- Dec 26, 2002
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:
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.
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 -
Ad-aware 1.06 -
Microsoft AntiSpyware (Beta) for Windows 2000/XP/2003 Server -
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 -
Avast! 4 -
Here are 3 excellent online virus scanners:
Trend Micro -
Panda ActiveScan -
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:
Here are two excellent freeware Index.Dat removal tools:
Delindex 5.0/5.1 -
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:
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:
Remove bootdisk and restart (Ctr-Alt-Del)
Refer to this article for information on removing Index.Dat Files for Windows 2000/XP:
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 -
RegSeeker 1.45 -
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:
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 -
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.