Like many other machines, computers require special maintenance to properly function. There a few types of computer maintenance, each implemented in different settings. Routine computer maintenance consists of regularly scheduled tasks aimed at minimising unwanted files. Other types of maintenance are designed to test specific functions and ensure that a computer's software is running correctly and is up to date. Physical maintenance, such as keeping dust from collecting in a computer, is also important.
Basic Routine Maintenance
Basic routine maintenance keeps computers running smooth and can usually be scheduled to run on a computer in timed intervals. Basic maintenance involves scanning the computer for malicious software such as spyware and viruses. Defragmentation is also part of routine maintenance software on many operating systems. Defragmentation is the process of deleting unwanted files and organising wanted files in a more efficient way. Basic routine maintenance can be automated in the Windows Control Panel within the Scheduled Tasks software. Also, many antivirus programs allow scheduled scans and clean-ups independently.
Keeping Software Versions Current
An important part of computer maintenance is keeping all software on a computer up to date. Using the newest versions of programs can increase the risk of viruses, as software manufacturers regularly fix security issues as they release future versions of a program. Operating system updates can and should be set to automatically download and install. Windows machines can be set to automatically update through the Windows Update icon in the control panel. Other programs, such as Internet browsers, can be updated by going to the manufacturers' websites regularly and checking for new versions. Most browsers automatically notify users when a new version is available.
Software Security Patches
Sometimes software manufacturers release intermediate patches, or small software updates, in between regular version releases. Patches are usually aimed at fixing security problems and should be installed as soon as possible. Patches essential to operating systems are included in regular updates, and are released anywhere from daily to monthly depending on the operating system. Windows patches are provided for free from Microsoft and can help you avoid vulnerabilities in Internet based applications as well as basic operating system tools.
Physical Computer Maintenance
Keeping a computer physically maintained will increase its lifespan. Computers collect dust in many places --- such as the spaces between keys on the keyboard and in the fan blades inside the tower. Using a can of condensed air to spray dust from a computer's crevasses will fans to maintain a healthy flow of air throughout the system. Removing the side panel of a computer's tower will enable cleaning of its fans and other internal parts. Make sure to unplug a computer before removing its side panel. In addition, removing the panel can void any warranties.