Windows PC Preventative Maintenance

If you run a small business, the security and upkeep of your computers and network ultimately fall on you, the business owner. Unfortunately, you might not have the IT budget for a full-time systems administrator. There are plenty of IT support companies available to outsource preventative maintenance to (like us here at Packetvision), but many tasks can be automated and/or performed internally if you have the time. Here is a list of some recommended tasks you can take to make sure your computers continue to run their best. Making sure these tasks receive regular attention will also help you avoid downtime and troubleshooting costs.

  • Install operating system updates. If you are running Microsoft Windows, this means installing the Windows updates from Microsoft. You should configure these to download automatically and notify you when they are ready for installation. You should also manually check (weekly or monthly) to make sure that the automatic updates are enabled AND that the latest updates are installed.
  • Run a disk check. This task can be automated. If you automate it, I recommend running the disk check weekly. In addition, I also recommend running a manual, in depth disk check to check for bad sectors at least once a month.
  • Defragment the hard disk. This task can also be automated. If you automate it, I recommend defragmenting the hard disk weekly. Manually check the fragmentation level monthly. I recommend Defraggler from Piriform.
  • Clean the hard disk of unneeded files. This task can be automated. Windows ships with a utility that will clean the hard disk of temporary files. You can use this to automate a weekly cleaning. I also recommend running a manual disk cleaning using Piriform’s CCleaner on a monthly basis.
  • Check your available disk space. If your disk space is running low, you may want to move some files around or uninstall some programs (if they are no longer needed) to free up disk space. If you are using the Offline Files function in Windows, it can also eat up a lot of disk space. If you can’t seem to track down what is eating up disk space, try running WinDirStat on your C: drive. Running your computer without enough available disk space can make it run slower and lead to other problems. Weekly or monthly is fine for this task depending on your business and your computer/network setup.
  • Check for program updates. Run Secunia’s inspector programs (PSI if it is a personal computer) or FileHippo’s updater program to make sure any programs you have installed are running the latest versions. Because out of date programs can contain security vulnerabilities, I recommend setting software to automatically check for software updates weekly (or automatically at startup). Manually check monthly.
  • Check your antivirus software. This involves a few subtasks I recommend be performed monthly:
    • Check to make sure your antivirus software is set to update virus signatures automatically.
    • Check to make sure your antivirus software is scheduled to perform an after-hours scan automatically at least weekly, preferably daily.
    • Run a manual virus signature update.
    • Run a manual full scan.
    • Run an update and full scan with one alternative malware scanner. I recommend Malwarebytes for this. It is the best I have found.
  • Check the programs list. Open up the control panel and go to the Add/Remove Programs and review it monthly. Specifically, you should be looking for programs you no longer need or use, programs that don’t belong or look suspicious, and programs that may need manual updating (perhaps Secunia or FileHippo missed them).
  • Use a spreadsheet to track your computers and which tasks have been completed.
If you would like a custom quote on what it would take for Packetvision to monitor all of this and perform these updates and checks for you, please contact us. As an added bonus, choosing Packetvision for your preventative maintenance also gets you full featured LogMeIn Pro2 access to all of your computers and servers you choose to enroll in the system. We are very flexible and can work around your working hours to make sure systems are not taken offline during your business’ productive times.
If you see anything we missed, let us know! We will add it to the list.

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