Computer Maintenance Day - Once a Week Tonic For Your Machine

Computers are cheaper than they used to be, no doubt, but a good one is still pretty expensive, so it's important to keep them running well for as long as you can. It's quite easy to keep your computer in good running order with freeware programs. The paid programs by and large aren't so much better that you need to put out money for them.

Just as you need to detox your body from time to time, so you need to detox your computer. What do I mean by detox? I mean, scan and defrag.

I always start out by cleaning everything with CCleaner, a nifty little computer cleaning freeware program. It basically takes out all your "crap" files (It used to be called Crap Cleaner as a matter of fact), like cache, cookies, temp files, things like that. Why can't you just do that through the functions your computer has on it? Well, you can, but the thing is, the Windows Disk Cleaner takes out too much sometimes, and then you have problems. If you only delete the cookies and files, as windows wants you to do, you miss the those nasty little secret files IE caches so it can know what you're browsing habits are, called index.dat files.

It takes a very long time to do all these things individually, because you have to open all browsers on your machine (I have Firefox, IE, and Opera) to clean their caches, and use a special technique to delete the hidden files. CCleaner does it all at once, no muss, no fuss, and it only takes about half a minute on a normal day. In fact, I use it several times a day, since I work online and am continually creating garbage. When I don't clean for a day or two, it can take up to five minutes for it to clean all the crap off, so this is best done at least once a day. I like to do mine when I first turn my machine on in the morning.

The next program I run is my virus scan, which takes a couple of hours usually. I've just switched from AVG Free to Avira AntiVir, and today will be my first scan. You should really run a virus scan at least once a week, and more if you visit more dangerous sites, such as porn sites or even the Chinese sites that play videos.

Then it's spyware scan time. I run both AdAware Free and SpyBot Free. I find that they are just different enough to have to be run individually. In my opinion, SpyBot is the better of the two programs, so I run that first, then AdAware to pick up whatever SpyBot misses, but to be honest, it hardly misses anything.

After that, I run A squared or A2 Trojan Remover. Why run a separate trojan remover? Because many anti-virus and spyware programs do not detect trojans well, therefore you need a separate program to be extra safe.

After that I run Panda Anti-rootkit. Rootkits are very specialized programs, and other scanning software won't pick them up, so this is a quick and easy mode of protection.

That will take the better part of the day. After I've made sure my computer is safe, I will run a defrag. I use Auslogics Disk Defrag, which is the fastest and best defrag I've ever used.

Since that will take the better of 8 hours to do, I will probably not run the Windows Update today, simply because I know I have not updated in awhile, so I need to download SP3, and that alone can take two hours.

Time consuming? Yes, but if you make your living with your computer, very much a necessity. Besides which, it keep me off the computer for the day, except to check back in occasionally and see if there are any error messages that have stopped the scans that I need t0 deal with. Oh yes, did I tell you that you need to be around to do all of this? Wouldn't it be nice if it could be done while you're asleep? I tried that, and I got up in the morning to find that virus scan had stopped about 1/3 of the way through, so I had to do it all over anyway.


  1. hi frugal
    another good post from you
    gave me an incite as what i should do with my computer and what precisely i have not been doing,
    gr8 to read your posts


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