PC Software Maintenance Routines

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GoJoAGoGo

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Joined
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First Name
Joe
INTRODUCTION

In conjunction with aarhus2004, I'm starting this thread to assist new TSG members in the area of PC Software Maintenance. Likewise, aarhus2004 is doing the same in the area of PC Hardware and Peripherals Maintenance and has started a thread in the Hardware Forum that can be found here:
http://forums.techguy.org/t377154.html

Over the years I've concluded that a regular PC Software Maintenance Routine is necessary to eliminate issues with your system that eventually could have a fast running system operating at a snails pace. There are a number of cleaning steps I perform on a weekly basis. Some people may choose to perform these on a daily basis depending how often they use their systems.


UPDATING SOFTWARE PROGRAMS

It's very important to keep all you programs updated. Windows Updates appear to have new updates about once per month. If you don't have your Automatic Updates options that is located in the Control Panel set to "Automatically download updates and notify me when they are ready to be installed" ticked, you should be careful to check for updates manually at least once a month. Anti virus programs have updates available at least once a day. If your program doesn't have an automatic update feature, you should check for them each day. Spyware/Adware programs updates are usually available about every 1-2 weeks. You should check for these updates a couple times a week. Before running Spyware/Adware and virus scans, "Always" check for updates.


MALWARE REMOVAL

It's a good idea to perform two scans using different programs.This will insure that if one program misses a malware file the other program will catch it. First I'll run the Spyware/Adware scans. Here are a few very popular and efficient freeware programs:

Spybot Search & Destroy 1.4 -
http://www.safer-networking.org/en/index.html

Ad-aware 1.06 -
http://www.lavasoftusa.com/software/adaware/

Microsoft AntiSpyware (Beta) for Windows 2000/XP/2003 Server -
http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/spyware/software/default.mspx

Second I will run the virus scans, with my anti virus program and then with an online virus scanner. There are some excellent freeware anti virus programs available. Here are two the more popular and efficient freeware programs are:

AVG 7 -
http://free.grisoft.com/doc/2/lng/us/tpl/v5

Avast! 4 -
http://www.avast.com/eng/avast_4_home.html.

Here are 3 excellent online virus scanners:

Trend Micro -
http://housecall.trendmicro.com/

RAV -
http://www.ravantivirus.com/scan/.

Panda ActiveScan -
http://www.pandasoftware.com/products/activescan/com/activescan_principal.htm


INDEX.DAT FILES REMOVAL

Index.Dat Files can clog up disk space if they aren't removed on a regular basis. Index.Dat files include Temporary Internet Files, History Files, Temp Files, Recent Files and Cookies. To learn more about Index.Dat Files refer to this article:
http://www.winguides.com/security/article/12/index-dat

Here are two excellent freeware Index.Dat removal tools:

Delindex 5.0/5.1 -
http://www.burzurq.com/forum/delindex.html

CCleaner -
http://www.ccleaner.com/

You can also remove Index.Dat Files by using the deltree commands after you boot your system into DOS. ScanDisk can also be run from DOS.

For Windows 98/98SE, Restart your system in MS-DOS:
At the C:\>type and press enter after each command:

cd\windows
smartdrv
deltree tempor~1
deltree history
deltree temp
deltree cookies
deltree recent
scandisk

Restart (Ctr-Alt-Del)

For Windows ME, insert the Windows ME bootdisk into your floppy drive and restart your system, then choose the Minimal Boot option.
At the A:\> type and press enter after each command:

C:
cd\windows
smartdrv
deltree tempor~1
deltree history
deltree temp
deltree cookies
deltree recent
scandisk

Remove bootdisk and restart (Ctr-Alt-Del)

Refer to this article for information on removing Index.Dat Files for Windows 2000/XP:
http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/delcache.htm


CLEANING OBSOLETE REGISTRY ENTRIES

Whenever you uninstall a software program, several obsolete registry entries associated with that program will remain in your registry. These entries are safe to remove.
There are couple of good freeware registry removal tools available:

JV16 PowerTools 1.3 -
http://www.oldversion.com/program.php?n=jv16

RegSeeker 1.45 -
http://www.hoverdesk.net/freeware.htm

Both these registry removal tools will identify the "obsolete" entries as "Green". 99% of the time they will be safe to removal, so if you aren't sure about any of the "Green" entries it will be better to leave them alone until you can get some information about the entry. The questionable registry entries the removal tools find will be identified as "Red" entries and all these should be left alone until viewed by someone else with more experience.

CAUTION: Extreme care should taken whenever you remove registry entries. Some people have been know to clean their registry to "Death".


SCANDISK and DISK DEFRAGMENTER

The above cleaning steps should be done before you run the ScanDisk and Disk Defragmenter utilities. First thing you should do before you run these utilities is empty your Recycle Bin. If you choose to run these utilities in Windows you should close all programs except for Explorer and Systray to insure no running programs interferes by writing to your HD. While running ScanDisk in Windows you may receive an error messsage like this:
"ScanDisk has restarted 10 times because Windows or another program has been writing to this drive".

