Windows Maintenance Tips

If you have an older computer running Windows XP or an even more ancient version, and newer versions of Windows are not an option, then I recommend that you switch to Linux. As of April 8, 2014, Microsoft no longer provides support for Windows XP, which means it no longer offers updates and security patches for XP (Click here to learn more) [1]. The longer any software such as Windows goes without updates, the more vulnerable it becomes to “hackers” (a more correct term is “crackers”) and computer malware. Even today with its updates, Windows is a constant target of all imaginable forms of malware, so it makes sense to do all you can to protect yourself and your personal information. It is possible to remain “fairly” safe with Windows if you follow certain practices; click here to learn more [2]. Also, below is a list of specific things which can be done to help Windows to run more smoothly and safely:

  • Microsoft Security Essentials – This is an outstanding antivirus and antispyware program from Microsoft which can be downloaded for free. Only install oneantivirus on your computer at a time. Having more than one antivirus installed and running at the same time will significantly slow down your computer. Of course, there are many other antivirus programs which are effective and could be used in the place of Microsoft Security Essentials, but in my opinion it is hard to beat because it works very well and is free.
  • Turn on the Windows Firewall, or the firewall of your choice if you have another one installed. If you have more than one firewall installed on your computer, only turn on one of them at any given time to avoid software conflicts.
 Firewall
  • Turn on the automatic updates in Windows. Keep all software running on your computer updated.
  • Install and regularly use CCleaner. This free software will keep the hard drive from collecting junk files and will keep your Windows Registry clean. Try to run CCleaner at least once per week.
  • Make sure the Windows Startup folder (located in the main menu) is empty. Anything in the Startup folder can be manually (and safely) deleted from it. While it is true that programs in your Startup folder will load more quickly once they are opened, the more programs you have in the Startup folder, the longer it will take for your computer as a whole to get up-and-running because these programs will be loading in the background. In my opinion, it is better for certain programs to be a little slower in loading (when you open them) than to slow down the entire computer system each time you start it.
  • An additional step to protect your computer is to install Linux alongside Windows. Because Linux is immune to the vast majority of computer malware, it is much safer to browse the Internet while using Linux, and Windows will still be there when you need it. Click here to learn more about how to install Linux [3].

References:

1.    ^ “Microsoft Help and Support.” http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/?LN=en-gb&C2=1173.
2.    ^ “Tips for Better Computer Security.” http://www.renewablepcs.com/tips-for-better-computer-security.
3.    ^ “How to Install Linux.” http://www.renewablepcs.com/about-linux/how-to-install-linux.

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