Computer Maintenance Overview

How to avoid problems and tackle computer repairs yourself

General principles

In the course of time, the performance level of your computer is likely to go down for a number of reasons. In some cases problems may arise that disable parts or all of the functions of the computer. Our goal is to minimize problems and to provide an approach to dealing with problems with minimal hassle and cost.

  1. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Most problems can be avoided if some prevention is done. Even if there is an issue, the earlier it is discovered the less damage there will be. Regular computer maintenance will avoid a world of problems.
  2. Following some helpful guidelines listed below will simplify problem solving to a great degree.
  3. Finding the cause of the problem is the first step to the solution. There are many aids to troubleshooting available.
  4. You can fix many problems but some require more care or expertise.

Computer maintenance tips

  • Prevent viruses and other malicious software from doing damage to your system by implementing effective computer internet security
  • Maintain your computer speed by taking steps to correct things that will slow you down. See how to boost computer speed.
  • Be careful what you download to your computer. Don’t download risky or questionable software. Even when you get an installation CD from some hardware or software vendor, be selective about whatever extras they offer for downloading.
  • Be sure that software that you install is the right software for your operating system. This is especially true for Vista since many companies haven’t caught up yet and may not have the proper software for Vista.
  • Maintain the physical state of your system. Heat is the worst enemy of your hardware. Don’t allow your computer fans to be blocked. Be careful with liquids or food around the computer. The computer hates water.
  • Backup your computer so that you can recover any data lost through error or hardware failure.
  • Keep track of your installation software CDs and keys and any manuals provided.

General guidelines

  • Software or data changes cause most problems by far
  • Hardware with moving parts will fail more often than pure electronic components
  • New problems are generally caused by the latest change to the system. If you just installed a new piece of hardware or software, that is likely the cause of the problem.

Computer troubleshooting

There are many tools and aids that guide you in your troubleshooting. These items are covered in detail in an article coming soon.

1. Your operating system provides help from the start menu. It provides step by step guidance on a great number of problems.

2. There are a number of websites that offer to help troubleshooting for free. I provide this service via my contact form.

3. You can contact your computer and/or hardware manufacturer in most cases. Many have 24/7 toll free service and they can help you evaluate your problems.

4. You can search for solutions to your problems on the web.

5. There are websites that have experts to help you if you have a subscription. Experts Exchange is an excellent source.

6. There are online services that will analyze your computer for a fee. They may also be able to solve your problem directly on your computer.

7. If all else fails, you will need to bring it to a computer repair outlet.

Fixing problems

Once you know the cause of your problem, in many cases you can fix computer problems yourself.

The troubleshooting that you have done may have suggested a solution that you feel confident to try.

In general, you should be very careful about repairs that require changing the registry.  If you need to deal with a registry problem or fix a corrupt registry, use reliable programs such as TuneUp utilities or RegSupreme Pro. If you need to install a new driver, back up first and do it if the instructions are clear and don’t raise any concerns.

Replacing or adding memory or changing hardware can be done with some care by those with a knack for do it yourself.

Changing the motherboard (the main board on which all the computer’s main components and hardware control resides) is something best left to experts.

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