Regular computer maintenance is an excellent idea. Every program you install or uninstall, every web site you visit, in fact pretty much every move you make on your computer creates temp files and other such unnecessary on your hard drive. With a few minutes' work on a regular basis, though, you can restore your computer to better-than-new condition and possibly free up several hundred megs of space at the same time!
DO THIS WEEKLY:
1. Go to Microsoft Update and make sure Windows is updated. In fact, don't just check for priority updates, click on the Custom button and look for other updates (like RealTek drivers) that may not update automatically. You may not need everything offered, but it certainly doesn't hurt to have them.
2. Make sure your virus software is updated. (If your virus software isn't set to run in the middle of the night, waking your computer from sleep, for a virus scan, you also may want to do a regular virus scan.) And, every once in a while, go to the web site for your virus software and make sure you have the latest VERSION of the anti-virus software. You may have the latest virus definitions added automatically -- but, if you're still using last year's version of the software, you could still be vulnerable.
3. Use the excellent free downloads Spybot S&D and Spyware Blaster to clear off and block spyware(update them before you use them and, regularly, check their web sites to make sure you're using the latest versions). You can pick them up from the links on this page:
4. Run the free, excellent, easy to use tune-up tool Advanced System Care, from IOBit, to tune up your registry and clear off temp and other junk files. This download is available at http://www.iobit.com/advancedwindowscareper.html
5. Run the Defragmenter on all of your hard drives.
And don't forget to back up your files (at least the My Documents folder) regularly! The one piece of hardware on your computer that absolutely WILL eventually fail is your hard drive. If you're lucky, you'll have replaced your computer by then. But if not -- please remember to back up your files regularly.
DO THIS MONTHLY:
1. Check your graphic's card's manufacturer's site, your sound card's manufacturer's site and, if applicable, the RealTek site to make sure your drivers and firmware are up to date.
2. Go to your web browser and clear the cache. In IE7, you'll find the option for doing this right under the Tools drop-down. Older versions and other browsers keep them under Tools and in Internet Options. You can leave the cookies -- but do delete the Temporary Internet Files. Accumulate enough of them and they will slow your entire computer system.