computer maintenance steps

We have researched the top Computer Maintenance Steps. This is why we are sharing this post on care and maintenance of computer and maintenance of computer hardware and software. Suppose you want a computer maintenance plan example, then reading this post will help.

Computers last five to eight years when maintained properly, but that lifespan can erode quickly if a user doesn’t take steps to protect the hardware. This is why computer maintenance is so important.

Computer maintenance means keeping your computers and laptops in good condition through regular cleanings, hard drive updates, and virus prevention. Doing so can lengthen the lifespan of your devices and it can also help you browse the web more safely.

This article will walk you through computer maintenance steps to take daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly to keep your device up and running. Keep reading for 25 tips to help protect your devices or jump to our checklist.

computer maintenance plan example

Computer Maintenance Steps

How to clean your computer

Cleaning your computer regularly can help extend its shelf life, saving you time and money on repairs and replacements. Remember that computers are especially prone to dust and overheating, so these steps can help reduce risk and keep your computer running optimally.

1. Dust your keyboard using compressed air

Did you know that researchers have found that the average desktop and keyboard is dirtier than a toilet seat? That’s why dusting your keyboard off at least once a week can help maintain it (and reduce health risks). Wipe down your keyboard with a damp lint-free cloth, but be sure not to soak it in water.

For harder to reach areas such as in between the keyboard keys, use a compressed air canister.

2. Wipe down your monitor

Fingerprints and other stains can appear regularly on your monitor. In order to keep your screen view fresh and clean, wipe down your monitor once a week using a dry lint-free cloth. Gently wipe in long motions as pressing too hard can damage your device.

Oftentimes, your computer will come with a microfiber cleaning cloth upon purchase. Use this cloth or order a similar one for optimal cleaning. 

3. Get rid of your mouse’s dust and particles

Like your keyboard, your mouse needs to be dusted regularly to work properly. To do this, unplug your mouse and turn it upside down. From there, you’ll want to remove the bottom panel and clean the ball with a lint-free cloth. 

You can add rubbing alcohol to the cloth for a deeper clean. Let the ball dry before reassembling the mouse.

4. Clean your system thoroughly

Every three to six months you should do a thorough cleaning of your entire hardware system. You can do this in a number of ways, including with a computer vacuum. You’ll want to save and close any active files before you unplug your device to begin cleaning. 

From there, you can open the casing by removing the screws. Don’t vacuum the inside of the computer. Instead, use the compressed air canister from step #1 on the inside to avoid damage. 

If you have a laptop, disassembly will be different than with a traditional computer. Make sure to follow the instructions that came with your device before you begin taking it apart. 

5. Power down or reboot your device regularly

While powering down your device every night isn’t a requirement with new computers, rebooting regularly does help refresh your system resources.

If you’re working off an older computer, you should power down your device properly every night to avoid overheating. If your device is newer, consider rebooting it once a day instead and turning it to sleep mode when it’s not in use. 

How to conserve your hard drive

6. Defragment the hard drive

Did you know that the disk is the weakest link when it comes to computer performance? This is why defragging your hard drive once a month is so important. 

Defragging is the process of reorganizing the data on your hard drive to speed up file access. It breaks up a file into smaller bits on your device. While every computer is different, you can usually find Defragment functions under the System and Security tab in the Control Panel.

7. Backup data

At least once a week you should backup your drive. If you’re working on an important project, you can do this daily to ensure your files are securely stored. Backing up your data saves important files in the event of a hard drive failure or system crash. 

8. Configure your startup

You should periodically check in on the applications that automatically run at start-up. These applications can slow down your computer. From the Settings tab, you should be able to navigate to the Startup to control which applications run.

9. Run disk cleanup

You can free up disk space on your hard drive by running a disk cleanup. This will clean out temporary files and extra language files as well as delete big attachments and more. 

10. Install major computer updates 

To keep your applications running safely and efficiently you should check for major computer updates at least once a month. These updates can be critical for long-term health because they patch up critical security holes and remove unnecessary features. You may also be able to adjust your setting so updates happen automatically.

How to remove malware

11. Update antivirus software

Whenever an antivirus software update is available, you should run it that day to remove malware. These updates introduce new software features or make improvements on current ones. Generally you can set your system up for automatic updates, but if you ever receive a notification from your current antivirus software, you should complete the update as soon as possible.

12. Change your passwords regularly

One of the easiest ways for hackers to gain access to your device is through a cyberattack where they steal your login credentials. Upon gaining access to your device, they can access sensitive information such as spam emails, banking information, and more. 

While experts used to recommend changing passwords every month, this frequency was causing new risks and inconveniences for users. Updating your password four times a year helps keep you more secure without much hassle.

13. Check for firmware updates

Firmware is a tiny piece of software in your computer that keeps the hardware functioning properly. Sometimes these updates are included in major computer updates, but you can check for firmware updates manually on many devices, as well.

