TechSpot

System maintenance, any tips?

By Richardw9
Aug 30, 2008
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  1. I was wondering what are the main things that you need to perform maintenance, i know about viruses and the registry key but is there anything else that i should be clearing out every now and again?

    Feel free to take time in answering this thread
  2. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,407   +314

    someone's going to yell Defrag -- humbug; You just don't need it all that often.
    When do you need it? When fragmentation exceeds 5-7%

    ALWAYS run chkdsk /f before any defrag, or if there are any errors on the disk,
    defrag will just scramble your data just like an omelet !

    You want to keep good performance? get PagDefrag and run it ONCE.

    Sequence of actions:
    1. Manage Free Space
      • Disk Cleanup
      • delete all browser temporary items
      • (using Firefox? delete all Private Data)
    2. Perform regular MS Updates
    3. Regularly update A/V patterns
    4. Check Fragmentation
  3. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 18,353

    There are Many Software tools and measures to take:

    No. 1 Must be Backup to external media (any user data)
    Download and run ATF-Cleaner (to remove all Temp files)
    Run Internet Explorer Reset (to set defaults)
    Update AntiVirus, and run a full scan
    Run a Malware removal program fully
    Update all programs (ie Adobe; Shockwave; Java; Office.....what-ever is installed)
    Update all drivers from Manufacture Support page
    Complete all Windows Updates
    Remove any unwanted Windows Startups
    Stop any not required Services (Start->Run->Services.msc)
    Remove any Wallpaper; ScreenSavers; addon Themes etc
    Remove any Not Required Programs (from Control Panel Programs group)
    Run a CheckDisk in Xp or Vista
    Run a full defrag

    There are further Hardware measures too:

    Remove all internal Dust (using High compressed air can)
    Re-connect all connections
    Clean out all fans (including addon Video Cards)
    Remove any unwanted other PCI cards (like old 56K Modems)
    General cleanup outside computer (Screen and Case and Keyboard and Cables)

    That's about the basics, but there are more Advanced options:

    Reset Network
    Registry Maintenance
    Running more Spyware removal Tools
    Firewall and Hosts file configuration
    Administrator passwords, and logon scripts
    Bios update (including Modem firmware)
    Actually this list can get involved, best to ask for support in this area

    Is that what you wanted?
  4. Richardw9

    Richardw9 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 137

    Ok,

    1. Is chkdsk /f safe?

    2. How do i run it?

    And 3. i ran a defrag recently and it seemed to sort out my drive quite well, what do you meen by errors on disk?


    Kimsland, you're answer was far too complicated for me lol.
    i was thinking more about things like runing virus scans and using registry booster
  5. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 3,556

    'i know about viruses and the registry key'

    Good. Tell me about this 'registry key' thing.

    Additionally, my System Maintenance Tips are to clean out the recycle bin, don't download pron or silly 'FREE' toolbars and crap, don't keep tons of Temporary Files and Cookies, and run at least one decent AV scan a week and use 2 different AM programs routinely. Oh - I am adding Defrag routinely AFTER and BEFORE installing large games.

    (lol jobeard)

    What is the 'registry key' thing you know anyway?

    :)
  6. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,372   +167

    Almost everything has some risk. Including: if your disk file system is screwed up and you run chkdsk to correct it there's a small chance of things gettin hosed.

    BUT that's why you should notice the #1 thing on kimsland's list is do backups!! (and preferably one that can ghost the hard drive in addition to your file/folder backup). Then you're protected even in worst case

    Oh. and Start->Run, enter: cmd

    Then at the prompt type chkdsk /f
  7. Richardw9

    Richardw9 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 137

    I don't claim to understand the registry key (I'm only 14 give me a break lol)

    But i do understand that when you remove programs the leave behind links within the registry key that don't lead anywhere. And , if i understand correctly, these will build up and slow youre computer down (i suppose i must be more links to sort through or something) if you dont occasionally clean them up
  8. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 3,556

    The registry is just a roadmap using 'keys' (a name someone thought up because they unlock the path to various things I would suspect) linking various program and support components so that they function correctly and it IS loaded at the start of Windows BUT the miniscule amount of extra space the remnants of old programs mapping take is just that, miniscule.

    The effects of playing in the registry can be catastophic.

    As to your youth - quit using it as an excuse. :) Soon enough you will be old and that gets lame. I know from experience. Haha!
  9. Richardw9

    Richardw9 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 137

    How can you disk file system be screwed and what do you mean by getting hosed?

    sorry if i appear to be stupid but i am just trying to learn
  10. Richardw9

    Richardw9 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 137

    I dont go playing in the registry key i have programs to do that for me lol
  11. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 18,353

    Yes CHKDSK C: /R (you forgot the C Drive)

    But I'll post a better guide just below.

    But firstly I'd like to go over what I mentioned above.
    All the basics that I mentioned (including links to Chkdsk) in the first big part, should be done. (ie Backup; Clean; AntiVirus/Malware; Updates and Defrag) for maintenance on your computer.

