Topic: Home PC & Laptop Maintenance
Joined Sat 12/17/16
This thread is mainly for users of Home Personal Computers (PC) and or Laptop Computers (LC).
Its coming around on the calendar again for my annual level of back-ups and I was wondering if anyone else has a set system of maintenance they stick to concerning their computers.
Are there any specific programs that you run that work best for your needs?
Are there certain things you back up on a frequent basis and others that are backed up less frequently?
Do you have a dedicated back location? A Folder, Drive or Cloud?
How much time do you dedicate to maintaining your software environment?
Do you do any hardware maintenance as well?
Knowing that there are many IT professionals here, this is intended for the non-pro end user and what they use and how they do the tasks.
(The Backyard-Tree Mechanics not the Car Dealership Technicians)
Are there certain web-surfing practices you use to help prevent spyware or virus/worm/trojan infections on your personal machine?
How often do you run protection / prevention scans?
Clear your browser cache?
Clear RAM, temp files, archives, quarantine lists, etc...
Over-all, how dependable is your PC or LC?
Do you have difficulty with games? programs? videos? music? photos?
My LC is an old Presario with a mere 2 gb RAM 37.5 GB HD running Win XP3. The thing is a dinosaur but still works (slowly) to run the few programs my PC refuses to run. I use it maybe, 1x 3-5 months or so. I still run some scans and maintenace programs but since I hardly ever turn it on, not on a regular basis.
My PC is my main monster.
Its a HP h-8-1214 AMD FX-6100 six-core @ 3.30 GHz
10 GB RAM 64-bit OS
Running Windows 7 HP1
Bought it in May of 2012
AMD Radeon HD 7400 graphics card VISION
With OB sound using Beats Audio.
2 TB hard drive (enclosed) in 4 sub-drives
Additionally, I have over 15TB of space on external drives
With an additional 8 thumb drives of various sizes
I also still have the original recovery disk I made when I first bought the system.
In addition, I have a windows 7 HP1 image burn on a dedicated thumb drive.
I maintain 4 separate backup clouds dedicated to different aspects on different sites.
I also maintain cloud backups of photos, documents and music.
My PC is solid, runs good with very, very few problems.
Its not a top line pc but its not a bottom barrel either.
It does what I want it to do when I want it to.
My primary browser is Firefox (which I keep updated) with very few addons and themes (Same theme for years now)
My secondary browser is Opera which I keep updated and also has very few addons.
I no longer use IE or any of the IE based replacements.
I use windows firewall (Defender is enabled too)
I use MSE
I use SB S&D
I use CCleaner
I use Superantispyware
I use Auslogic's Defragmenter (Not updated due to the addition of ransom tactics)
Windows firewall is always enabled always on
MSE is always enabled but I run full scans 1x week. It is set to scan all incoming downloads as well.
SB S&D is always on but updated and immunized 1x week with a full scan 1x 2 mos.
I run CCleaner nearly every time I close my browser (roughly 5-15 times a day)
I run a CCleaner registry scan 1x 3 days or so, unless I install/uninstall a program then right after.
I update and run a quick SAS scan 1 x wk and a full scan 1x a month.
I defragment roughly every week unless I have a lot of downloads or moved large numbers of files around.
I run a Defrag/Optimize about 1x a week (The program is set for restrictions on the defrag as recomended by Gizmos Freeware review (techsupportalert)
This is my baseline, keep it running, maintenance for the most part.
I never click on ads.
I close popups before they load if they get past the blockers (I use adblocking software)
I refrain from going to known threat sites like porn, most free download sites and known trackers like major news sites, certain streaming video sites and some music sites.
I watch my browser for weird glitches which indicates something isn't right.
I'm careful what I click.
more to come...
Joined Sat 12/17/16
Ran a detailed rootkit scan yesterday.
Used Spybot Search and Destroy.
I expanded the window to allow me to view the search strings.
No rootkits were found but I did see a good many programs and folders that I have not used this year.
Saw a lot of file fragments that were left by incomplete uninstalls.
Today, I am using CCleaner to uninstall programs that I have not used in a year. Since I still have the install files in a backup, if I find I need or want that program again, all I have to do is reinstall it.
After uninstalling, I will use windows explorer to locate and delete those program now empty folders.
I will run a registry back up in regedit.
Then I will go to the appdata and remove the folders for those uninstalled programs.
Then I will do a restart.
Finally, I will run Tweaking.com's Windows Repair as a full and complete procedure.
It will reset windows functionality to baseline.
If any shared drivers were removed during my folder purge, it will reset the drivers using baseline Win 7 ones.
Spybot Search & Destroy - Free
CCleaner - Free
Watch for piggyback software during install, You gotta uncheck ALL the boxes. Both are free, there are trial versions and paid versions.
Select the free version (Limited scope)
If you like it, you can always upgrade later but I have never needed to.
