5 Essential Maintenance Tasks for Windows 7

While it’s true that Windows 7 is one of the most stable operating systems that Microsoft has ever produced, there are still a number of essential tasks that you need to perform in order to keep your PC running at its best. Some of these tasks should be performed daily while the others can be done at various intervals. Here are my top five essential Windows 7 maintenance tasks listed from top to bottom according to their importance:

1 – Scanning for Malware

I recommend installing and using a suite of high quality anti-virus and anti-spyware programs. Make sure that the settings are configured for real-time scanning of all downloads, websites and incoming emails. I also recommend having the software check for available updates daily and automatically install them immediately after the downloads are complete. In my opinion, keeping malware off of your computer should always be job 1!

2 – Back up your Hard Drive

Windows 7

There is nothing worse than losing all of your emails, documents, photos and such to a hard drive crash or virus attack, and the best way to protect yourself is to perform regular backups of your hard drive. Online backup solutions such as  Carbonite make the processes of backing up and restoring your data easy and painless, but I recommend keeping a current local backup on an external hard drive as well.

Why both? In a word, convenience! When (not if) you have to reinstall Windows 7 you’ll be able to restore your files faster from the external hard drive than you could by downloading them from the Internet. But you really do need that online safety net just in case your local backup drive becomes damaged or corrupted. You can back up your computer in Windows 7 by typing “backup” without  the quotes into the Windows 7 Search box and then selecting “Backup and Restore”. I recommend performing a full backup once per week and incremental backups once per day.

3 – Keep Your System Updated

In addition to keeping malware off of your Windows 7 system and performing regular backups, it is also vitally important to keep your system’s hardware drivers, installed programs and Windows itself up to date at all times. Once a hacker discovers a way to break into Windows computers via a flaw or “open door”, your system becomes vulnerable to attack immediately. Install all available updates upon their release because waiting a week, a day, or in extreme cases even an hour can cause you all kind of headaches!

You can configure Windows Update to automatically download and install the latest updates as soon as possible by simply typing “Windows Update” into the Windows 7 Search box and clicking on the link provided.

4 – Uninstall All Unused Programs

Programs that you never use are just “dead weight” on your system. They do nothing more than help fill up your hard drive and clog up the Registry, reducing system speed and increasing the possibility of developing an unstable Windows installation at some point down the road. My rule of thumb is if I have never used a program in the past and/or never intend to use it in the future, it simply must go! To uninstall a program simply type “Uninstall a Program” into the Windows search box and click on the link by the same name when it pops up.

5 – Clear the Internet Cache

The normal process of using the Internet causes your computer to download and store numerous temporary files that clog up your system and slow down your web browser. It’s important to clear these files out on a regular basis in order to keep your PC running fast and smooth at all times. The procedure for clearing the Internet cache varies from one browser to the next, but in Internet Explorer simply click on Tools > Internet Options > Delete (under Browsing History).

Conclusion: I truly believe that Windows 7 is hands-down the best operating system that Microsoft has ever produced. Performing these 5 simple tasks on a regular basis will help keep it running at its best for years to come.

Rick Rouse is the owner of RLROUSE Directory and Informational Resources.

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