5 tips for better PC health
Working on a slow, disorganized computer can be frustrating—and it happens to the best of us. We will give you some easy-to-follow guidelines on how to keep your computer on the right track using tools in Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Microsoft Office 2010.
1. Organize your folders
When we are in a hurry we just quickly save the file in the first folder we can find. This happens time and time again to the best of us but we need to take the time to move these files in their proper place.
Create folders and sub-folders to help organize your files. Try and go through your computer frequently and clean out unneccessary files to free up used space.
2. Clean up your hard disk
Now that you’ve organized your files and folders and cleaned up your desktop, you can organize the data itself. Windows includes two utilities, Disk Cleanup and Disk Defragmenter that help you free up more space on your hard drive and help your computer work more efficiently.
Disk Cleanup compresses your old files to free up storage space.
Disk Defragmenter scans your hard drive and consolidates files that may be scattered across the disk.
3. Use System Restore
System Restore is one of those programs that can be a life-saver when you’ve been the unfortunate recipient of unstable software, a badly timed power outage, or a damaging thunderstorm. System Restore records important documents, settings, and preferences on your computer. If the unthinkable happens and your computer files are damaged or inaccessible, you can use System Restore to restore your computer to the same state it was in before the data was lost.
System Restore creates restore points daily and whenever you install device drivers, automatic updates, and some applications. But it’s a good idea to get into the habit of creating a system checkpoint (called a restore point) when you’re about to install new software or take any action you suspect might make your computer unstable. Then, if there’s any conflict at all, you can restore your computer to the point just before you began the installation.
Although System Restore can put your computer back in order, it’s prudent to periodically back up all the files on your computer. Whether you choose to use an external hard disk, DVDs, or a network location to back up your files, Windows 7 makes it easier than ever to safeguard the contents of your computer. You can back up your files if you’re running Windows Vista or Windows XP, too. Learn more about backing up your data.
4. Keep Windows and Microsoft Office up-to-date
Computer programs are continually improved based on customer feedback and regular product testing. As problems are resolved, you should benefit from those improvements. By checking Microsoft Update often, you can make sure you’ve got the most recent Windows and Microsoft Office improvements available to you.
Windows 7 and Windows Vista users don’t need to sign up for Microsoft Update: An account is automatically created for you during the registration process, and Windows Update is automatically installed on your computer with default settings that you can change later, if you wish.
Windows XP users must visit Microsoft Update to start the update process. First-time visitors might need to sign up for the service. After you’ve visited Microsoft Update, you should configure your computer running Windows XP to receive critical updates automatically. This free service is called Windows Update in Windows 7 and in Windows Vista, and it is called Automatic Updates in Windows XP.
Important: If you do not select the recommended automatic updating option, you must download and install every critical update. If you download the updates but forget to install them, your computer will not be protected with the latest enhancements.
5. Run antivirus software and a spyware detection and removal tool
Updating your Windows software is just the first step in keeping your computer safe. Next (if you haven’t already done so), you’ll want to install antivirus software from a reputable vendor. As is the case with Windows, it is critical that you keep your antivirus software up to date.
If your computer seems sluggish or if you begin to see lots of pop-up advertisements, even when you’re not surfing the web, your computer may be infected with spyware, adware, or other unwanted software.