14. Complete signature updates 

To keep your antivirus software running properly, you’ll want to do signature updates in addition to software updates. This ensures that your device is protected from new viruses. Many programs allow you to install these signature updates automatically, but if not you should update weekly.

15. Consider parental controls

If you have kids at home or have other people accessing your device, prevent software from being downloaded without your consent by setting up parental controls. These controls will require a password from an administrator to download certain files and software to your device.  

How to maintain your files

16. Move similar files into folders

Keeping files on your desktop can slow down your machine. Instead, organize similar files into folders where you can easily find them. This will also help streamline the cleaning process when it comes time to delete unnecessary items.

17. Delete unused programs

Get more memory space by removing unnecessary programs from your device. If you filter your programs by size, you can see which ones take up the most memory and decide from there what you can remove.

18. Clear out the Recycling Bin

When you or another user deletes a file, it goes to the Recycling Bin. This gives you one last chance to salvage a file you’ve removed, but it can also clog up space on your hard drive if you don’t clear it out regularly. Once a month you should check the Recycling Bin for any files that may have accidentally been deleted and clear out the rest. 

19. Remove temporary internet files

Speed up your system by removing temporary internet files and clearing your Cache. Every browser has a different method for clearing out these cookies. Find directions for your browser here.

20. Transfer files to the cloud

Cloud storage providers allow you to store gigabytes of space without running down your hard drive memory. Better yet, it allows you to share your files across multiple devices. As you download files throughout the day, transfer them to cloud storage to save space on your hard drive.

More maintenance reminders

21. Avoid overheating your device

Set up your computer in an area of your office or home that gets good airflow, with two inches of empty space on either side. Giving your machine room to breathe helps prevent overheating, which extends the life of your device.

Stacks of paper and other items being placed on your computer can also make it overheat, so keep your desk area organized and free of clutter.

22. Keep your cords organized

Cable clutter can collect dust and become easily damaged. Cable stations and other cord organizers can help organize your area. It will also save you time and stress next time you go to unplug your computer.

23. Don’t overcharge your device

If you’re working off a laptop, it can be tempting to charge the battery all night. While doing so won’t damage the device, one of the best ways to maintain the battery over an extended period of time is to unplug it once it reaches 100%. You should also remove the battery altogether if you won’t be using the device for a month or more to help extend its shelf life.

24. Keep food and drinks away

It can only take one can of soda to destroy a device. As tempting as enjoying a glass of coffee as you check your morning emails may be, always avoid eating or drinking near your computer to reduce spillage risk. 

25. Avoid spam while browsing

If a weird email shows up in your inbox or an unexpected popup while browsing, resist the urge to open it. Malware scams can greatly damage your device and put your files and privacy at risk.

Just like an automobile, your computer needs to be regularly maintained to run properly. Doing regular computer maintenance can greatly extend the lifespan of the device and may keep you safer while browsing online. Through completing just a few simple steps, you’ll get a faster and healthier operating system to work on. 

Monthly Computer Maintenance Checklist

Monthly Computer Maintenance Checklist

To some people, the idea of taking care of their computer might seem a little intimidating. Most people find it much easier to have a tech-savvy friend or relative who can do it for them if they’re willing.

But, you don’t always have to have someone to help you with the basics of computer maintenance. It’s easier than you might think to maintain your computer and keep it running smoothly. By carrying out a few regular tasks each month, you can help to prevent a range of problems.

Our Monthly Computer Maintenance Checklist

Prevention is the best strategy for keeping your computer in good health, so taking the time to maintain your computer will benefit you. So, here is our top 10 monthly computer maintenance checklist.

1. Stay Up to Date

Updates are important for protecting your computer against any problems. You should keep your computer up-to-date with any new updates for your operating system, and also make sure to update your third-party software as well.

In particular, make sure that you keep your antivirus software up-to-date. Your antivirus software should have updates, not just to improve its features, but also to update its database of malware so that it can detect the latest threats.

You can check manually for updates on a monthly basis, or alternatively, you can switch on automatic updates. Your computer will then update itself without you having to do anything. Although, you might be asked to give permission for some updates or to schedule them at a convenient time.

2. Carryout Scans and Checks

Installing antivirus software is essential to keep your computer in good condition, but you also have to make sure that you use it properly. Even if you have lots of tools in place to protect your computer, there are still things that can slip through the net.

You can set up your antivirus software to perform regular scans on a schedule, so you don’t have to remember to do it manually. Weekly or monthly scans will help to keep your computer clean. However, you can still carry out a manual scan whenever you feel you need to.

3. Clean Your Computer

As well as looking after what’s on your computer software-wise, taking care of the hardware is important too. Cleaning the outside of your computer and hardware will ensure that it works as well as it should.

Pay particular attention to the fans, which can get dusty and lead to overheating. A soft brush or cloth is useful for cleaning your computer, but you might also use a gentle desktop vacuum cleaner or other tools designed for keeping a computer clean.

