Have you ever wondered why your old computer seemed to slow down and crash more frequently after about two years? Before I got into the technology field, I used to speculate that the computers were designed that way by the manufacturers so that they would crash and need work or replaced just after the warranty expired. I felt that these major corporations were doing to us the same thing that many people believe the automotive industry is doing; manufacturing a computer that was designed to control the buy cycle of the American public, guaranteeing future sales.
I’m a little older and a little wiser now, and I realize that this isn’t nearly the case. Computers aren’t immune to wear and overuse, and can be worked to death at a relatively speedy rate. Thankfully, just like a car, this early death can be avoided with a little bit of routine maintenance.
Your computer is a machine, despite the fact that we like to think of them as something else. With use comes wear and buildup, just like your car. Parts can fail, and your hard drive can become cluttered with all sorts of file bits and pieces that can really gunk it up quickly. And, just like a car, these problems can be prevented with early identification and standard maintenance.
Thankfully much of the standard maintenance that needs done is built into your operating system. Your computer (if you are on Windows Vista or newer) will automatically defragment itself for you, which is something that used to take hours on Windows XP and had to be done manually. Running Disk Cleanup (just type it into your Start Menu search box) will get rid of a number of the excess files and trash that your system doesn’t need. You can also get a great antivirus program for free called Microsoft Security Essentials (download it through your Windows Update). And your system updates can be automated so you don’t have to worry about them.
It’s also worth while to have a technician visit routinely to scan your system for potential hardware failures and for some of the more advanced maintenance (you can drop us a line for our programs). When it comes down to it, standard maintenance is the best way to keep your system alive, and a professional can help you set up the best options for your situation.
Share some of your stories of computer crashes and data loss in the comments, or feel free to ask us questions you may have about your system.