Tweaking. com's Windows Repair - Free
completely free for personal use
Tweaking.com - Windows Repair is a tool designed help fix a large majority of known Windows problems including; registry errors, file permissions, issues with Internet Explorer, Windows Updates, Windows Firewall and more. Malware and poorly installed programs can modify your default settings resulting in your machine working badly - or worse. With Tweaking.com Windows Repair you can restore Windows original settings fixing many of these problems outright.
Malware and poorly installed or uninstalled programs can modify your settings resulting in your machine working poorly, unexpectedly - or worse. Tweaking.com Windows Repair is an advanced tool designed help fix a large majority of these known Windows problems including:
File Permissions Problems
Internet Explorer Problems
Internet Connection Problems
Windows Updates Issues
Windows Firewall Problems and more.
With Tweaking.com Windows Repair you can restore Windows original settings fixing many of these problems outright.
The repairs section has always been completely free for personal use. We offer a Pro version adds additional features and optimizations like:
Enhanced Windows Drive Cleaner,
Windows Quick Link Menu
Run Your Own Custom Scripts After Repairs,
Run Speed Tweaks After Repairs
Performance Enhancements and more.
Joined Sat 07/14/18
Hi , regarding your primary system as you have so much ram memory space I suggest investigate using a ram drive (a system app) of say 1-2 GB and configure as page file , this will speed up some tasks as paging i/o will be via fast ram memory rather than relatively slow non-volatile storage - as usual will not suit all computers and usage but worth experimenting particularly if you upgrade to a SSD as the system storage
Regarding your XP Windows computer , seems you need some work there , mainly apps like Sygate firewall and System Explorer to figure out what is happening , but maybe also hardware so whether is worthwhile depends upon your task resource requirements and enthusiasm and/or dedicated requirements like paranoid mode banking etc
Just a few thoughts while I await the fair maiden in distress...
Joined Sat 12/17/16
Thanx, yes I have my pageing file set on my main PC.
I'm not interested in using solid state drives.
If I do any upgrades it will be to replace the system completely.
I got it in May of 2012 new. I'm due for a new one but this one still works so why spend the money?
The laptop is old and beat up - I'm thinking about getting another, newer one. The battery is completely shot as is the CMOS battery.
It still works but its not able to handle much and its no longer portable which is why I want a laptop in the first place.
Edited by Tom4Uhere on Mon 07/16/18 10:01 AM
Joined Thu 08/02/18
I hope my response is not very late.
I deviated from Windows ever since Windows 8.1 became a standard because I hated the design that makes it look like a desktop running an Android interface than running a Windows desktop. I switched over to Linux - quite a few distributions that I have tried, Kali full and light, Parrot full and home, Tails, and finally, my personal favorite, Debian Stretch Stable. My favorite Windows distribution would probably be Windows 7. It's aesthetically pleasing but the usage is probably a lot better than you can compare it to its successors.
My computer is not a beast but it holds well. I have an
Asus Vivobook Max, 1 TB HDD, 4GB RAM + 4 GB added so we have a total of 8192 MB, Core i3 processor, NVIDIA GEFORCE 9300 MX (which is useless, unfortunately, due to the manufacturer's proprietary rights and Linux's open source support), SonicMaster sound and that's basically about it. Die to Asus's rather complicated motherboard placement, I haven't really went crazy with the upgrades. I mostly just took it all to the operating system since Debian is pretty great - it serves as a kernel for most Linux distributions and is pretty secure. Highly customizable and configurable.
I did enjoy Windows 7 a lot but I think if security is important to you, you need a few tools. Windows has serious security issues especially on that version you are using. Windows 10 is far more secure given that it is a rolling release operating system - it requires constant updates for security patches and so forth, rather than Windows 7 where it is just stable and updates are only received from time to time. I highly suggest using Comodo Firewall, Avira and Avast for viruses, worms and overall defense. Windows is simply not enough and a lot of other freeware there are considerably subpar. AVG is also pretty good but the Free version of it has a lot of limitations. Comodo is the most reliable firewall I have ever tried. Avast is great for detecting trojans and other viruses where Avast detects worms and malware pretty well. Recuva is a good tool for data recovery in case of accidental corruption or wipe-out. I wouldn't want to change registry values or entries unless its absolutely necessary because mistakes can actually be detrimental.
Eventually if you are looking to upgrade your system I would definitely recommend using a Toshiba or an Asus. Toshiba has pretty great driver support. Asus works well with Windows. Not much problems from both brands in my opinion. I think the motherboard for those are pretty solid and can last for most likely up 10 years, tops. Gaming laptops are quite different and they are pretty pricey. MSI and Alienware are some of the brands I can think about when it comes to gaming PCs.
An i7 Core would be good if you want Intel but if you are going to use an AMD, I think that is pretty good too although I think AMD is a bit more problematic than Intel. I forgot the reason why but I frankly have never used an AMD-powered system myself. I think most gaming platforms use AMD because of its sturdiness and performance. i7 and i8 ( think are the latest Intel processors.
