can simply go to the Start Menu and type in "Updates" and press Enter.
Note: If you ever perform regular driver updaters, we recommend you do not use automatic/bulk Driver Updater programs as these have a notorious habit of installing incorrect or unnecessary drivers. If you do, always perform a system restore.
4) Perform regular defragmentation (HDD) or Trims (SSD)Like with residual junk files, your storage drive stores data in particular ways. With a normal magnetic disk hard drive, your data becomes "fragmented" (effectively meaning data for one program could be scattered across the hard drive). A defragmentation is an automatic tool which moves all of this data into more logical, and easily accessible places, to try and keep data together.
In SSDs (Solid State Drives), multiple "blocks" where data is stored end up storing unneeded data which slows down data transfer, so a TRIM, simply finds these cells, and wipes the data clean so that it can be easily and quickly used later (it definitely does not delete needed files / folders, so don't worry!).
In Windows, you can perform both of these operations by going to the Start Menu, and typing in "Defragment" and pressing enter. On the new window that appears, simply clean on one of the drives, and press "Optimise". Perform this for all drives (a defragmentation can take some time).
5) Uninstall software you no longer useSoftware that you don't use left around simply takes up space, and can slow down your computer, as it may be operating in the background even if you never opened it.
In Windows you can remove these programs easily:
- Go to Start Menu
- Type in Control Panel and press enter
- Click on "Programs and Features" (if you cannot see this, click "Programs" and then click on "Programs and Features")
- Click on any software you do not want and press "Uninstall"
6) Physically clean your device.At a simple level - dust creates heat, and heat is not wanted. Excess heat or debris in your device can cause huge slow downs, and even lower the lifespan on your device. Where you are comfortable, it is good to keep your device in good clean condition.
7) If you use open WiFi's (Ones that don't require a password to access), Use a VPN!When connected to the internet (a network), your data is transmitted to and from the router / modem. In Open WiFi's this data is effectively unencrypted and can be read by anyone with the software to read it.
If you imagined that your data is being kept in a container. In an Open WiFi without a VPN, your container is unlocked, and being moved openly for all to grab and open if they wish. With a VPN however, the container becomes heavily locked and the data inside becomes "coded", and even if someone picked up the container, they wouldn't be able to open it or read what's inside it.
It is important in today's environment, that if you are working in Open WiFi's that you use a VPN to connect to the internet. You can look at our recommended VPN software for ideas.
8) BACKUP YOUR DATA!If your data is important, then it's vital you keep a regular backup of it. Nowdays this can be done with cloud software or backup software. Storage drives can fail, (USBs especially), so make sure you have a copy of your data wherever you go,so should the worst happen, your data is safe.
Professional data recovery from failed drives is a specialist task (which means a specalist fee).
See our list of recommended backup software here.