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Computer maintenance made easy

Do you change your car's oil regularly? Rotate the tires? Well your computer needs a little regular maintenance too. Here are a couple things you can do to keep it running smoothly.

Install an anti-virus utility and make sure each of the following is working:
- Automatic virus definitions updates
- Real-time protection
- Full scans each night
If you do not have an anti-virus utility or if your subscription has expired, you can find a good free one at It's called "AVG AntiVirus". Just go to the web site and click on the "Free Utilities" link.

Scan your hard drive for errors monthly. Click on "My Computer", then right-click on the "C:" drive and click "properties". Now click on the "Tools" tab and click the "Check Now" button. This utility looks for errors on your hard drive and attempts to correct them. If you are running Windows XP or Windows 2000, you may see a message indicating that it will have to do the scan on the next boot up. If you see this, just click yes and then reboot.

Defragment your hard drive each week. When files are written to your hard drive, they are often split into many pieces at different locations on the drive. The Disk Defragmenter will reassemble your files onto contiguous sectors, effectively putting each file back into one piece. This makes it easier and faster for your computer to find and read your files. To run this utility, click on "My Computer", then right-click on the "C:" drive and click "properties". Now click on the "Tools" tab and click the "Defragment Now..." button.

On Windows 98 and ME, these tasks can be automated using the "Maintenance Wizard". Unfortunately, Windows XP does not have this wizard.

A little maintenance can keep your PC running smoothly, so don't forget to change your oil and defragment and scan your hard drive.

Posted by Charles Swihart on 3/1/2004

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