Taking care of my computer

The title really tells you what I want to know. I've used several computers in my short life, but they all have this one thing in common that I'd prefer to avoid. They've all eventually stopped working. It's always started with little hiccups here and there, booting the system starts to take longer and longer. Eventually it'll take several restarts before the computer boots up to speed, and even then it'll lag and suck and complain.

I don't really have an investment in this case, though. The laptop we use belongs to the missus, but we both use it, so I'd prefer it keep functioning. I regularly check my computer for viruses and stuff, I've been using Advanced SystemCare to keep this ol' thing running. Also, Windows 7.

So, fellas, any ideas on how to maintain this computer? I'm looking to speed up the booting process and preferably make sure this thing will outlive my previous machines. And as some may notice, I ain't too tech-savvy.

What period of time are you talking about? Windows pretty much does that after a few years. However, Microsoft security essentials, Windows update and CCleaner are pretty much all you need to maintain the system.

Then just don't click on dodgy links, be sure to install and uninstall stuff properly and you'll be pretty much fine.

If that doesn't help, reinstall Windows, it isn't difficult, just stick the disc in and reboot.

number2301:

If that doesn't help, reinstall Windows, it isn't difficult, just stick the disc in and reboot.

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The...disc? It pretty much came installed on the machine. Can I burn myself a disc from some file, or what? And what will this re-installing do to my files?

A full reinstall would get rid of everything so you'd need to back up anything you wanted to keep first.

You should have some kind of recovery media with the computer? Or a recovery partition which you access when you boot your machine up. It's hard to say without actually seeing it.

Karhukonna:

number2301:

If that doesn't help, reinstall Windows, it isn't difficult, just stick the disc in and reboot.

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The...disc? It pretty much came installed on the machine. Can I burn myself a disc from some file, or what? And what will this re-installing do to my files?

Ergh...you may want to try other forums that have a primary focus for PC enthusiasts. Unless you are diligent and know exactly what you are installing on your computer at all times, slowdown will inevitably happen to any computer.

Here are some things you can do:

Run a disk derangement on a monthly basis.
Ensure you have a decent virus scanner and firewall installed and active (AVG Free & Zone Alarm).
Don't install useless programs like tool bars.
And yes, every year or two you should backup all your files, pictures, music, etc. and reformat your disk & perform a clean install of windows.

My last computer I built ran for 7 years with almost no problems or slow downs. The only reason I had to stop using it and build another one was because it was just too old. It's just like a car, if you perform the proper maintenance on it then the thing should last for many years without issue.

Also, get a can of air, blow dust from the fans and any ports...quick bursts. You have no idea how many computers get slowed down simply because there is dust, hair, a new breed of organism in your computer. Also, sometimes hardware just fails. I've got a hard drive that's brand new, burned it out in 6 months. Before it went tits up, process' slowed down, the computer was having issues booting, running basic programs took forever, etc. There is a hard drive scan tool from seagate that is good and it scans your drive for all kinds of problems. Makes sure it spins right, reads info, etc. It will attempt to fix if it can, but if the issue is unfixable, time for a new hard drive at the least.

Thanks fellas. I'll probably try to re-install Windows at some point in the near future, as soon as I can figure it out. I've also tried some of the programs listed, and found some new favourites.

While you're at it, you can move everything from C:\ to somewhere else. Or at least most things. That would make reinstalling Windows way faster and easier. I keep only Windows on C:\ and some software that I'm sure I will install immediately after - drivers, Acrobat Reader, that sort of stuff. Everything else I have on on D:\, E:\ and F:\.

Of course, nowadays it's getting easier and easier to reinstall without a hassle. You can transfer your whole profile on another computer. Or the same one after re-installation, as the case may be. It's under...ugh, can't remember exactly - I think it was Windows Profile Sync or maybe Windows Sync Center or Windows Synchronisation. You're bound to find it if you look for "sync" in the search bar on the Start menu. Basically, you can get a backup of all your settings and files (only related to Windows - so stuff like your background and My Documents) and import them in another copy of Windows. Also, it seems that Windows Vista/7 will try to keep a copy of your old files when installed, as opposed to wiping everything on C:\.

And just to note, Windows XP had the option to either reinstall or "update" (I think that's how the option was called). The latter was not a full reinstall - it was faster, kept everything you had on C:\ and ended up with a performance increase (a small one and not all the times). I assume that Vista/7 would have that option too, but I haven't tried it out yet.

Karhukonna:
Thanks fellas. I'll probably try to re-install Windows at some point in the near future, as soon as I can figure it out. I've also tried some of the programs listed, and found some new favourites.

It really is not that hard, especially if you have a store bought PC. Odds are it comes with a "System Restore" disc instead of the "Operating System" disc. Find that, back up ALL files, pictures, music, movies, etc you want to keep onto a thumb drive or DVD. Reinstalling the OS will DELETE EVERYTHING ON YOUR PC.

When you are ready, put the system restore disc in, start the computer, within the first few seconds it powers up you may need to look for what key to press to change the boot sequence to make it boot form the CD drive. Once you boot from the CD drive it should just be a matter of being patient, reading everything that comes on screen and following onscreen instructions.

I would still recommend looking up a guide online as you seem to be unfamiliar with all of this.

mikey7339:
Find that, back up ALL files, pictures, music, movies, etc you want to keep onto a thumb drive or DVD. Reinstalling the OS will DELETE EVERYTHING ON YOUR PC.

It only wipes the system partition, i.e, C:\ - the other partitions (D:\, E:\, etc.), if any, are not affected at all. It's bad practice to not have the hard disk split into at least two, especially for the past...more than a dozen years, when storage became less of an issue and with hard drives in the double digits of gigabytes and beyond, it became almost a non-issue.

DoPo:

mikey7339:
Find that, back up ALL files, pictures, music, movies, etc you want to keep onto a thumb drive or DVD. Reinstalling the OS will DELETE EVERYTHING ON YOUR PC.

It only wipes the system partition, i.e, C:\ - the other partitions (D:\, E:\, etc.), if any, are not affected at all. It's bad practice to not have the hard disk split into at least two, especially for the past...more than a dozen years, when storage became less of an issue and with hard drives in the double digits of gigabytes and beyond, it became almost a non-issue.

I know but I'm guessing that he doesn't have his setup like that.

Heat will kill computer components faster and more often than almost anything else. Make sure the vents aren't blocked, and if you're careful, open the case and dust off the fans and heatsink. Also, if you have it for a year or more it's a good idea to reapply the thermal paste between the heatsink and CPU. But I'm guessing you won't know how to do that last part.

 

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