Regular preventative maintenance on your Windows PC is just as important as properly maintaining your car. Newer versions of Windows utilize the New Technology File System, which is notorious for file fragmentation. Keeping your Windows PC’s registry clean is one of the maintenance issues that most computer users neglect. And if you think your PC is 100% safe because you’ve got an antivirus product and you’re behind a router, you’re wrong.
Defragmenting Your Drive Speeds Up File Access
The faster and easier your operating system and programs are able to access files and folders on your hard drive, the faster your computer will run. The NTFS file system is notorious for fragmenting files and folders badly. Regular defragging of your hard drive will keep your system noticeably faster. One of the best defragmenting programs is Diskeeper, but it’s expensive. A lower cost alternative is Vopt 9.
Both of these programs have intuitive interfaces that make them easy to use. Launch the program, analyze the drive, and if the file fragmentation is over a few percent, the program will recommend defragmenting it.
Optimize System Performance by Scanning and Cleaning Your Registry
Normal daily use of your computer can cause registry errors. Installing and improperly uninstalling programs can break file associations. Uninstaller programs don’t always completely uninstall the programs they come with. Scanning and cleaning your registry on a regular basis is like changing the oil in your car, it removes registry entries that can cause your system to crash, take longer to load, or cause programs you use to not work properly.
Two of the best programs available for cleaning your computer’s registry are CCleaner and Registry Mechanic. CCleaner is free, and as such, has a few features that Registry Mechanic doesn’t have, such as a registry optimizer and compacter. No matter which registry cleaning tool you choose, it’s important to make sure that you create a restore point prior to performing any cleaning actions. Errors are very rare, but they do happen, and with a restore point, if something does go wrong, recovery is quite easy.
Not All Malware is Caught and Removed by Antivirus Software
Antivirus software makers have gotten pretty good at heuristically detecting viruses and malware. But the writers of malware and viruses have kept pace with them. The best antivirus product on the market can detect and clean approximately ninety-eight percent of known viruses on your computer. The keyword there is ‘known”. There are close to one million known viruses, worms, and malware “in the wild”. This means that even the best antivirus software on the market misses approximately twenty thousand known viruses. One type of malware/virus that most virus scanners miss is known as a rootkit.
In order to catch and remove a rootkit on your computer, you need a piece of software that works underneath your operating system, instead of on top of the operating system. This special piece of software is the Microsoft malicious Software Removal Tool. Go to the Microsoft website, download the tool, and run it, following the prompts onscreen. Since new malware is introduced almost daily, Microsoft makes changes to the tool at least every week, so you need to make sure you download a new copy before using it.