How do I maintain a computer?
January 16, 2006 5:58 PM   Subscribe

How do I take care of my computer?

I have a brand new, HP pavilion that was given to me, and I have no clue about what daily, weekly, monthly maintenance I should do on it. Any links would be appreciated
posted by SuzySmith to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Here's a good one.
posted by Huplescat at 6:25 PM on January 16, 2006

Best answer: Try the new Google Pack. It includes a great suite of anti-virus, anti-adware, Firefox (a great browser) and some other really nice, free tools that stay automatically updated with no intervention required.

It includes an awesome picture management software tool, a great desktop search tool, and some other fun toys, all completely free of charge, and all maintained in one place.

Plus, of course having anti-virus and anti-adware is a definite necessity. (In lieu of Google Pack, AVG offers a free, complete standalone version of their anti-virus software.)

Other things you'll want to do are simple. Run the built-in disk defragmenter (Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Disk Defragmenter -> Select a drive, click defragment.) every month or so. This will keep your files structured in a way that lets them read faster.

Also, you'll want to reduce the number of programs you have running at startup, and monitor the programs that try to install in to your system tray. (The system tray is that area next to your clock with the icons.) These take up memory and are hardly ever used. Some are critical to programs you may be running, but things like Quicktime and that sort of thing need not be present.
posted by disillusioned at 6:59 PM on January 16, 2006

Once a year, shut it down, take the sides off and vacuum everything in sight. Be sure to give extra attention to any disk or media openings on the front (e.g. floppy drive) -- dust tends to get sucked in there.

If you leave the computer on all the time (not a problem), be aware that if your power supply is on the verge of failing (bad coil inside, or fan about to crack, or something), usually it will happen after being turned off and allowed to cool for the first time in a long while (i.e. for the annual vacuuming). This has happened to me twice in the past 2 years. So don't do this unles you can live with a sudden loss of computer for a few hours (or a day) while you go down to the local PC parts store and buy a new ATX power supply. I keep an extra power supply on hand just in case, but in my case I've got a special platform that requires a special power supply.
posted by intermod at 7:09 PM on January 16, 2006

Once a year, shut it down, take the sides off and vacuum everything in sight.

Bad idea, IMHO. You're better off taking the sides off, bringing the case outside (or to a garage) and blasting it with a can of compressed air. Electric vacuum cleaners generate static electricity, and it's far too easy to zap components. The compressed air is easier to use to get at hard-to-reach components (like a CPU heatsink).

Compressed air is expensive, but you shouldn't need to use much of it, and you should only need to clean the dust out of the computer case once a year or so.
posted by gwenzel at 8:42 PM on January 16, 2006

ive got a great list of free software on my site that can keep ur pc squeeky clean such as adaware, spyware blaster etc. go its on the favorite software tab
posted by deeman at 9:29 PM on January 16, 2006


HP power supplies are NOT industry standard!

You could plug a standard ATX supply in, but get SMOKE!!!
posted by raildr at 5:39 AM on January 17, 2006

I'm very grateful this question was posted - I've been wondering the same thing myself. Thx!
posted by widdershins at 8:19 AM on January 17, 2006

With regards to disillusioned's suggestions, Autoruns can be instrumental in adhering to his last suggestion. It lists all the utilities, applications, scripts, and programs that run on startup. You'll just want to get rid of things like Quicktime and Windows Messenger, and don't delete anything whose purpose you aren't sure of.
posted by Third at 4:10 PM on January 17, 2006

10-4, raildr, all power supplies are not created equal. There are a few out there that use proprietary (not standard) plugs. The plugs will fit but if you look at the color order of the wires coming out of the plug you'll see that they are arranged different. Best case - you'll cook the power supply. Worst case - you'll fry your board.

If you're unsure, and your power supply has died, take the old one out and take it with you to CompUSA or wherever you go and compare it to the new one. The techs there "should" know this but I wouldn't count on it.
posted by madderhatter at 5:04 PM on January 17, 2006

« Older Speakers on the cheap!   |   did al gore get a hair transplant? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.