Weekly Computer Maintenance


1. Update your Virus Definitions -  depends on the antivirus program you use.


Norton Antivirus has a "Live Update" button built into it; click on the button, and Norton automatically downloads and installs the latest virus definitions from Net. McAfee VirusScan has a similar update function (go to File > Update VirusScan).


If you are unsure of how to update your virus definitions, visit the Web site of your antivirus software manufacturer and look for their "download," "update," or "technical support" section. And if you are on AOL, you can find the latest definitions for most antivirus programs at keyword: virus.


2. Run Windows Update/Software Update


Update to download all of the security patches Microsoft has released since your PC was made:


1.      Connect (or logon) to the Internet.

2.      Open Internet Explorer and go to Tools > Windows Update.

3.      On the "Welcome to Windows Update" page, click on the "Express" button.

4.      Microsoft will scan your computer looking for any updates your computer may be missing.

5.      The first time your run Windows Update, Microsoft may ask you to "validate" that you have a legal, licensed version of Window. Just click on the "Continue" button. You may be taken back to the "Welcome to Windows Update" screen after you go through the validation process. Just click on the "Express" button to continue.

6.      Eventually, you'll see an "Express Results" screen showing you all of the high priority updates you need to install. Just click on the "Install Updates" button.

7.      Microsoft will download and install the updates. When it is done updating Windows, Microsoft will display a screen telling you that "You have successfully updated your computer." Click on the "Close" button to continue. A lot of critical updates require you to restart your computer once they have been installed. Go back to Step 2 and keeping running Windows Update over and over until you finally see the "No high-priority updates for your computer are available" message. YOU ARE NOT DONE UNTIL YOU SEE THAT MESSAGE.


3. Run ScanDisk -  a built-in tool that scans and repairs errors on your hard drive.

In Windows 95/98/ME - go to Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > ScanDisk.

Windows XP uses "CheckDisk." To run CheckDisk, go to Start > Run and type chkdsk


4. Run Defrag

A disk defragmenter is a utility that rearranges your fragmented files and the free space on your computer so that files are stored in contiguous units and free space is consolidated in one contiguous block. This also improves access time to files that are now contiguous.


To run Window's built-in Disk Defragmenter program

Go to Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter


5. Backup Your Data - Microsoft  has a "Backup Basics" article at: