For PCs, a Little Maintenance Goes a Long Way

October 1997
by Reid Goldsborough

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For years personal computer users, consultants, and manufacturers have
debated the best maintenance steps to take in protecting a PC and
prolonging its life. I don’t claim final authority, but here’s what
has emerged as the most commonly recommended procedures.Powering Up You PC

Turn on your PC when you begin computing on any given day and don’t
power it off until you finish for the day, unless you need to keep
your PC on all the time.

Some people turn their PC on and off throughout the day. Big mistake.
This causes a computer’s innards to frequently expand and contract,
creating stress that can lead to premature component failure.Protecting Your Precious Hard Drive

Defrag your hard disk periodically. The operating systems of typical PCs
and Macs scatter file fragments over the hard disk. Programs such as
Norton Utilities combine these fragments, which reduces hard drive
wear and tear and increases system performance.

Some programs signal you to defrag when your hard disk reaches a
specified level of fragmentation, such as 90 percent. Alternately, you
can defrag weekly, monthly, or semiannually, depending on how often
you use your PC.

Don’t use a program that defrags your hard disk continually — it will
create more wear and tear than it prevents.

Periodically scan your hard disk for file system errors and fading
magnetism with a program such as Nuts & Bolts. Do this once a week if
it’s critical that your hard disk be reliable, or once every month…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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