How-To Geek

The 35 Best Tips and Tricks for Maintaining Your Windows PC


When working (or playing) on your computer, you probably don’t think much about how you are going to clean up your files, backup your data, keep your system virus free, etc. However, these are tasks that need attention.

We’ve published useful article about different aspects of maintaining your computer. Below is a list our most useful articles about maintaining your computer, operating system, software, and data.

Organize and Manage Your Data

Before considering how you will regularly backup your data, it’s a good idea to organize your files and folders first so they are easier to backup. The following articles show you ways to organize your files, removing duplicate and old files, and securely delete files no longer needed.


Clean Up and Optimize Your System

Once you have organized your files and folders, it’s time to perform some basic cleanup tasks to optimize your system. The articles below discuss using CCleaner to cleanup temp files, cookies, and internet history, manage startup programs, and even how to whitelist important cookies. We also show you how to schedule disk cleanup and disk defragmentation in Windows, use Check Disk, clean up old downloads automatically, and the best tips for speeding up your PC. These tips could help improve the performance of your PC, as well.


Disinfect Your System

Before backing up your data (discussed later in this article), you should make sure your files are virus-free. We’ve covered various ways of disinfecting your PC, such as tools to clean your infected PC, how to scan files for viruses before using downloading and using them, and a simple trick to defeat fake anti-virus malware.


Analyze and Reduce Your Disk Usage

If, in the process of organizing your many files, you’ve discovered that you’re running low on disk space, there are easy ways to determine what is taking up the most space on your hard drive. The following articles show you 10 free tools for analyzing your hard drive space in Windows and some simple tips on reducing disk usage in Windows.


Tweak Windows to Improve Performance

Another way to improve your PC’s performance is to tweak Windows. The following articles show you how to disable startup programs and built-in Windows features you don’t use and make system restore use less hard drive space. We also list the 20 best registry hacks to improve Windows and even how to delete user accounts in Windows 7 so your system isn’t cluttered with user accounts you don’t use.


Keep Windows and Software Up-to-Date

Part of computer maintenance includes keeping Windows and your software programs up-to-date. The following articles show you how to force Windows to find update for more than just itself, such as for Microsoft Office and an easy method of checking for updates to your software programs. We also explain when you need to update your drivers and how to do so safely.


Back Up Your Data, Software Keys, and Drivers

Now that you’ve organized your files and folders and cleaned up, optimized your system, you need to consider your backup plan. Normally, when we think of backups, we think of backing up our data files. However, to make it easier to set up your system again, should the need arise, you should backup your software keys and drivers. This makes the process of re-installing software in a fresh install of Windows quicker and easier. The articles below show you how to recover keys for Windows and software programs and how to backup and restore hardware drivers. We also have collected the best articles we have published about backing up and syncing your data into one article.


Besides maintaining your Windows system and your data, we recommend cleaning the inside of your computer on a regular basis to prevent overheating and dust build up.

Lori Kaufman is a writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.

  • Published 06/2/12

Comments (6)

  1. trinity343

    so why is never connect to the internet not on here?

  2. BinaryTaco

    I’ve always found that an annual reinstall on an “OS ONLY!” partition is one of the best ways of maintaining a WinBox.

    Great list BTW.

  3. Dark Reality

    My favorite is to run a virtual computing environment, and to use it to sandbox-test new apps. You can get some fly-by-night app that looks cool but you’re unsure of, and you could install it in your main system and hope for the best… or you could install it in a virtual machine and see how you like it there. If it performs admirably enough, you can uninstall it (or not) and install it in your real system.

    It might even be worth it to do all the “little things” in a virtual machine anyway, if your rig is fast enough. That way if something goes wrong, you have less cleanup. And you can run various operating systems inside Windows. You might even find one you like better. Let’s see… I have ReactOS (kind of an open source Windows 2000 clone), Kubuntu 11.04 (Ubuntu with KDE), Ubuntu 11.04, and Windows XP Pro SP3. I’m using VMWare Player, but I’ve heard VirtualBox might be more efficient. I will have to look into that. Ubuntu doesn’t load Unity, says the system isn’t powerful enough, but I have an old P4 that Unity runs fine on (from the live session, no less), so that doesn’t jive.

  4. mtech

    On a similar but unrelated note. Every time I go to a client with an LCD monitor. They have tried to clean it with these over the counter Screen cleaner kits and they look terrible. My wife has come up with an amazing non-destructive cleaner that she has always used cleaning windows and swears by it. It blows away anything out there and it’s dirt cheap. Vinegar and water diluted (25% Vinegar and 75% H20). Just for the record she has been cleaning my LCDs for the last 5 years with *NO* ill effects and they shine like new. Obviously just make sure the cloth is wrung out and it doesn’t run into the screen.

  5. dima

    @BinaryTaco yes, that was true with Windows XP, not so much with Windows 7. I never had to reinstall my Win7 machine since I installed it about 3 years ago. It’s still rock solid and as fast as it was when I installed it. I don’t know, maybe it’s just because I’m getting smarter and avoiding malware or Win7 is really more stable.

  6. malachipclover

    You forgot the most important tip: switch to Ubuntu!

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