Maintain now…or Pay me Later…

Before going on with my review of Windows 10, I must digress a bit. With this last Windows Update, I found myself receiving a lot of calls from friends, family and customers. The majority of calls dealt with system performance. In many cases (not all) some of the performance issues could be resolved if the user implemented a routine maintenance plan. So, for those without a plan…here’s one…straight from A+Guide to Managing and Maintaining Your PC (with some help from eHow.com).
Clean Vents and Fans

Clogged vents and dust-choked fans causes overheating. These parts are vital to moving air in and out of your computer, but they both collect dust over time. Canned air is used to blow dust off a computer’s internal parts without causing damage to them. The book “A+ Guide to Managing and Maintaining Your PC” suggests cleaning vents and fans yearly, but more frequent cleanings are necessary in dusty environments.
Clean the Monitor

Monitors collect dust, fingerprints and tiny water spots over time. Use a clean, lint-free cloth when removing dust from a monitor’s casing. The “CompTIA A+ Complete Review Guide” warns never to use commercial window cleaner on a liquid crystal display (LCD) screen because it damages the screen’s anti-glare coating. According to “A+ Guide to Managing and Maintaining Your PC,” the suggested frequency of monitor cleaning is monthly. Me, I like to use isopropyl alcohol (50%) and a soft cloth. It works great on both monitors and LCD screens. Always check with your computer manufacturer for the best method for keeping your display clean.
Clean the Keyboard

Regular cleaning keeps dust bunnies and dirt from building up inside your keyboard. Rubbing alcohol is good for removing dirty fingerprints from individual keys. Spraying with a can of pressurized air is the preferred method of cleaning under the keys. Replacing keys on modern keyboards is difficult and not suggested, especially on fragile laptop keyboards. Clean monthly, as suggested by “A+ Guide to Managing and Maintaining Your PC,” or do it more often if you frequently eat near your keyboard.
Clean Up Files

Unmaintained hard drives become filled with temporary files and other junk as time passes. Windows versions XP, Vista and 7 all include some version of the “Disk Cleanup” utility. This utility finds all temporary files, setup files, temporary Internet files and “Recycle Bin” contents that are safe to remove from your computer. Microsoft suggests performing this task weekly.
Defragment Your Drives

Another aspect of hard-drive maintenance is defragmentation. As you add and delete files, a hard drive’s sectors become cluttered and disorganized. Data for one file may end up in many scattered sectors. Empty space crops up between sectors. To keep the hard drive working efficiently, Microsoft suggests running “Disk Defragmenter” monthly.
Perform Backups

Computer failure usually takes users by surprise, but that does not mean you have to lose your files whenever it happens. Performing regular file backups prevents file loss. Windows provides the “Backup and Restore Center” for easy drive backups. External hard drives also make good backup storage, as do thumb drives. Back up drives at least weekly, as suggested by “A+ Guide to Managing and Maintaining Your PC.”
Learn to Use System Restore

Microsoft typically begins offering Windows Updates the second Tuesday of every week. In each update is the Windows Malicious Software Tool, fixes and of course the cumulative update for Windows Defender. Additionally, if computer manufacturers, and components suppliers have driver updates, they are often “bundled” with the Windows Update. Sometimes updates can cause problems. After an update, if your computer begins to perform poorly, I suggest you immediately troubleshoot your computer for possible problems. Beginning with Windows 7, you can easily trouble shoot your computer. In “Search” type “troubleshooting”. With Windows 7, 8 and 10 you will be taken to the section of your Control Panel that is entitled Troubleshooting. From their, pick the category that is most appropriate for your situation.

For those occasions where troubleshooting does not seem to improve performance, I suggest rolling back the update. I do this using System Restore. Again, go to your Control Panel and find the section entitled “Recovery”. Follow the instructions/options available. I strongly suggest trying System Restore (rolling your computer back to a previous date before the performance issues began) before running either Refresh or Factory Restore.

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