    Regarding Registry (and left over tracks, and uninstalled programs) you could use CCleaner. Once the program (CCleaner) is open, just click on Registry button, on the Left Hand Side, then click on "Scan for issues"

    Now that Chkdsk thingy:

    Please try this:

    Manual steps to run Chkdsk from My Computer or Windows Explorer
    • Open My Computer, and then right-click the hard disk that you want to check.
    • Click Properties, and then click Tools.
    • Under Error-checking, click Check Now. A dialog box that shows the Check disk options is displayed
    Use one of the following procedures:
    • • To run Chkdsk in read-only mode, click Start.
    • • To repair errors without scanning the volume for bad sectors, select the Automatically fix file system errors check box, and then click Start. (tick)
    • • To repair errors, locate bad sectors, and recover readable information, select the Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors check box.

    Note If one or more of the files on the hard disk are open, you will receive the following message:
    Click Yes to schedule the disk check, and then restart your computer to start the disk check.

    Wait until Chkdsk finishes Checking / Repairing any faults
    Windows will then either restart your computer or continue loading Normally.

    :)
     
  12. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,372   +167

    Well, age should be directly proportional to experience and knowledge. So, at 14 we should cut him some slack! ;)
  13. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 3,556

    "Well, age should be directly proportional to experience and knowledge. So, at 14 we should cut him some slack!"

    Yepper.

    Some!


    :)
  14. Richardw9

    Richardw9 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 137

    OK, but what does CHKDSK do?
  15. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,372   +167

    Lesson #1. Google chkdsk :)
  16. Richardw9

    Richardw9 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 137

    OK, i think i get the gist now, will this stop me getting run line errors?

    Because I'm always getting them, especially when i try to access user profiles
  17. Richardw9

    Richardw9 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 137

    OK ive run chkdsk and defrag, now you said before that you should run defrag before and after instaling games? Why? What happens if you don't?
  18. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 18,353

    I'll answer that with another example

    When I install Windows (fresh) and all the drivers and what not, I then do a full Defrag.
    This puts all the Windows files in order at the Start of the Disk

    After that I install any other programs (you know Adobe / Office and lots more), and then do another Defrag
    This puts all Windows files at the start of the disk, followed by all the programs.

    If I had just defragged at the end only, it may have been possible that some of the Windows files would be in the Program files area (I haven't proven this, but I can :) ) I'm just too lazy to prove it !

    Anyway, everytime you do a big install, guess what? It's all scattered across the disk again (requiring a Defrag)
    Now, that's not to say that you should Defrag after every install (I think this would cause more damage than good actually) Just that maybe after many installs, or when Defrag actually states that you do need to do a Defrag (from analyzing)

    FYI Vista Defrags as a task everyday. Imagine that!
  19. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,372   +167

    i'll add a point which is kinda related as we're talking now about installs and defrags

    One important file Windows defrag tools don't touch is system pagefile. (It's your system's Virtual Memory which augments your real memory size and is very important for system performance.) Windows defragger's CAN'T defrag it cause they all run when Windows is running and the Pagefile is being used by Windows and can't be moved (which defragging does) while Windows is running.

    Typically, your Virtual Memory starts at a "minimum" size and Windows grows it as more space needed. But this fragments Pagefile as well! So, two approaches:

    1. Defrag your pagefile as well from time to time if its size changed. You can use PaqeDefrag.

    OR......
    2. (since talking about installs) Since hard drives these day are sooooo big, it's really best to just determine the max Virtual Memory size you would probably need (figure 1.5 - 2 times real memory size) and allocate it all upfront on the hard drive (so min = max) when you do a clean install and the disk is empty so the entire pagefile is allocated as one contiguous chunk and you needn't ever worry about it getting fragmented and slowing things down.
  20. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 3,556

    There is a setting in XP Pro Administrative Tools, Local Security Settings, that is disabled by default but when enabled will actually clear the pagefile completely on shutdown (Shutdown: clear virtual memory pagefile).
  21. Richardw9

    Richardw9 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 137

    Is clearing on shutdown a good thing? Is there anything on virtual memory i might want?
  22. Richardw9

    Richardw9 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 137

    Is clearing the virtual memory on shutdown a good thing? is there anything on there i might want?



    oops thought the first one hadn't posted
  23. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,407   +314

    On a laptop where there is a risk of it getting lost or stolen, it would be beneficial,
    but on a desktop you have physical security (ie the locks on your doors), so it's
    as waste of time and effort (imo).
  24. Richardw9

    Richardw9 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 137

    There is no such thing as a wast of my time lol,

    ill ask again

    Is clearing the virtual memory on shutdown a good thing? is there anything on there i might want?

    Is there anything i want to be carried over? Will i lose data by clearing virtual memory?
  25. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 18,353

    No
    No

    There you go!
    I can expand on this, but that's the best answer
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