• Basic Computer Maintenance


    Could a heading be created for Basic Computer Maintenance?

    I currently see questions and comments devoted to defragging and deleting temp or CBS files. I’m sure there are other such questions or topics. Having all similar threads under the same heading might make it easier to locate and apply basic maintenance operations.

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    • #171337

      The only maintenance I do is a backup.
      What else is there to do that Windows doesn’t do?

      cheers, Paul

      • #171356

        Defragment? (Trim on SSD, although massive fragmentation doesn’t do SSDs any favors)

        Hardware diagnostics (might want to do these first)?:
        Check HDD/SSD physical integrity with SMART (GSmartControl would be a good tool) — this negates any need to ever run “chkdsk /r X:”
        Check(and repair) file system logical integrity with “chkdsk /f /x /v c:” (and any other partitions)
        Same both for external drives.
        A lot less probable (and you should have already done these when new especially before warranty expires) but still worth it:
        Memtest (these tools are sometimes prone to odd behavior, best to have a baseline when the hardware is new)
        OEM hardware diagnostics (Dell’s were pretty good — at least 3 years ago)
        Overheating check / CPU and GPU stress test.
        Clear dust from cooling system (CPU/power supply are primary targets) — practice electrical safety, don’t let the computer OR the human get fried.

    • #171460

      Clear dust from cooling system (CPU/power supply are primary targets) — practice electrical safety, don’t let the computer OR the human get fried.

      As @anonymous mentions, most important if you indulge in “under hood” endevours (the guts of the thing) Static\earthing are most important as the components work in MV (millivolts) static will fry that expensive component in the “Blink of an eye”. The older systems were more robust something akin to an electronic “Lego” set and could take a good deal of abuse and punishment, quite a few industrial CPU SYS are still as robust, but not as understanding as they used to be.
      One of my pet peeves is the enormous amount of Glue, ultrasonic welding used to assemble these little beast’s these days coupled with the fact that ever slimmer form factor’s tend to make disassembly a chore requiring the patience and deft skill’s of a Micro Surgeon. I assert that RAM, CPU, battery (CMOS, and laptop Power supply) HDD\SSD should be accessible easily as a pre requisite, for a long term “keeper” for the inevitable upgrades over its lifetime. There’s one sitting here still humming away happily after 18 years of daily use now runs Win7 after having Win2k\XP on it for most of its life, Win10 was just a bit too much for it, although M$ update readiness tool seems to be convinced it can lol 😉 (seriously!)
      Should you need to delve inside https://www.ifixit.com/ is an awesome page, and, surprisingly, YouTube can allay all you fears, surprised eh? well so was I. Interior cleaning\upgrading is not a regular chore, but if your a “bed time” surfer and worker you may want to get the “Fluff Bunnies” out fairly regularly 🙂

    • #171475

      @geekdom , adding items to the headliner banner is a relatively new way of doing things in the only one year old Lounge. There has been a very useful resource in the AskWoody KnowledgeBase, where the most convenient link is to Kristy’s index of topics, with additional links included.

      Many topics there fit the category you describe. They are written from the standpoint of directions for using a specific tool, or addressing a certain trouble. There is not yet a topic that describes a generic maintenance checklist that could address all the different installations of a basic computer. That may be a little too comprehensive for a topic on a blog. Woody Leonhard has however published many helpful tomes on the subject for individual Operating Systems. Available from the ‘big river retailer’ link on the right sidebar.

      Thanks to whomever I stole ‘big river retailer’, I liked it but forgot who you are. Checked before posting, found out I’m thanking you geekdom. Thanks.

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    • #171648

      In terms of physical stuff… the heatsink and fan can get badly clogged with dust bunnies and debris… especially if you have furry pets or if you smoke around the PC.  The latter can make the PC’s innards into a gummy, stinky mess.  Canned air can help blow dust and pet hair out, but smoke residue just coats everything, and it’s not so easy to get rid of.  As others have mentioned, the PSU can also collect a bunch of dust, as can the GPU’s cooling fan, if there is one.

      Electronically, I periodically check each storage volume for errors, then a disk cleanup to see how much cruft it finds (including Windows Update cleanup).  I check and see how much space is being used for System Restore and check the level of fragmentation on spinning hard drives.

      More important, I think, is being aware of the kinds of things that can lead to “Windows rot.”  Over time, Windows installations tend to get slower and slower as stuff builds up… or so I’ve read.  I’ve certainly seen and fixed a bunch of PCs that are much slower than they should have been, but I don’t know whether that was a gradual kind of thing like Windows rot supposedly is, or if there was some singular event where something broke.

      Some people still consider periodic reinstallations of Windows to be a maintenance item, which seems really antiquated to me.  I haven’t considered Windows reinstallation to be a form of maintenance since the Windows 9x days.  I had a Windows XP installation that I performed in 2008 and was still quick, responsive, and stable past the 2014 end of security support for XP.

      Half of that, I think, is just careful computing so as not to pick up malware.  The other half is being aware of what is being installed on the PC.  Certain programs pose a higher risk of causing issues than others… highly invasive things like backup programs, anti-malware programs, or anything else that installs kernel-mode drivers, can cause issues that remain even after the program is uninstalled.

      I’m suspicious of new programs. I typically do some searching and reading about a program before I install it (and to make sure it is what it claims to be and not a malware vehicle) to see if it has any known tendency to cause any such issues, and again if I uninstall something.  If there is a manual uninstallation guide for a given program somewhere (make sure it’s from a reputable source), I’ll consider what it says and see if there are any registry entries or files still hanging around after they were supposed to be removed.  Nirsoft’s DriverView can reveal whether there are drivers that are still being loaded when the program was supposed to have been removed.  I’ve found a few drivers still loading and running after their parent programs had been removed.

