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Computer Maintenance

Are you tired of spending hundreds of dollars on computer repair bills? Today I will guide you through maintaining your computer on a regular basis and save you money on computer repair bills. Taking your system into your local repair shop every time you and or your kids download music and movies from the internet can result in large computer repair bills. What if I told you how you could avoid those regular trips down to your favourite computer repair outlet?

Remember when you first purchased your new computer system it was running very quickly. When you install software, keys are added to the registry for the program. When you un-install the program a lot of the keys that were installed do not get removed. Over time windows will slow down because the registry is overloaded with needless keys. The registry can also become cluttered with spyware – adware and viruses. Some computers that are infected are so cluttered they will stop responding to commands or worse yet not even start up. Spyware and viruses can stop you from surfing the internet or downloading your email or worse yet, delete important system files and personal data.

Most viruses and spyware are downloaded by file sharing programs like Kazaa, Limewire, WinMX, Azureus, BitTorrent, iMesh, BearShare etc. All of these programs put you at risk because you are downloading files from other people’s computers. How could you possibly know if that file you are downloading has a virus? Not to mention when you install these P2P (peer too peer) programs the majority of them have spyware attached to the install file. When you install and agree to the license agreement you are accepting the fact that the company can install spyware on your computer. Don’t believe me? Read the license agreement next time before you install, it is all there in tiny black and white print. Have you ever seen any of the following applications? Transponder | FlashTrack | Hotbar | eZula | NewDotNet | TopText | Cydoor | FavoriteMan | BonziBuddy | SAHAgent | Trickler | Gain | MyWay etc. These are all spyware apps that get installed when you install iMesh. BearShare and Limewire have some of the same applications plus more. The point is you need to get rid of these nasties.

Perhaps one of the most common ways your computer can become infected by spyware and viruses is simply by surfing the internet. Yes, you heard me right. Surfing the internet can be detrimental to your computer system. There are all kinds of corrupt web sites out there that install viruses and spyware just by landing on their page. If you have no virus protection when you hook up to the internet, it would take about 2 seconds to become infected, for this reason I like to have a hardware firewall installed. Any router will give you hardware firewall support. Read my article on how to configure a router for further information.

In today’s computer world it is very crucial to have real time protection for your computer data. Real time protection is actively scanning while you surf and download. I highly recommend the following programs for safe removal and real time protection against viruses and spyware. Do yourself a favour and get rid of the free virus scanning program you have. You get what you pay for these days and when it comes to critical data I like to know I am protected. Free virus programs like AVG are not trustworthy. For virus protection download ESET. ESET Anti-Virus monitors all virus entry points leaving you with a virus-free PC! Eset anti virus has hourly updates for viruses. They are one of only a chosen few that have this valuable service and we would be fools not to take advantage of it. Download Spyware Doctor Spyware Doctor is a top-rated malware & spyware removal utility that detects, removes and protects your PC from thousands of potential spyware, adware, trojans, keyloggers, spybots and tracking threats.

Once you have downloaded and installed ESET NOD32 and Spyware Doctor you will need to remove any other spyware and virus programs you may be running. Running more than one virus program will create the programs to fight with each other. You can remove the unwanted applications from the Control Panel using the “Programs and Features” option in Windows Vista or the “Add Remove Programs” option in Windows XP.

Upon completion of removing the unwanted applications I highly suggest downloading and installing Registry Mechanic. Registry Mechanic is an advanced registry cleaner for Windows that can safely clean, repair and optimize your registry in a few simple mouse clicks! Registry Mechanic will remove all traces of previously installed software from the registry safely and effectively. The program will optimize the registry and speed up your computer system.

Once you have downloaded and installed the previous mentioned programs it is time to put them to good use. Restart your computer in safe mode. View this article for instructions on how to enter safe mode.

Now that we have successfully entered safe mode, launch ESET NOD32 Anti Virus and start a full system scan. Launch Spyware Doctor and start a full system scan. Remove the little nasties that the programs find. If the program wants you to reboot the system to finish the removal process please do so. After the system has restarted in real mode launch both applications and perform a full system scan again. Remove any nasties the programs find. Your system should now be clean of viruses and spyware.

Now that we have removed all the little nasties form our system let’s launch Registry Mechanic and cleanup all the unwanted files that were left behind in the registry again.

The most often overlooked aspect of computer maintenance is optimizing the data we have on our hard drives. This would be a great time to accomplish that task. Reboot your system into safe mode again. This is the last time I promise.

Now that we are in safe mode again lets launch the scan disk utility and the defrag utility supplied by Microsoft with our operating system. In Windows Vista the scandisk utility was renamed to “error checking”. Open up My Computer or Computer and right click your C:\ hard drive. After right clicking choose properties and then click on Tools. Run scan disk or error checking first. After completion run the defrag utility. After completing the defrag process please reboot back into real mode. To do this just restart the system.

I would advise using scandisk/error checking once a month. I would also advise using defrag once a month. Run Registry Mechanic, Spyware Doctor and ESET NOD32 in real time and say goodbye to computer repair bills.