7 Vital Windows Maintenance Tasks You Should Do More Often
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Owning a computer is fun, but you should take the time to perform some basic maintenance to make sure it runs at its best. Otherwise, the few minutes you save here and there could result in hours of unnecessary work in the future.

Let’s look at the Windows 10 maintenance tasks every PC owner should do regularly. Thankfully, there are some free PC maintenance tools Top 5 Free Computer Maintenance Tools You Should Know About Top 5 Free Computer Maintenance Tools You Should Know About Treat your computer right and it will stay fast and responsive for many years. But neglect proper maintenance and your system will suffer. So where do you begin? With the five apps we recommend here. Read More that can make this easier.

1. Update Windows and Software

Windows computer maintenance -Update Windows 10

Windows 10 is great about updating itself, but you should still check in from time to time and make sure it’s not hung up on something. Head to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and click Check for Updates.

Windows will tell you if it finds any updates and should install them automatically. Some, but not all, updates require a restart.

While you’re installing updates, it’s a good idea to make sure all your installed software is updated 4 Windows Apps to Keep Updated at All Times 4 Windows Apps to Keep Updated at All Times Keeping your software up-to-date is one way to stay out of trouble with hackers and malware. We show you how to keep Windows, browsers, anti-virus tools, and other apps updated. Read More . Some programs do this automatically, like Chrome and Firefox. Other programs will prompt you for an update when you open them. You can check for updates on most software by visiting Help > Check for Updates or Options > Check for Updates.

2. Manage Your Email

computer maintenance - Email Unsubscribe

Email piles up quickly if you don’t stay on top of it. When your inbox is full of automated flyers and junk you don’t want, finding messages that are actually important takes longer.

You should regularly reduce your incoming email by unsubscribing from newsletters you never read. Then set up email filters How to Set Up Email Filters in Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Outlook How to Set Up Email Filters in Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Outlook Email filtering is your best tool in keeping your inbox neat and organized. Here's how to set up and use email filters in Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Outlook. Read More so only important messages hit your inbox. Your inbox will become such a much more pleasant place.

3. Back Up Your Data

computer maintenance - backing up data

Backing up data is usually a set-and-forget operation, but it’s wise to occasionally confirm your backup is operational. Otherwise, you could be in for a nasty surprise if your PC fails.

Most backup software shows you the status and/or last backup time right on its home screen. Open your software of choice and make sure everything is working properly. If you use the File History backup in Windows, go to Settings > Update & Security > Backup and select More options to see the most recent backup time.

There’s no excuse for not backing up your data 5 Basic Backup Facts Every Windows User Should Know 5 Basic Backup Facts Every Windows User Should Know We never tire to remind you to make backups and keep your data safe. If you're wondering what, how often, and where you should back up your files, we have straight forward answers. Read More —if you haven’t set up a backup yet, now’s the perfect time. Check out our ultimate Windows backup guide The Windows Backup and Restore Guide The Windows Backup and Restore Guide Disasters happen. Unless you're willing to lose your data, you need a good Windows backup routine. We'll show you how to prepare backups and restore them. Read More for everything you need to get going.

4. Delete Unnecessary Files and Programs

computer maintenance - Windows 10 Disk Cleanup

Seasoned Windows users know how the OS builds up cruft over time. You can’t prevent some of this, but it helps to clean up old data that you’re not actively using. Freeing up space can also improve your PC’s performance if you’re running low.

Consult our step-by-step guide to cleaning out files The Best Way to Clean Windows 10: A Step-by-Step Guide The Best Way to Clean Windows 10: A Step-by-Step Guide If your Windows 10 PC needs cleaning, here are the tools and a step-by-step process to get it squeaky clean again. Read More and our checklist for cleaning How to Clean Your Windows Computer: The Ultimate Checklist How to Clean Your Windows Computer: The Ultimate Checklist Spending some time cleaning up Windows can yield vast performance improvements. Here's the ultimate checklist for cleaning your Windows computer. Read More for more details.

5. Perform Maintenance Scans

You should perform a few scans in Windows once in a while just to make sure there isn’t a problem you’re overlooking.

One of them is an antivirus scan. You hopefully use a solid antivirus that doesn’t nag you Top Free Antivirus Apps Without Nag Screens and Bloatware Top Free Antivirus Apps Without Nag Screens and Bloatware Nagging antivirus apps are a huge pain. You don't have to put up with them, even for free. Here are the best antivirus programs that don't come with popups or bundled junk. Read More all the time, which should scan automatically. But it’s a good idea to get a second opinion from a dedicated anti-malware program once in a while.

Malwarebytes is still the best at this. The free version only lets you scan on-demand, but that’s all you need for an occasional check. Hopefully, it doesn’t find anything on your system, but it’s worth a look because it will find what other antivirus software doesn’t.

