Hi, Patch Readers!
Let’s continue with the second part of my two-part blog: “How To Keep Your Computer Running Healthy”. In last week’s part one, I described four things you should do to help keep that computer of yours running as smoothly as possible – keeping Windows updated, running CCLEANER, rebooting your computer on a regular basis, and installing a good PC TUNE UP program. Now, let me give you a couple more items you need to help keep your PC healthy:
5) Install Good Internet Security Software
You need to have a good program that will provide security and protection in the way of a firewall, anti-virus / anti-spyware / anti-malware, “Safe Surfing” / anti-phishing, and email virus protection. This subject alone could be its own separate article, as there are many “flavors” you can choose from, depending on your needs.
You can buy a paid “all-in-one” internet security solution – such as Norton Internet Security 2012, AVG Internet Security, ESET Smart Security, Kaspersky Internet Security 2012, or BitDefender, just to name a couple of the better security suites available, in my opinion. These suites generally rank high in anti-virus “hits” testing, and for the most part, they run in the background seamlessly with Windows. There are some very good free programs that you can use, too, such as “AVG Anti-Virus 2012 FREE”, “Avast Anti-Virus Free”, and “Avira Anti-Virus Free”. But note that the latter are free anti-virus programs that do NOT include the other items that the aforementioned Internet Security suites have, like a firewall. And even though Windows has its own built-in firewall, my experience is that it’s not robust enough to handle today’s computers and surfing. If your computer is older, you can probably get away with using Windows Firewall and one of the free anti-virus programs I mentioned. The free anti-virus programs may lack real-time virus scanning, which is crucial for safe PC operation, so do your due diligence when deciding on what’s best for you and your computer.
I use Norton Internet Security 2012 because it comes free with my Comcast account. It does the job of securing my PC in all areas very well with extremely little interaction on my part. Installation and setup is easy with Norton, and it should be for any decent program. Since I always like to have a “second opinion”
when it comes to anti-virus, I run Norton along with AVG Anti-Virus 2012 Free. Again, note the free programs are usually limited in some way; they want you to upgrade (and pay) for their more-or all-inclusive programs. Whatever you
decide, just make sure it’s highly-rated by professionals and users alike. A good place to check editor and user reviews on these and all types of other software is CNET.COM and their counterpart, DOWNLOAD.COM.
6) Keep Your Hard Drive Defragmented
There are plenty of good disk defragmentation programs out there – many paid versions, many free. In this area of software, I believe there are at least two free defrag programs that will more than suffice: AUSLOGICS’ “Disk Defrag” and IOBIT’s “Smart Defrag”. Both of these programs should be set to defragment automatically while your computer is idle. My personal preference is the AUSLOGICS defrag program, but you can’t go wrong with either of these two options. Paid software, such as "PerfectDisk", work well but they are generally for more advanced users and frankly, at the end of the day, I don’t really think they will do a much better job than the free softwareI mentioned – if at all.
7) Have Enough Memory (RAM) For Your Needs
Do you have an older PC? Are you a PC “gamer”? Or are you what they call a “power user”? Depending on your needs, your computer may not have the memory capacity to properly handle everything you do on a daily basis. This can slow your computer CONSIDERABLY. If you have found that this is the case, you
have options – you can upgrade your older computer to a newer one that has more memory, or you can add more memory to your existing computer. Depending on the make and model of your computer, it will vary greatly as to how much more memory can be added, if at all – and the type of memory to be added is very specific to what kind of computer you have. In 2012, especially
if you are running Windows 7 or Windows Vista, 4 GB of RAM is pretty much a
minimum. I have seen many people trying to run later versions of Windows on 2 GB of RAM, and even for basic internet surfing and email, to say that these computers run at a snail’s pace is a major understatement. I have a Dell Studio 560 running Intel quad-core processors with 8 GB of RAM. The computer is about 3 years old and even for me, sometimes I think about adding another 4 GB of RAM. But that’s me. If you suspect that your computer is “deficient of sufficient RAM”, you should do something about it. If your computer is running very slow, it’s frustrating, to say the least.
That's all for this week. I want to make this blog as informative and helpful as possible...so please let me know how you feel about content (beginner, advanced)...if you'd like to see Patch reader computer repair Q&As,or anything else you'd like me to write about in the world of computer repair, maintenance, and troubleshooting.
For now, have a great week!
Andy ooper - Owner, IFIXPCZ
Andy Cooper is the owner of IFIXPCZ, an independent computer repair services company servicing the entire North Shore area and beyond. Please check out our website at http://www.ifixpcz.com and make sure you “LIKE” us on Facebook for a full-color newsletter, access to our exclusive Computer Repair /Windows Q&A Community, and special discounts on all of our services!