The end of the year is upon us once again. Although many of these tasks should be performed multiple times throughout the year, it’s better that they be done once than not at all. On that note, I present to you a list of items that you should make sure you accomplish as 2012 comes to a close.
Back up your computer. Make sure you perform a complete backup and, if possible, store this backup in a separate location from your computer. If you haven’t already done so, make a plan to backup on a regular basis throughout the year.
Clear out the clutter. We all have files on our computers that we haven’t used for years. Take this opportunity to delete these files. If you haven’t used a file in the last 6 months, you probably don’t need it. Besides … it’s on that backup you just created.
Defrag your hard drive. Now that you’ve cleared out the clutter, you need to give your computer an opportunity to reorganize the files that remain so they can be accessed faster. If you have more than one drive, they have to be defragged separately.
Blow out the dust. Over time, your computer (like your furniture) gets attacked by dust. Take a few minutes to blow the dust out using a can of air, which can be purchased from any computer store. Make sure you also blow out the keyboard and mouse. If you have a desktop, remove the cover and carefully vacuum out any dust bunnies.
Scan your computer using eset. No matter what antivirus program you have, it doesn’t hurt to do a scan once a year using something else. An online scanner is available at www.eset.com.
Update your antivirus program. While you should be performing this activity throughout the year, once a year is better than never at all. Normally these updates are free, and they contain definitions for newly discovered threats.
Scan your computer using Adaware. Adaware is available at www.lavasoft.com. This program detects and removes malicious software commonly referred to as malware. Even though you are running antivirus software, it’s a good idea to also scan your computer for malware, a separate threat.
Scan your computer using Spybot. Spybot can be downloaded from http://www.safer-networking.org/. Like adware, it detects and removed malware. I normally run both of these programs because what one doesn’t catch the other one will.
Install Windows updates. Periodically, Microsoft will put out updates designed to patch security holes or improve the performance of your computer. It’s a good idea to install these as they come out but, as I said before, once a year is better than never at all.
Make sure UAC is turned off. Sometimes installing updates will cause UAC (User Account Control) to turn itself back on. Chartnet requires that this feature either be turned off (Vista) or set to never notify (Windows 7).
Well, that’s the list. These items are not all you should do, but it’s a basic list of items that will help keep your computer safe and running smoothly. Happy New Year!
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