Sunday, January 11, 2009

COMPUTERS: The Weekly Cleaning

A quickie. Toronto plays Boston at the bottom of the hour and I still have hours of programming after the basketball break. Sooooo, here's what I do weekly to keep my computer operating as nicely as possible. Here's my folder of maintenance programs to run once a week (Saturday's usually, but it was Fridays).

At any rate, I run Crap Cleaner first. I analyze and then perform the clean to get rid of all Temporary files. Microsoft lies a lot, but most often about temp files. They stay around, eating up space and sometimes eating up programs because of the detritus left behind. My only trick is uncheck Autocomplete Form History under Windows Explorer and NOTHING under Advanced. Leave the Start Menu Shortcuts and Desktop Shortcuts unchecked, which I believe they are by default under System. Going to the Applications tab at the top, uncheck Cookies and Saved Form Information under Firefox/Mozilla. After running the Cleaner app in Crap Cleaner, I then run the registry cleaner. You will have to Scan for issues and follow the instructions two or three times. Four times is rare AND I've seen it go to six once. I don't save the registry for undoing before hand. You can if the paranoia strikes you. But generally I trust Crap Cleaner to not torch my computer. Besides, I have backups (G).

I then run Spyware Blaster and update it. Then I close it. Really simple, that one.

ShellExView is something relatively new. It lets me see what added itself to my operating system since I last ran it. The FULL display it will show you can be wide. REAAALLLLY WIDE. In fact, I've got it stretching across two 1600x1200 wide monitors! Thank goodness for row highlighting. At any rate, more for geeks than non-geeks. But it can't hurt to look (but not touch anything), if you are less tech inclined.

After that, comes runs for Spybot and Avast Anti-Virus. Rarely, if I'm feeling something's hinky and I can't get anything out of Spybot or Anti-Virus, I run Microsoft's Windows Defender. And if THAT still leaves my hairs at attention, I'll run Rootkit Revealer to see if something's gotten in and dug in deep.

I almost run Double Driver after any instance where I have changed any hardware or updated the drivers on my system. That gives me protection by copying the drivers for the hardware to another computer in another room, in case this computer 'blows up.' And MozBackup normally gets run about once a month, or whenever I want to copy data from my main machines to one of the others, to let them have current settings and bookmark lists in Firefox, email settings in Thunderbird and to-do's in Sunbird.

FileHippo's Update Checker and UpdateNotifier from Cleansoft both check my programs on the computer and tell me which have updates awaiting out there on the ether. I run both, because they catch things the other misses. I was surprised, for example, to find out this morning that 7-Zip, SpeedFan and Java Runtime version 6 were not up to date on my system. THAT's why you run these kind of utilities when you juggle three computers. AM-Deadlink gets run about once a month and it goes through my bookmarks and tells me which ones are dead and gone. Keeping my bookmark list under a million entries is a never-ending fight.

Finally, once a fortnight, I WILL run Drive Snapshot to back up my computers, one to another in a sort of chain. This is, of course, in addition to the nightly backups I run with Karen's Replicator.

And lastly, when the machine starts feeling slowly, I run Smart Defrag from IoBit. I SHOULD run it more regularly, but if you are running NTFS, it has a LOT less effectiveness than if you are running Fat32. Still, once a month seems about right.

NOT shown, is the occasional use of a DVD-burner backup, where I take off a Snapshot backup onto DVD's. Frequently to be done while watching a hockey or basketball game.

There you have it, a weekly maintenance routine. You can do it in a one-day slugfest, or run one or two of the items each day during your lunch break. The long ones (Avast, Defrag and to a lesser extent, Spybot and Snapshot), might need longer than a lunch break, depending on your storage space. I've got between 2 and 3 terrabytes of storage all told. It CAN take some time.

Gotta go, Raptors-Celtics in the first of a home-and-home!

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