How To Keep Your Computer Running Smoothly

In my post titled Protecting Your Computer From Viruses and Spyware I outline several points that you should follow to ensure your computer is problem free. I decided to list the tools that I have used, as well as provide a simple schedule you can follow to ensure your computer runs smoothly.

Note: I do realize that there are many more applications than the ones listed, however, I have listed the ones that I have used in the past.

Anti-Virus

These tools are used to detect and remove viruses that have infected a computer. They can be scheduled to run a scan of your computer at a specific time, or a scan can be manually run at any time. All anti-virus software should be updated on a regular basis to ensure any new viruses can be detected. Most, if not all, of the software tools listed here can be set to automatically check and download updates. Also, ensure that only one anti-virus tool is installed, as more than one can cause problems.

Anti-Spyware

Spyware is a major cause of computer problems, including slow-downs, processor usage and application crashes. Some of the spyware can be very dangerous to have on your computer as they can also send information from your computer over the Internet. Along with anti-virus software you should also install anti-spyware software to help keep your computer clean. Unlike anti-virus software, you can install many anti-spyware applications on you computer. I encourage you to do so as one application may not clean all spyware from your computer.

Software Firewall

The software in this category is becoming more important, especially now with always-on broadband Internet connections. Software firewalls are your last line of defence to your computer from the Internet, and the first line from your computer to the Internet. They are used to keep the viruses and spyware from getting in your computer, and if they do get in, prevent them from sending information out to the Internet.

Defrag Utilities

Fragmentation can be a problem if you install and uninstall applications, or simply add and delete files. When a file is removed from a computer, and another file is added, then it may fill up the space used by the deleted file. If the new file is larger than the previous, then it may be split into parts and stored throughout your hard drive. This means that your computer will have to look in different places on your hard drive to read the entire file. Defragging a hard drive will put all the pieces of a file next to each other so your computer doesn’t have to spend time retrieving the entire file.

  • Windows defrag (included with Windows)
  • Diskeeper (http://www.diskeeper.com)
  • PerfectDisk (http://www.raxco.com/products/perfectdisk2k)
  • JkDefrag (free) (http://www.kessels.com/JkDefrag)

Scheduling and Updating

To assist with maintaining your computer, you should perform the following tasks at the suggested time.

Application Type Schedule
Anti-virus Weekly
Anti-spyware

Weekly
Defrag Monthly

It is important that you keep your anti-virus and anti-spyware applications up to date. To make is easier for you, you may be able to have the applications automatically download the updates for you, or have them download the updates when starting the application.

Along with the anti-virus and anti-spyware applications, it is also important to ensure you have all the latest security updates for your operating system.

4 Responses to “How To Keep Your Computer Running Smoothly”

  1. rochelleg says:

    I hear that Comodo is coming out with a free firewall that will include HIPS. That’s very imporessive. If I understand it correctly it will prevent rootkits form changing the OS. Anyone out there know about this?

  2. Paul says:

    I’ll have to check out the AVS and Comodo tools. I like the commercial products, but find that they are large and processor intensive. I find that some of the freeware tools are smaller and can perform the same jog as the larger commercial tools.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Useful tips. I think most people tend to ignore the condition of the HDD. I ddi too till i felt it taking way too long to open up programs or even shutdown. Issue was drive fragmentation which most pple nowadays claim doesnt affect performance. It does and very obviously so. The system behaves like its got some illness and starts trudging like a snail.

  4. Burrows says:

    That’s a nice list of programs you have there. I agree with most of your selections, particularly Diskeeper, which is an excellent defragmenter. I dont even worry about manual defrags since I installed it and turned on its automatic defrag mode.

    Among the other software, AVG is great, but I’d also recommend AVS (free AOL/Kaspersky AV) for the virus scans, and Comodo for the software firewall.

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