How To Maintain Your Laptop Performance
The maintenance tasks of a PC bring many advantages and should be done on a regular basis, but surely engaged in the battle of ‘day today we have not been able to dedicate time to it. Now is a good time, once the summer holidays come to an end and surely you are preparing the ‘back to school’ by resuming the routine of work or study.
Maintaining a PC
Our main computing tool needs a series of care to increase its useful life, ranging from updating the hardware when necessary to physical cleaning. Another type of “cleaning” is dedicated to the software section and it is convenient to spend time with it from time to time because it brings great benefits in terms of efficiency, performance, security, and use.
We remind you of the ones that we consider the main ones focused on Windows systems, although many of them, in general, are the same for Linux and Mac.
1.- Make backup copies of data
Backup tasks are one of the preferred actions in the maintenance of a PC and should be done (or better automated) by any professional or consumer to safeguard their data. Computer equipment can fail at any time, due to a hardware problem in any of its components such as the storage unit or memories, in the system software and applications, or due to a virus that deletes files or prevents access to the equipment such as Ransomware.
The loss of our professional or personal files can have a great cost and sometimes without possible recovery, hence its importance. We recommend starting the technical stop here before you have to regret it. The system, applications, and the hardware itself can be recovered, but data cannot.
2.- Update the operating system
The operating system is the software base of our equipment and we must make sure that it is updated to the most recent stable compilation or at least that it has the latest published security patches installed. If we use older versions, we run a higher risk of being attacked through unpatched vulnerabilities.
All operating systems can be updated automatically or manually. Microsoft systems use Windows Update as an internal tool and the Microsoft Update Catalog for manual installation of specific security updates or roll-ups.
3.- Check and increase security
Other tasks included in maintaining a PC involve searching for malware and disinfection where appropriate. Start by scanning the computer with the security application you have installed, including external hard drives or pen drives that you also use regularly because they are often a route of infection.
For persistent malware, hidden in the system, nothing better than using “Live CD / USB” solutions, created on removable drives and capable of booting without interfering with the installed operating system. They are what we know as “rescue antivirus” and they work on any computer.
These external media are excellent, as they do not penalize performance and allow you to get ahead of a load of viruses or Trojans in memory, making them difficult to eliminate. All providers offer free solutions of this type and we expressly recommend them, in addition to having a security solution loaded in the system.
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4.- Update applications and drivers
As important as the update of the operating system is the update of the applications. The new versions of the applications that we have installed will offer more performance and stability in most cases. Furthermore, malware has a preferred infection method by exploiting software vulnerabilities. We must pay special attention to that group of critical applications that we use daily and that are the most attacked, such as web browsers and their extensions and plug-ins, office applications, or others such as Java or Adobe Flash that have been attacked during two decades and still running on the Internet.
The same can be said for driver updates. In addition to the security section, we will gain stability, compatibility, and also performance, especially with the graphics card drivers that are updated almost for each great new game that is published.
5.- Change your passwords
By completing the security section, you can take the opportunity to renew the access passwords to your equipment and services, an important matter that should be done regularly and that we do not do. We continue to violate all the basic rules for their creation and maintenance and all reports reveal that the most used passwords are old ones and a bargain for cybercriminals.
In recent years, the industry has proposed biometric systems and functions such as double factor that we must activate in all compatible services. But until they are fully extended, passwords will continue to be the most used method and for their creation, we have to look for long and complex keys and combine non-alphanumeric, uppercase, and lowercase characters. In addition, it is recommended Another recommended option is to use password managers that do the work on their own, protect our identity and avoid having to create and remember multiple passwords.
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6.- Eliminate programs that you do not use
You probably have a good number of applications that you no longer use. And if you use Windows, and you did not do the cleaning in its day, a good amount of garbage applications from the Bloatware with which Microsoft and the manufacturers punish us. All of them together penalize performance, stability, user experience, and even security.
Before ‘back to school’ it is a good time to eliminate these programs that are occupying memory and storage and surely slowing down their operation. All operating systems include a program uninstall feature. In Windows 10 or 11 from the control panel or the general Configuration tool.
7. Reduce startup load
Windows operating systems have a system configuration function called “MSConfig”, which, in addition to advanced services, allows us to select the applications that load when the computer starts up, reducing its load and improving its performance. You can access it with the name of the command, “MSConfig”, from the run function. In Windows 10 and 11, you can use the “task manager” to manage startup items.
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8.- Activate the system restore
Windows has a system recovery tool that can “save our lives” in the event of a software error, the entry of viruses on our computer or the simple installation of drivers, or an application that does not work correctly and that sometimes destabilizes the operating system.
This utility saves the files and main configuration of the operating system, settings, drivers, registry keys, or installed programs, and in case of errors, it allows to revert the changes made and return to a previous state where the system worked correctly. The operation and management of this feature are basically the same in all Windows systems (7, 8.1, and 10) and it is very useful for any user when the system does not work well or does it erratically.
9.- In Windows 10 and Windows 11 watch the privacy
The privacy of Windows 10 continues to be one of the most controversial issues of this operating system, although Microsoft has been improving the transparency and control in the successive updates from a terrifying initial configuration and that aroused a barrage of criticism for the massive collection of data. Windows 11, in this field, points in the same way.
Windows 10 privacy options have improved substantially since the first versions and start from the very installation. If you did not do it at the time, you should give this guide a good look. And if you are looking for greater control than that offered by internal tools, you can use third-party applications such as Privatezilla (free and open-source) that, in addition to managing the typical privacy components, also offer options against Bloatware.
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10.- Clean the registry (carefully)
Advanced users can perform tasks that go beyond regular maintenance, but – knowing what you are doing – can offer us advantages. The registry is a database where Windows stores software, hardware, settings, and user information, and completely controls a PC’s operation, appearance, component behavior, or access to functions. The Windows 10 registry increases in size simply by using the operating system, installing/uninstalling applications, or whatever hardware components we add or replace.
It is not unusual for all of this to slow down the use of the computer or to leave traces of faulty or corrupted entries, and inconsistencies that harm the user experience and cause everything from small errors to serious failures. The industry offers free applications to “clean” this registry. You have to be very careful with them, but they can be effective in the right hands, after backing up in case something goes wrong.
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Do not leave it for later. These maintenance tasks to tune up your PC are a great investment to avoid headaches and loss of time or money in the future, with direct benefits in performance, stability, and security.