Let your PC start the new year right!

Fred Langa

A little time spent now on preventive maintenance can save hours of PC troubleshooting later — and provide better computing all year long.

Use the following steps to give your PC an annual checkup — and ensure it starts 2013 as healthy as possible.

Undo a year’s worth of wear and tear

Consider what your PC has been through in the past 12 months: Windows Update added dozens of patches to your operating system; you’ve likely installed some new third-party software, uninstalled other programs, and upgraded or patched apps and utilities; and you’ve probably altered, tuned, and tweaked various aspects of your system’s user interface and software settings. And you’ve undoubtedly created and deleted myriad new emails, documents, photos, MP3s, videos, spreadsheets, and such.

All during that time, your hard drive spun hundreds of millions of revolutions and the system fans rotated for hundreds of hours. Heat, dust, and chemical degradation did their inevitable damage, reducing the remaining physical life of your system’s components. In short, just as we’re a year older, our PCs are not the same machines they were a year ago.

To ensure your system runs smoothly for another year, now’s a good time to perform some extra maintenance. It’ll help prevent new errors from piling on old ones and keep your system fundamentally sound.

Preserve and protect system data — Take 1

As with all significant changes to a PC, start any serious system maintenance with a full system backup — if anything goes awry, you can recover quickly.

(An up-to-date backup is good insurance against all manner of ills that might bring down a PC: power spikes, hard-drive crashes, malware infestations, cockpit error, and many other calamities.)

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2013-01-10:

Fred Langa

About Fred Langa

Fred Langa is senior editor. His LangaList Newsletter merged with Windows Secrets on Nov. 16, 2006. Prior to that, Fred was editor of Byte Magazine (1987 to 1991) and editorial director of CMP Media (1991 to 1996), overseeing Windows Magazine and others.