If you want to make a switch to Windows 7 to 10, a RAM of more than 8 GB would be optimal. Minimum requirement to run a Win 10 is 4 GB and that is sluggish and tends to freeze a lot so you would want to double that up.
You might want to consider an SSD at some point if you are dealing with a lot of data but I personally prefer HDDs because they are sturdier than SSDs. I think an HDD + a Cloud storage is best for data storage.
Anyway, that's my two cents in it. :)
Joined Sat 12/17/16
Great addition, thanx.
When I do finally get another lappy it will likely be a win10 system.
I'm not really tech savy but I can keep my systems running as long as the hardware holds out.
Joined Thu 08/02/18
Yeah sure, no problem. I will do my best if you have any questions and try to help you out as much as I can.
Joined Thu 10/15/15
If you not rely on a windows OS, like staciejaxx said, you can give Linux definately a try.
Linux, same as with Mac OS (because both were developed from UNIX) are not threatened by windows viruses and trojans.
But Linux is for free, while Mac OS is quite expensive.
On Linux you get all standard software like
libre-office writer(word), calc(excel), impress(powerpoint)
vlc media player
GIMP image manipulation
Gajim xmpp chat client with OMEMO
and thousands others.
There is kind a appstore included with most Linux distributions
Debian is great and very stable. https://www.debian.org/distrib/
Ubuntu uses the debian repositories, but you will get new program versions sooner as with Debian stable (but there is also Debian unstable with new codes)
There are variants of Ubuntu with a different style, but more important: also different systems requirements.
Lowest is Lubuntu, wich is also very similar to windows 7. This will run on your old laptop.
You have a taskbar on the bottom, program-starter at the left down corner, and even the windows-keyboard-shortcuts will work like
win + d minimize all windows
win + e open file explorer
and so on: http://www.comfsm.fm/~dleeling/tech/lubuntu-lxde-openbox-desktop-keyboard-shortcuts.html
For your old Laptop you should try Lubuntu, thats Ubuntu with a lightweight Desktop (LXDE)
I am using Lubuntu for years now. It's on this 8 years old computer I am using right now. I do all my internet and office work with it and never had problems.
After startup, the taskmanager showes typically a system usage of 1%, RAM is used 250MB of 4GB.
You can download the iso for free (like all Linux systems) at https://lubuntu.net/
Then install it with unetbootin https://unetbootin.github.io/
on a flashdrive and start it on your laptop or almost any other PC-hardware.
You can also install and try multiple Linux-iso's on one flashdrive, using the windows-program Multiboot: https://www.pendrivelinux.com/yumi-multiboot-usb-creator/
Important: not all hardware is supported by the different Linux-distributions.
You can simply check your old laptop by starting one of the Linux-iso's. Just try it, you cant break anything.
Or check at google (searchterm: your laptopmodel + linux / ubuntu)
If you want to buy a newer laptop, I would recommend a windows 7, up to 5 years old, and the make a dual-boot with Lubuntu. Thats what I am doing for years now. You still have windows if you need it, but for daily work there is Lubuntu.
Edited by moonshine5555 on Tue 08/07/18 02:23 AM
Joined Sat 12/17/16
I have a lot of open source programs on my pc right now.
I'm not having any problems with my pc and my lappy is just old.
Its not a priority.
If I get another it will be a out of box win10.
For anyone having problems or just starting out Linux is a better operating system mainly because its open source.
Lately, all I really do with my pc is internet, movies and music.
I've been using windoes since 3.1 and winme was by far the worst os version but mine ran pretty good considering. I never had a system with win 8 or win8.1 on it. From what I've seen win10 isn't too bad. I'm just not into the whole apps thing.
Joined Wed 06/12/13
I use www.virustotal.com to scan any url’s or files for malware.
Avast free edition for anti-virus. Malwarebytes free for virus removal.
As for backups, run a “ full “ Windows backup Monday, then a differential backup Tuesday, ( only new files, and modified files since the full backup are backed up. Wednesday run an incremental backup, then I’d just run incremental’s the rest of the week until Monday rolls around, then start over with a full backup, and get rid of the previous full backup. To restore, you need the full backup, plus the last incremental backup at the very minimum.
Joined Wed 08/18/10
Honestly, Tom will never see any great performance boost on the XP computer. The hard drive is too slow for new programs and networking. It's the limiting factor because of the page file. Plus the motherboard architecture won't allow upgrading to faster drives. So unless the laptop can handle more RAM, he's stuck.
Upgrading the OS will only eat up the entire hard drive unless he goes to a Linux based OS.
Personally, I use Avira free anti-virus. But on my old XP laptop, I used Avast because it's light enough to see a performance boost while using the internet.
As far as Windows, Win 7 is probably the best, but now it's old enough that Microsoft will probably end support in the near future. Win 10 is better than any version of Win 8. I have Win 8 on this laptop, but I'm not a fan of it after having used the other versions.