Both these utilities run much faster in the Safe Mode. On most Windows systems to get into the Safe Mode you restart your system then start tapping the F8 key until the Startup Menu appears, select Safe Mode and press enter. If that doesn't work refer to this article for other methods:
http://service1.symantec.com/SUPPORT/tsgeninfo.nsf/docid/2001052409420406

Run ScanDisk first and then finish with Disk Defragmenter. If you are uncomfortable with running these utilities in Safe Mode, there are a couple of freeware programs that will configure with Windows ScanDisk and Disk Defragmenter utilities and will also run these utilities very fast.
These freeware programs can be found here:

ScanDefrag 5.2 -
http://www.blueorbsoft.com/scandefrag/

GEODisk2 -
http://mvps.org/PracticallyNerded/Software.htm


EPILOGUE

In closing, these PC Software Maintenance Routines I believe are just a few things one should do to insure their system is free of unnecessary temp files, malware etc... and that your HD is free of errors. There are many more maintenance procedures one can do that I've not covered. I'll be adding more information along the way and hopefully viewers of this thread will add some of their own ideas and also post some links concerning this subject.
 
Joined
May 21, 2005
Messages
579
Excellent advice G - I also think this should be made into a Stickie.

A few thoughts:

GoJoAGoGo said:
Second I will run the virus scans, with my anti virus program
If this is aimed at beginners, might be worth stressing that you should first download any updates esp virus profiles.

GoJoAGoGo said:
You can also remove Index.Dat Files by using the deltree commands after you boot your system into DOS.
To save doing this manually I have the following in my autoexec.bat:
DELTREE /y c:\windows\history\*.* > NUL
DELTREE /y c:\windows\tempor~1\*.* > NUL
DELTREE /y c:\windows\temp\*.* > NUL

And mebbe I should now add commands for the deltree cookies and deltree recent!

GoJoAGoGo said:
Run ScanDisk first and then finish with Disk Defragmenter. If you are uncomfortable with running these utilities in Safe Mode, there are a couple of freeware programs that will configure with Windows ScanDisk and Disk Defragmenter utilities and will also run these utilities very fast.
For my Win98se PC I recently downloaded the Windows ME version of defrag, on advice from another forum member. Wow...it is MUCH faster than the version that comes with 98se.
 

aarhus2004

Gone but always remembered
Joined
Jan 9, 2004
Messages
1,049
jiml8 said:
In addition to the previous recommendations, I find this utility to be helpful

http://www.igorshpak.net/
Hello jim18,

Just to let you know I have just used the freeware System Security Suite 1.04 you mentioned in your post. I checked all items (one exception 'Run') on the first page and used the 'Clear Selected Items'.

The attached Log.txt indicates that this category of items were NOT deleted:

C:\\WINDOWS\\Temporary Internet Files\\Content.IE5\\index.dat

For your information.
 

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jiml8

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Messages
2,634
Hello jim18,

Just to let you know I have just used the freeware System Security Suite 1.04 you mentioned in your post. I checked all items (one exception 'Run') on the first page and used the 'Clear Selected Items'.

The attached Log.txt indicates that this category of items were NOT deleted:

C:\\WINDOWS\\Temporary Internet Files\\Content.IE5\\index.dat

For your information.
Interesting.

Do you have any idea why? Security settings, or some other utility protecting the directory, perhaps?

I use that utility here on both Win2K and on WinXP Pro and it seems to work OK.
 

aarhus2004

Gone but always remembered
Joined
Jan 9, 2004
Messages
1,049
jim18

Interesting.

Do you have any idea why? Security settings, or some other utility protecting the directory, perhaps?

I use that utility here on both Win2K and on WinXP Pro and it seems to work OK.
Hello jim18,

How do you know it has cleaned everything? I use this tool ('Spider' freeware - link below) routinely to check my deletions by PurgeIE (a software):

http://www.fsm.nl/ward/ 'Spider'

but NOT for deletion. It is faulty. Thought you might like to try it.

Cheers. :)
 

GoJoAGoGo

Thread Starter
Joined
Dec 26, 2002
Messages
42,011
First Name
Joe
Surreal2 thanks for your ideas as I have used some of them to edit my 1st post.

SIR****TMG - HenryVI thanks, Cheeseball81 glad you like it and I added the Panda online scan to my 1st post.

MFDnSC I added Microsoft AntiSpyware to my 1st post.

jiml8, thanks for the link.

polak, thanks for the links, I did have the jotti.org link bookmarked but forgot to include it in my first post. The virustotal.com link I didn't have but that also looks like a very useful scanner.
 
Joined
Oct 12, 2003
Messages
567
Microsoft Antispyware is not compatible with older windows operating systems.

Although not free ($19.95), Counterspy which has virtually identical features to Microsoft antispyware can, unlike Ms Antispyware, be installed on Windows 98 and Millenium. Because of contractual arrangement between Giant Software and Counterspy prior to MS buying Giant, Counterspy is entitled to all MS updates until July, 2007 in addition to its own updates.

http://www.sunbelt-software.com/CounterSpy.cfm
 
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