You should also perform an SFC scan occasionally. This command, short for System File Checker, is a Windows utility that checks for damaged system files How to Fix a Corrupted Windows 10 Installation How to Fix a Corrupted Windows 10 Installation System corruption is the worst that could happen to your Windows installation. We show you how to get Windows 10 back on track when suffering from BSODs, driver errors, or other unexplained issues. Read More and repairs them if needed. Type cmd into the Start Menu, then right-click it and choose Run as administrator. Enter the following line to start the scan, which might take a while:

sfc /scannow

6. Double-Check Important Settings

computer maintenance - Windows 10 Settings Panel

Windows 10’s regular stream of updates means that it’s always changing. While this results in lots of new features, it also means that Windows has more chances to introduce more options that affect how your computer works.

After you install a major update (like the Fall Creators Update), you should check the new options and make sure they’re set the way you want. And if you’ve never tweaked the default Windows 10 settings 7 Default Windows 10 Settings You Should Check Immediately 7 Default Windows 10 Settings You Should Check Immediately Microsoft made some questionable decisions with Windows 10. Some of its default settings should not be left alone. We show you how to improve privacy, conserve bandwidth, reduce distraction, and lots more. Read More , definitely take a look at those.

Another setting you should check regularly is the startup items in the Task Manager Remove Windows Startup Items to Fix Your Slow Computer for Free Remove Windows Startup Items to Fix Your Slow Computer for Free Programs launching at boot can affect both the Windows startup speed and your computer's overall performance. Fix your slow computer by removing applications from auto-start. We show you how to catch them all. Read More . As you install more software, you’ll likely build up a ton of programs that run as soon as you boot. Check in on this sometimes and make sure it’s under control.

7. Clean Your Hardware

computer maintenance - Clean laptop monitor

Nobody really enjoys cleaning their computer, but it’s an important step to keep it running at its best. Plus, it gets pretty gross over time. You should at least wipe down your keyboard and screen, and clean the dust out of your computer, a few times per year.

We’ve written a guide to cleaning your laptop and much of the same advice applies for desktops. While you’re under the hood, make sure your setup isn’t suffering from any mistakes such as poor ventilation 8 PC Maintenance Mistakes That Kill Your Hardware Lifespan 8 PC Maintenance Mistakes That Kill Your Hardware Lifespan PC maintenance isn't rocket science, but you could be making a handful of mistakes that are actually harming your hardware. Read More .

Computer Maintenance Is No Fun, But It’s Vitally Important

We’ve reviewed seven important chores you should make a point to complete every once in a while. There’s no need to obsess over them, but neglecting these will lead to problems down the road. Keeping your computer in good repair saves you time and money, so you’ll be glad you kept up with these.

While you’re working on these, make sure you don’t make any big maintenance mistakes 7 Windows Maintenance Mistakes You Should Never Make 7 Windows Maintenance Mistakes You Should Never Make If you want to keep your Windows PC running smoothly, you need to avoid making these big mistakes. They could shorten your computer's lifespan and make your experience frustrating. Read More .

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  1. Dacari
    June 5, 2018 at 10:33 am

    Thank you for the tips.

  2. Mick
    April 11, 2018 at 3:00 am

    The biggest half truth is backing up your data. Yes it is a necessity, BUT you need to use a program that can work independent of windows and self booting. I thought I did the right thing, then BAM. Windows had to be reinstalled. Which meant the backup software had to be reinstalled. And you'll never guess what....the newly installed backup software (which was the same program in every respect) refused to recongnise the previous backup files as it was not created by that 'particular instance'.

    • Ben Stegner
      April 11, 2018 at 2:12 pm

      What backup tool were you using? That's really unfortunate, but most allow you to restore your files through the website interface, not just the desktop app.

  3. Name
    April 4, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    Stupid article waste of time.

    • Ben Stegner
      April 4, 2018 at 2:43 pm

      What you consider a waste of time could be really useful for someone else.

    • Fik of borg
      April 4, 2018 at 4:21 pm

      Totally NOT a waste of time.
      Also totally not "Windows Maintenance": everyone shold follow that routine, even if they use Mac or Linux.

    • Malbec
      April 10, 2018 at 4:29 pm

      This answer IS a waste of time!

    • Zoran
      April 12, 2018 at 8:59 am

      The reply is maybe a bit provocative but in essence there is a partial truth hidden in "Name's" (?) comment. He's right about the "stupid" part and I think this post should have been more critical about these maintenance tasks which are still M-A-N-U-A-L.

      It is maddening that in 2018 Windows still isn't able to take care of itself. Except for minimal intervention to setup a backup, all these tasks should be part of a preset, daily routine without needing a users intervention. We use PC's to simplify our lives, not to create extra work.