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 2015 as healthy as possible.
(Note: This story was first published in the Jan. 10, 2013, issue. See additional PC maintenance stories from 2014 at the bottom of this column.)
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.