Remember the days of your fresh windows install when everything happened fast and smoothly? If you are like most people that download tons of files from the polluted cyber space that is the internet, your machines ability to function normally will go downhill fast. A quick example of this, when downloading a piece of software, usually free, there is always a box checked to download a free toolbar that promises to make your internet searches faster and easier. These vary toolbars may sound useful but in fact will slow your PC down. The following tips, posted in the order that they should be deployed, can help keep your windows box running smoothly.
Run Antivirus Software
There are many free antivirus programs out there. Go here for more on that. You should schedule to run it everyday and also to run at a time when you will not be on your PC. I personally use Avira Antivir simply because it has a good detection rate and the scan speeds are fast. One disadvantage of the Avira is its nag screen that will come up occasionally to try to get you to upgrade to the pro version. This can be rectified by opening the overview page and clicking on >administration>scheduler>highlight and right click your scan>select edit job>hit the next button till you get to the >selection of display mode< page and make sure it is set to invisible.
Run Malwarebytes-Anti Malware
Another free program, Malwarebytes is a high performance application that removes the most advanced malware and spyware. It has one of the fastest quick scans of any Malware removal tools. It has a simple user interface, and has some nice features such as the ability to perform full scans on all drives. Run Malwarebytes at least once a week and make sure you update the database before each use.
Run the Disk Clean-up utility. Go to >start>computer>right click Local Disk (C:) or whatever your disk letter is>select properties>Under the General tab click the Disk Clean-up Box. Follow the prompts Should be done once a week.
Next, run CCleaner. This all in one cleaning tool also contains a registry cleaner, which can be used as part of my following tips replacing the following registry cleaning software. Should be done once a week.
Run the Check Disk Utility
Running the Check Disk utility will check the your hard drive for errors. It will scan the drive and automatically repair any issues found. A good read on how to run it can be found here. Should be done once a week.
Clean and Optimize Your Registry
The windows registry is a database that contains settings and options for operating system components and applications. If you install and uninstall a lot of programs, the registry can get cluttered with a lot of unused settings for applications that no longer exist. Cleaning the registry can cause irreversible damage. A full backup of the registry should be done before cleaning. If you are not comfortable with this, you should skip this step. For this step I use Eusing Free Registry Cleaner and Eusing Free Registry Defrag. For the cleaning portion of this step you can also use CCleaner. Make sure that the program you use is doing a backup of the registry before cleaning. You can never have enough backups in case something goes wrong.
Defrag The Hard Drive
Defragmentation occurs with normal use of you PC and a defrag program should be run once a week as part of regular maintenance. Windows 7 now comes with a much better and faster version than previous versions of windows, but I still prefer to use a program called Auslogics Disk Defrag. It has a very easy to use interface and has speedy results. If you drop down the defrag box on the user interface, there will be a Defrag and Optimize setting which I highly recommend.
If you follow these few steps once a week, your machine will maintain the speed and cleanliness of a fresh install.
Let us know what programs work for you.