4. Clean Up Your Files

The files on your computer also need cleaning up. Some of them could be malicious but there are also many files that can simply take up precious memory and slow your computer down.

You can start by emptying your recycle bin, which you can do manually. It is then advisable to clean up other hidden files that are stored deep within the operating system.

On a Windows computer, performing a disc cleanup will help to identify any files that you might not need anymore. You can find the disc cleanup function in system tools and pick the drive that you want to scan.

Alternatively, if you are a Mac user, you can use the ‘manage storage’ option when you right-click your Macintosh HD. This will open up a window that shows you all the areas of your hard drive that can be cleaned up.

5. Check for Unnecessary Software

Another way to free up memory is to get rid of any programs that you might not need anymore.

If you have any software that you don’t get any use from or something you installed temporarily that you no longer need, removing it will free up vital space. It will also ensure you don’t have unnecessary programs running in the background.

On a computer running an older version of Windows, you can use the ‘add/remove programs’ tool, which you can find within your control panel, to see everything that you have installed. Or, if you have a more recent machine, this guide from CNet takes you through some easy to follow steps: how to uninstall an app or program in Windows 10.

Again, if you are a Mac user, the steps you take will be a little different. Simply open your applications folder, find the software you will want to remove and drag it to the trash bin. You may find that some software comes with its own uninstall program as well. If this is the case, then make sure you use this option instead.

maintenance of computer hardware and software

6. Make Startup Faster

A computer that starts up slowly can be very frustrating. However, you can help your computer to start up faster by making a few simple changes and regularly checking that nothing is slowing it down.

Firstly, you can check which programs are set to automatically open on startup. In Windows, this is done through the control panel – check out this article on how to disable startup programs in Windows 10 for some simple steps to follow.

Apple Macs run a little differently and generally don’t have as many programs running in the background as a Windows machine would. However, it is still worth taking a look within ‘system preferences > user & groups’ From here, you can view the ‘Login Items and disable any software that you don’t need.

Related ArticleHow To Unfreeze A Mac.

In addition to the above, carrying out simple tasks each month like deleting files on your desktop is a great idea. When your computer first loads, it needs to load each file on your desktop. By removing these shortcuts, it is one less thing your computer needs to do.

7. Clear Out Browser Files

Getting rid of unnecessary browser files can free up memory, and it also helps to protect your personal information. It’s a chance to remove cookies that might be tracking your online behaviour, which you might not want on your computer.

How you remove unwanted files depends on the browser that you use, but it should be easy to find an option for clearing your browsing data in your browser menu.

For example, if you are using Google Chrome, simply choose the ‘clear browsing data’ option from the top menu dropdowns. You will then be able to remove your browsing history, cookies and other site data, cached images and files, plus some more advanced options.

8. Tidy Up Your Cables

Another way of taking care of your hardware is to tidy up your cables to keep them organised and out of the way. You can end up with lots of cables for various devices (printers, scanners, cameras, external hard drives, etc), and they can easily become damaged if you don’t take care of them.

Keeping them neat and organised, and securing them out of the way, can help to prevent any breakages that could cause problems. There are a number of options on how to do this, which will come down to space and budget.

Popular options are cable boxes, which you can pick up from the likes of Amazon from around £10.00 upwards. Cable sleeves, which can be purchased for around £5. Or, if you want to keep things really cheap and affordable, using standard cable ties will do the job.

9. Defragment Drives

Defragmenting your hard drive might not be something that you think to do if you’re a computer novice. But it can help to keep your computer running smoothly by rearranging the layout of files.

If you are running a Windows machine, the guys over at Windows Central have written a great step-by-step guide on how to defragment your PC’s hard drive.

If you are a Mac user, you will be pleased to hear that Mac’s don’t typically break up small files in the same way Windows does, and therefore defragmentation is rarely needed. However, if you feel it may still be needed, there are various third-party tools in the App Store which can do the job. We also offer an Apple repair Brighton service.

Finally, do remember that only hard drives need defragging, not SSD’s. If you have not upgraded your hard drive to an SSD, then this guide will explain the benefits: why you should upgrade to an SSD.

10. Have a Professional Check Your Computer

While you might not need to have your computer checked out by a professional every month, it’s worth considering as an option when more serious issues arise.

An IT support professional can take a good look at your computer and work out what it requires to help it run faster, protect it from viruses and keep it in good condition. If you are having an issue with a laptop, then see our laptop repair Brighton and laptop repair London services.

Here at Geeks On Wheels, we offer IT support in BrightonIT Support in London as well as remote IT support across the whole of the UK. You can either arrange a suitable time to bring your machine to our London office. Or, we offer 30-minute and 60-minute sessions where we can fix your computer issues remotely.

As an award-winning company for best independent tech retailer of the year, you know that your computer is in safe hands. Call our team today on 0203 637 6370 for UK wide immediate support or for more information.

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