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  1. #1
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    Keep a healthy PC: A routine-maintenance guide




    TOP STORY

    Keep a healthy PC: A routine-maintenance guide


    By Fred Langa

    As with all devices, regular maintenance will keep your Windows PC operating smoothly through the years. Here are the essential tasks that can help PC users — of all levels — maintain strong, secure, and stable systems.

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/top-story/keep-a-healthy-pc-a-routine-maintenance-guide (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

  2. The Following User Says Thank You to Kathleen Atkins For This Useful Post:

    gsterry (2014-01-18)

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    Where are the Excel files mentioned in the article?

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    416-TS-Chart-Light.xls

    There's also a Dropbox link to the chart. Let me know if it doesn't work for you.

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...hart-Light.xls
    Last edited by Tracey Capen; 2014-01-16 at 15:51.

  5. #4
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    Telling people to clean their registry is not good advice. Too many bad things can happen. It's better to leave it alone.

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    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejmfoley View Post
    Telling people to clean their registry is not good advice. Too many bad things can happen. It's better to leave it alone.
    Agreed. I have never cleaned my Windows 7 registry and it still runs like a top. Most times using a good registry cleaner doesn't hurt anything but doesn't help either and I have seen them corrupt the registry.

    Jerry

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    One thing that might be added to the list is an occasional test of the RAM using memtest86 or memtest86+. These are run in "stand-alone" mode on bootable CDs or DVDs. Downloadable .iso files can be easily found with a Google serach. Defective RAM can cause failed updates, program crashes, BSODs, and many other problems. I have observed that it can cause System File Checker to produce erroneous output (wrongly saying that many system files are bad). Defective RAM can also prevent an upgrade-repair of a Windows system. I now check my RAM about every six months. For most people, once a year is probably sufficient. A word of warning: The Windows 7 Start->All Programs->Administrative Tools->Windows Memory Diagnostic tool is not to be trusted. I lost four months running down the source of my PC's problems because I used it early in the process, thinking my RAM was okay. After memtest86 and memtest86+ showed I had a defective RAM card, I re-ran the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool and it again reported that my RAM was just fine. There is probably a similar tool in Windows 8, which might be better. However, one is probably best served by using the best tools available.

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    Ditto on leaving the registry alone unless there is a specific issue. Two cornerstones to my success with computers, the ability (apparently) to spot a viral vector a mile off and only delving into the registry with the greatest of reluctance (upon the most uncommon occasion that a system restore does not correct the problem).

    Also, I view security software as a necessary evil; no way does it add to the strength or stability of a system EXCEPT on the basis of security. So by proxy it's good but in and of itself, it's like penicillin...given my druthers, I would always choose to keep my distance from both medicinal fungi and harmful bacteria!
    Sent from Windows ME thru Opera 10.63...just before they crashe

  9. #8
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    Clean and de-dust.

    I can't tell you how many systems I've opened to find what literally looks like a grey blanket...of dust covering everything. Many times so thick I can't even see the motherboard.
    I'm always amazed when these systems are still running. And when checking someones system for them be sure to check the cd drive for kids toys, credit cards and anything else kids might slide in there.

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by tony66 View Post
    Where are the Excel files mentioned in the article?
    Same here. I see no links.

  11. #10
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    Excellent article, although I agree with the "leave the registry alone" comments.

    As well as creating system images every couple of weeks, one extra task that I perform about every three months is to create a system image and then immediately restore it to a spare system disk.

    I then swap the disks so that I use the disk with the restored image as my system disk.

    This ensures that the backup and restore process works, and that even if my current system drive dies AND all other images are faulty, I still have a working system disk safely stored away.

  12. #11
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    i've always been curious about the often cited recommendation that one regularly change their passwords. if none of your accounts have been hacked, doesn't that by definition mean that the passwords to them are still secure? what is to be gained by changing them? i guess you could argue that there's a possibility that you have an account that has been hacked, but that the hacker has yet to take advantage of it, and so by changing the password you will thwart any future attempt at using the old hacked password. but really, what are the odds of that?

    and there's also a downside to regularly changing your passwords, in that if you are using relatively strong passwords they are going to be hard to remember and so you are more likely to write them down somewhere, which is clearly a no-no. if you use the same strong passwords over a period of time, you'll probably get them memorized and thus not need to keep them written down anywhere.

    and there's also the obvious -- you are replacing a proven secure password with an unproven one that may not be as secure.

    so, where's the real upside in changing your passwords every month?

    lee

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    I have read this article with much interested and I adjusted the recommendations in the tables to my preferences and I have questions on cleaning up Java & Javascripts and then deleting the obsolete update files on an XP machine

    Uninstall Java
    I uninstalled Java on my friends XP PC from the Control Panel
    --- Then I did a search for anything Java and there are many Java folders and files in the Search Results in the Sun folder
    --- Is it safe to delete them?

    Then there are some Javascripts Folder and files
    --- Netscape seems to be associated with a lot of them if not all of them
    --- I believe Javascript is different than Java
    --- Should I leave the Javascripts folders and files alone?

    Remove obsolete update files
    I checked the uninstall folder .
    --- Some of them are in Blue and some of them are in Black
    --- Is it ok to delete all of them regardless of the color?

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    Great article Fred and I totally agree about getting friends and family in on this as it saves IT pro's a lot of time.
    If I may touch on a couple of things regarding defrag.
    I don't worry about defragging in Win7 as runs on a schedule.
    For users with a solid state hard drive I believe it is not recommended to defrag.

  15. #14
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    All of my computers now have SSD's as their C drives. Everything I have read says not to defrag SSD's so I don't.
    I agree about leaving the registry alone as well. I do use the mild clean-up that CCleaner has and nothing else.
    Very good clean schedule - I have always relied on the Fred Langa articles (that is a lot of years now) and this is a very good
    reminder not to get lazy. Thanks

  16. #15
    3 Star Lounger gsterry's Avatar
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    Sorry...Post #3 has the Excel link that, yes, has tabs for both heavy and light :*-)
    <><
    Third time may be a charm.
    Would someone be so kind as to post links for 'heavy' usage as well as the 'light' (toaster) usage?
    Quote Originally Posted by randun View Post
    Same here. I see no links.
    Last edited by gsterry; 2014-01-18 at 03:44. Reason: found the links!

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