Periodically Maintaining Your Computer

I’ve been using computers for almost 20 years and realize that the same problems plaguing computers when I first started using them are often some of the same problems that cause computers to slow down and not work quite right today.
Of course, there are NEW problems such as spam and more viruses but the basic problems remain. Low hard disk space, too little RAM, fragmented files, dust and other things.

USA Today’s Andrew Kantor gives a great over view of some daily, weekly, monthly and bi-annual things you should do to keep your computer running smoothly.
For your hardware specifically, USA Today writes 1. Don’t turn off your computer if you’ll be back within 12 hours. Keep it running instead. After all, light bulbs blow when you turn them on, don’t they? Instead, go to your Control Panel and choose Display, then Power. Set your machine to turn off its hard disks in an hour or so.
2. When you turn on your computer, power up the monitor and any accessories first, then the PC itself. Off is the reverse. This protects the computer from some power spikes.
3. Dump your surge suppressor or, Gods forbid, power strip. Get an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). A good one will cost about $65, but it’s far, far better than the alternatives. It never wears out (and yes, surge suppressors do and you’ll never know it), and if the power fails it gives you 10 minutes to save your work.
4. Vacuum your machine regularly, especially the back around the fan(s). You want to keep the air flowing freely.
5. Open your PC and use some canned air to clean out the dust. And there will be plenty. Dust means heat, and heat is your enemy.