      In Windows 8 and 10, the startup tab of the Task Manager can sometimes reveal things I don’t want in there.  A lot of programs like to set themselves to check for updates on every boot, and for programs I don’t use all the time, that may not be necessary.  For Windows 7, I had the various “Run” registry keys bookmarked in regedit so I can periodically check and see if anything I don’t want is in there.

      Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, KDE Neon
      XPG Xenia 15, i7-9750H/16GB & GTX1660ti, KDE Neon
      Acer Swift Go 14, i5-1335U/16GB, KDE Neon (and Win 11 for maintenance)

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    • #174651

      There are questions or topics posed in this forum that fall under the general category of basic computer maintenance.  My query was about a separate section for basic computer maintenance where those who had questions or those who had specific information could post.

      I asked the question because I felt basic computer maintenance section would be a helpful addition to this forum.


      On permanent hiatus {with backup and coffee}
      offline▸ Win10Pro 2004.19041.572 x64 i3-3220 RAM8GB HDD Firefox83.0b3 WindowsDefender
      offline▸ Acer TravelMate P215-52 RAM8GB Win11Pro 22H2.22621.1265 x64 i5-10210U SSD Firefox106.0 MicrosoftDefender
      online▸ Win11Pro 22H2.22621.1992 x64 i5-9400 RAM16GB HDD Firefox116.0b3 MicrosoftDefender
      • #175020

        geekdom, I suppose I could have given a stronger effort at seconding your suggestion. When I wrote above:

        There is not yet a topic that describes a generic maintenance checklist that could address all the different installations of a basic computer. … Woody Leonhard has however published many…

        I was noting the lack of such an item in the AKB, then I continued and unfortunately undercut the point by offering something that does already exist. I meant a good will effort to address a current need. Apologies that I diverted from your cause.

        Maybe these separate tips from many voices could be synthesized into a generic task list and included as a new AKB topic.

    • #174654

      Every couple of days, I use the microsoft integrated tools to carry out a quick maintenance on W7/W8.1. Being a PC geek of the highest calibre 🙂 these are my routines from a fresh system boot-up.


      1st: When connecting online I manually update Windows Defender for new definitions.

      2nd: I then check WU which is set to ‘check for updates but let me choose whether to download them’ to keep an eye on things.

      3rd: On opening the browser, I check extensions and browser version for updates.

      4th: Prior to closing browser session I will once again check for Windows Defender updates then close the browser and disconnect.

      5th: I then clean browsing cache, history etc YMMV on what you wish to clean. I personally use ccleaner portable in conjunction with a pre-configured script for each device (winapp2).

      Note: I don’t use regcleaner within ccleaner.


      Once I have done the DAILY clean I then execute the integrated ‘Disk Cleanup utility’ and opt for the ‘Clean up System files’ method (which removes excess baggage left over from patches, WU, AV defs, etc.. all tickboxes active)

      This sometimes takes a while but, once done I’ll restart the PC in order for windows to remove/configure what I require upon shutdown/restart.

      Once rebooted, I’ll run the ‘defrag and optimise drives’ which I have set at manual to organise the filesystem (depending on whether you have an SSD or HDD)

      This has kept our systems running sweet over the last few years.


      No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created IT- AE
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    • #174660

      Most of my Win7/8.1/10 installations are now in VMs on Macs. I have some older hardware installations of Win7 Home and Pro, both 32-bit and 64-bit, but none are in active use. So my backup routine will vary in some respects from those having hardware installations.

      Two of my VMs are used for my day-to-day business – one Win7 Ult and one Win8.1 Pro. The rest of the VMs are for testing and staying up to date on current technology. The backup of the two active VMs will parallel hardware installations.


      1. I check WU for changes. I have it set on “Check but let me decide whether to download and install.”
      2. On a frequent (but not necessarily daily) basis, I check for program updates – browser + extensions (FF, Waterfox), anti-malware stand-alone (mbam, etc), CCleaner, VLC, etc.
      3. On a frequent (but not necessarily daily) basis, when I make enough changes to my working files to my working files, I backup C:\Users\<ID> to two separate NAS drives. This is a synced backup, changing files I have changed, deleting files I have deleted, so that the backups mirrors my working folders. The backup is not an image, but normal files accessible without backup software.
      4. I clean the browser cache, history, temp files, etc with CCleaner prior to shutdown every time. I do not use the Registry cleanup in CCleaner except to (very) occasionally remove a specific entry of my choice.
      5. I do not run the built-in defragmenter because my drives are SSDs.
      6. I use TrendMicro, so anti-virus defs and program updates are automatic. Defender is turned off by TMIS.

      1. I update all third-party software then I run Windows Update, Group A, avoiding problem, updates on all VMs. Since most of the VMs are for educational/testing purposes, I only update/backup them once a month.
      2. After rebooting and waiting 15-30 min., I run CCleaner and Disk Cleanup\Cleanup System Files (all checked), then reboot.
      3. After the second reboot, waiting 15-30 min. I again run CCleaner.
      4. I shut down the VMs, compress them, and copy, on a rotating basis so all aren’t on the same drive, to an external HDD or NAS drive. This is equivalent to making an image of a hardware installation.
      To restore a VM is a simple copy from the backup drive.

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