How To Maintain Your Computer
Q: How often do I need to clean my Windows Registry?
A: Under normal conditions this should not be necessary. the Windows operating system does a great job of maintaining the registry entries you need to keep your PC running smoothly.
Q: How often should I defragment my PC?
A: You can do it on a weekly or monthly basis depending on your usage habits, but you should be aware of the type of drive you have. IDE, EIDE & SATA drives need to be defragmented, but Solid State drives do not.
Q: How often should I update my software?
A: Most new installations of software include some sort of automatic updater, or at a minimum, notification that an update may be available. Always be caution when setting up automatic updates. You may wake up one morning to find that you have a toolbar or other program that you don’t remember installing, or that your default search page or home page has been changed. That’s because many software updates come with “hitchhikers” that automatically install unless you tell it not to. It’s best to configure the automatic updates to notify you when an update is available, then go in yourself to choose the options. Also, only go the official page of the software, never to 3rd party pages for updates. That’s inviting unwanted hitchhiker software at best, and at worst you could be opening yourself up to malware.
Q: How often do I need to back up my computer?
A: If you’ve typed more than you want to have to type again, save the file. If you’ve saved more work than you want to have to rebuild, then back it up. While you can back it up to another folder on the same PC, if that PC dies you’re still out all that work. It’s best to back up to a CD, DVD or thumb drive that you can store in a separate location. Lately you may have heard about Cloud storage and that’s an acceptable backup location because it’s always accessible from any connected PC, laptop, phone or tablet and it’s reasonably secure.
Q: Is my WiFi secure?
A: WiFi is as secure as you make it. Many people will buy wireless routers for home use to conveniently connect multiple devices, and then fail to properly secure the network. By having an open network, anyone within range of your WiFi will have access to any public files on your device. Your best bet is to follow the instructions included with your router to set up a secure network with a strong password containing both upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. The good news is that once connected, your devices should remember the password and connect automatically.
Q: How big of a battery backup do I need?
A: A lot depends on your application. For the average homeowner or small business, your two primary concerns are damage to the PC and/or file corruption caused by a powersurge that may have occurred when the power went out, and losing any data that wasn’t saved. That’s where a high quality battery backup, also referred to as a UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) comes in. Generally in the $50-$100 range for a single workstation unit, they’re capable of suppressing a surge as well as keeping your computer running long enough to save your work and then shut down the PC properly to await the return of commercial power. But note the outlets on the UPS. Some of the outlets may say they’re protected only, which means they will suppress power surges, but won’t provide battery backup. the rest of the outlets provide both surge suppression and battery backup. Typically you would plug in only the computer and monitor into the backups, while your peripherals such as speakers, printers, etc, would only need surge suppression. In larger offices with multiple workstations, a single UPS generally won’t be sufficient to power more than one or two PCs so a customized solution will need to be implemented.