It seems that everyone has a computer or two in their home nowadays. For some people, their computer has become an important part of their life. From keeping up with friends and family, finding new films and music, playing games and movies, a computer can do it all with ease.

It is often not until the computer goes wrong that most people do not realise just how important it has become. One day, you turn on your computer and… nothing happens. Or something which you were not expecting happens and your computer is no longer working as it should. This sort of fault is not common, but can be annoying and will disrupt what you were intending to do.

If you follow our 5 tips to keep your computer running smoothly, you will find that you will not encounter these issues so often.

1. Anti-Virus & Anti-Malware

Difference between a Virus and Malware

The word Malware is a truncation of Malicious Software and is used to describe any software code designed to?make?a computer do things you do not want it to do. These are normally programs you installed but have an extra payload, or undesired extra “features”.

Technically speaking a virus is also Malware. A virus is malicious software that spreads itself by infecting files, similar in operation?to a biological virus. This is usually without user interaction.

Not many people realise that malicious computer programs are categorised differently and you may need different software to keep them at bay. Most free anti-virus programs are great at keeping out viruses, but do not keep such a good check on malware. To be more secure, you should run an anti-virus program which scans you files when they are opened. You should also run a periodical check with a dedicated malware scanner to catch those programs the anti-virus misses.

2. Keep your Operating System Up-to-date

All computers have a master program called an Operating System which enables you to use your computer and software. This could be commercial products such as Microsoft Windows and Apple MacOS, or free ones such as Linux or BSD. As time goes by, these OSes are updated to correct bugs, add new features or fix security issues. You should keep your OS up-to-date by regularly checking for updates and installing security updates at a minimum. Other updates can be installed less frequently, but they can also help keep your computer running smoothly.

3. Remove Unnecessary Start-up Programs

When you install some programs, they can add parts of themselves to the system start-up. This will often be disguised as a “Status Monitor”, or “Quick Access” features, etc. Each of these programs use a small amount of system resources and will slow the system down the more of these programs are running.

You do?not need to know exactly how much ink is left in you printer cartridges, or when you last signed in to your messenger program, for example. Remove these programs from the startup if possible.

4. Defragment Your Hard Drive

Although this is not such an issue these days, disk fragmentation can caused your computer to slow down. Fragmentation occurs when files are written to the disk in any available space on the drive. Sometimes these file fragments are separated across the drive, causing the read-head to flick from location to location, slowing down the rate at which they can be brought back together.

Windows has a handy utility built-in called Disk Defragmenter. Simply click on the Start button (Tiles icon in Windows 8) and type Disk Defragmenter into the search box. Run the program and follow the on-screen instructions. You do not need to run this very often, unless you have removed a lot of files recently.

5. Dust Build-up

Dust build-up is a bane of computers. As computers have gotten faster and more powerful, they generate more and more heat. This heat needs to be dissipated by fans and special parts called heatsinks. These usually consist of metal vanes which rise up from a metal base attached to key components. They may also have a fan attached to pass more air over the vanes, keeping them cool.

If you keep your computer on the carpet, for example, a lot of dust particles can be suck into the case, which are then deposited onto the motherboard. Over time this will build up and act like a thermal blanket, preventing the components from cooling down. Excessive heat will cause these electronic devices to fail, even quite-literally burn out.

Keep your computer clean on the inside by regularly checking it to make sure the dust build-up is not excessive. The best method to clean out the inside of a computer is with dry, compressed air. You can use a vacuum cleaner if you are very, very careful. Some static build-up occurs with a vacuum cleaner and this will caused damage if it is discharged onto the motherboard.

Regular Services are Recommended

If all else fails, don’t forget that your local computer specialist is usually very capable at helping you keep your computer in tip-top condition. Like cars, it is a good idea to have you computer serviced now and then to ensure things are working as intended. EZ Computers Repair Centre offer a very comprehensive system clean-and-check-up service. Contact Us today for a quote.