Keep Your Computer Running Smoothly

Buying a new computer’s always a thrill — but sooner or later, your fast new machine will start to act like a clunker. Or will it ? With a few simple tips, you can keep your computer running smoothly.

  • Clean out your computer registry. Every Windows Operating System uses a registry, or a central database that contains all of the settings for low-level operating system components, as well as any applications running on the platform. Every time you save something, run a new application or install or uninstall a program, new information is organized into your registry. But occasionally, the registry records something incorrectly. Over time, registry errors pile up and can start slowing down your computer.
  • Keep viruses under wraps. Run a virus checker regularly. If you have a high-speed wireless connection, don’t use the Internet without a firewall. No antivirus strategy is perfect, so stay away from suspicious-looking Web sites and don’t click on strange links in e-mails.
  • Get rid of unnecessary files. If you haven’t used a program in months or years, delete it to reclaim valuable memory. But always back-up applications in case you want to reinstall them later, and don’t delete applications that you don’t recognize, as Windows might need them to run. Never remove WINDOWS or HOT FIX applications. Also delete cookies and clear your Internet cache before you sign-off your computer.
  • Never turn off your computer before Windows has shut down. Doing so so could harm the hard drive or result in lost data or Windows files.
  • Back up Your Computer. Hardware problems occur more that you might think, and you don’t want to deal with the frustration of losing valuable data. Back up photos, Excel spreadsheets, Word documents — anything that you do not want to lose — on external hard drives or CDs.