Basic computer maintenance

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If your computer performance seems to have become sluggish, or shuts down unexpectedly, it may be time to perform some basic computer maintenance. We suggest you perform these maintenance procedures periodically to help your computer's performance as well as being another IT security preventative measure. Here are some recommended basic computer maintenance topics:

  • Installing Current Operating System Updates
  • Clearing the Cache in your Internet Browser(s)
  • Maintaining Current Anti-Virus Software
  • Maintaining Current Malware Protection Software
  • (Windows) Running Disk Cleanup
  • MAC Maintenance Tips
  • Other Computer Maintenance and Security Recommendations

Installing Current Operating System Updates

An important factor in keeping your computer performance its best, as well as maintaining latest security updates is to keep your operating system up-to-date with the developers’ latest patches.

For university computers running windows the default setting for windows update (which is recommended) is Install Updates Automatically, but different departments may have different settings.

  • To check for updates, click on Start, select All Programs, and then select Windows Update. If there are any outstanding updates, click Install Updates button. This may require a restart after updates are finished installing.
  • To check settings for Windows updates, you can click on Start, select All Programs, then select Windows Update. On the left hand side select Change Settings and the option currently selected for installing Windows updates is listed under Important Updates.

Macintosh users can install updates by clicking on the Apple menu and choosing About This Mac, then selecting Software Update.

Clearing the Cache in your Internet Browser(s)

Another maintenance suggestion is periodically clearing the cache (memory) and cookies from your Internet browser(s). We recommend doing this about every two weeks or so, for 2 reasons:

  • Clear cookies to fix
    • Sign-in problems (not being able to sign-in, not being able to stay signed-in to Blackboard or MyCampus)
    • Error messages about setting user cookies
  • Clear cache to fix
    • Pages that freeze or don't finish loading
    • Outdated pages with old content
    • Online applications that don't respond

There are a number of browsers with different methods to clear cache and cookies, you can follow this link and find detailed instructions for your specific browser

Maintaining Current Anti-Virus Software

One of the most important steps in maintaining your computer's performance and security is keeping your anti-virus software up-to-date and frequently scanning your computer for viruses. Symantec Anti-Virus is installed on all university computers. Scans and updates are scheduled to run automatically.

For home use we recommend updating and scanning with your anti-virus software at least once a week to help ensure the safety of your computer. For more information on Virus and Malware.

Maintaining Current Malware Protection Software

Another maintenance recommendation is to run Malware protection software. Arkansas State ITS has purchased an enterprise version of Malwarebytes, which is installed on all university Windows computers. We recommend you run software updates and scan your computer for malware at least once a week to make sure your computer is free of any known malware. For more information on Viruses and Malware.

For your home computer you can download a free version of Malware Bytes from 

Windows Disk Cleanup

You can use Disk Cleanup to reduce the number of unnecessary files on your drives, which can help your PC run faster. It can delete temporary files and system files, empty the Recycle Bin, and remove a variety of other items that you might no longer need. ITS recommends to run Disk Cleanup about twice a month.

To delete files

The following procedure deletes files associated with your user account. You can also use Disk Cleanup to delete system files on your PC.

  1. To open Disk Cleanup from the desktop, Click Start, point to All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, and then Click Disk Cleanup.
  2. The Disk Cleanup dialog box should appear. It may take a while to detect which files can be deleted.
  3. In the Disk Cleanup dialog, select the checkboxes for the file types that you want to delete, Click OK, and then Click Delete files.
  4. The process may take a while to complete.