Are you tired of your computer running slower than usual? Are you tired of your computer giving you the blue screen of death? Are you tired of spending money on unnecessary computer repairs/services?
If you answered “Yes” to any of the questions above, you are in need of a Preventative Maintenance program for you computer. In the world of Automotive Repair Services this program is called a Preventative Maintenance Inspection (PMI) and usually but not always, the follow-up repairs are performed. Similarly, we can do the same for our computers to keep it performing at its best. There are a couple of things to consider when creating a preventative maintenance program.
THE PMI PROGRAM
Here are some steps that you will need to follow before starting the preventative maintenance program.
Make sure you have antivirus software (Norton Antivirus, McAfee VirusScan, ZoneAlarm, etc…) installed to prevent viruses, worms, and other harmful codes from infecting your computer.
To have the best protection from the antivirus software, make sure to keep the virus definitions up-to-date regularly. For any antivirus software to perform efficiently, the virus definitions have to be up-to-date all the time. I would suggest updating the virus definitions regularly (about 3 times a week) for optimal protection. If possible, enable any automatic updated and automatic scan features. This will keep your antivirus updated and your computer free from viruses automatically.
Make sure you have anti-spyware/anti-adware software (Ad-aware, Spybot S&D, Webroot SpySweeper, etc…) installed to prevent spying or advertising software from installing or staying on your computer.
To have the best protection from any anti-spyware/anti-adware software, make sure to keep it up-to-date. Enable any automatic update and automatic scanning features if the software is capable. This will keep your software updated and your computer free from adware and spyware.
Make sure you have some kind of online security (firewall) software (Sygate Personal Firewall, Norton Internet Security, etc…) installed to prevent unauthorized access via the Internet to your computer.
To have the best protection against unauthorized access to and from your computer, make sure to keep your firewall utility up-to-date. Enable any automatic update feature if the software is capable. This will keep your software updated and your computer blocked from unauthorized access.
For this PMI program to work efficiently for you, your computer must meet the following requirements. This will not work on all systems; I do not guarantee that it will work on Non-Windows based computers.
- Defragmenting Utility (included with Windows)
- Makes sure that the data on your hard drive is in order and easily accessible.
- Disk Cleanup Utility (included with Windows)
- Removes all unnecessary files from your computer.
- Antivirus Utility
- Protects your computer from viruses or worms.
- Anti-spyware/adware Utility
- Protects your computer from harmful spyware and adware.
- Firewall Utility
- Protects your computer from unauthorized access.
Other than these utilities you will need some basic computer skills to follow the instructions.
Assuming that you meet all of the requirements listed above, the first thing to do is to schedule some automated tasks. There has to be a set time interval when you want to perform these tasks. Because you do not want to run these utilities all at once (it will take up a lot of your computer’s resources), you have to schedule the tasks to run separately (maybe on separate days). Most Windows versions come pre-equipped with a utility called the “Scheduled Task or Task Scheduler” to help you perform tasks that you need to be performed automatically at the specified dates and times. Since you have these five utilities to run separately on separate days, I suggest taking full advantage of this utility so you do not have to worry about the maintenance that much.
Usually, the “Scheduled Tasks” folder is located in the Control Panel. To access it or to manage all scheduled tasks, click on the Start button and click on Run. The run dialog should appear; type in control and click on the OK button or press the Enter key on your keyboard. This will open the Control Panel; please do use your convenient method of opening the Control Panel. Now click on the “Scheduled Tasks” icon to open the folder. You should see “Add Scheduled Task” or something similar and all scheduled tasks if you have any.
To Add a New Task
Double click on Add Scheduled Task to bring up the Scheduled Task Wizard which will help you schedule almost any utility to run whenever you want or how often you want. Usually, the wizard will show you a list of utilities you can schedule, but it may not contain all of the utilities you want to use. So there is a Browse button with which you can look for the utility you want.
Once you have selected the utility you want, you will have to specify how often you want the task to be executed. There are various options you can choose like Daily, Weekly, Monthly, etc… Next, you will be asked to choose the time you want the task executed. This should be enough information for the task scheduler. Once you click on the Finish button your task will be scheduled. If you made a mistake you can go back and edit your settings for any particular task.
But if you prefer to perform these tasks manually, then you will not need the task scheduler. All you do then is run each one of the utility ones after the other whenever you want.
I would suggest that you run these utilities at least once every two weeks or even once every week. My experience tells me to run the virus and the adware scanners every week. I usually run the defragment and disk cleanup utilities once every month. I leave the firewall on normal and block any application I do not want to access the Internet.
You will not only improve the performance of your computer but extend its life and immunize it from everyday threats. Some of this information may not apply to a lot of computer systems, but a little modification of the instruction will do the job.