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Computer Care and Maintenance for Dummies

Discussion in 'Tech Support' started by Peace, May 11, 2015.

  1. Peace

    Peace High Inquisitor

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    If you're like me your knowledge of computers is fairly basic. The purpose of this thread is for people to share basic (and not so basic) tips for caring for computers and a place for people to ask questions that don't deserve their own thread.
     
  2. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter

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    MalwareBytes FTW. Free and effective.

    CCleaner maybe? Microsoft Security Essentials for a free Windows 7 anti-virus that doesn't suck. Canned air to get rid of the dust every so often. Chrome or Firefox instead of Internet Explorer. LibreOffice or OpenOffice for a free suite of programs that act more or less like Microsoft Office. GiMP for a free program that simulates Photoshop.

    Dunno if any of that is helpful or not. But I'd guess DLP is above average in the number of posters with 'beyond basic' computer skills, even if not by much. You did say 'not so basic' questions as well though, so perhaps this'll prove interesting.

    Cheers.
     
  3. Tairen

    Tairen Muggle

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    Reboot your computer at least once a week. I know it can be irritating but its good practice.
    CCleaner to temp and garbage files and a easy way to find out whats running on startup.
    Every few months go through your list of programs and remove any you don't use anymore.
    And if you are feeling particularly ambitious, once a year completely format your computer, upgrade all the firmware you can and do a clean install of Windows.
     
  4. Sacro

    Sacro Seventh Year

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    Or if you have a SSD, how about daily.

    Indeed, but stay away from the registry cleaning function.

    Eh, that's not really needed as long as you have HDD/SSD space to spare. But remember to never fill a SSD to 100%.


    I think every 2 years would suffice, but even then it's not really that necessary unless your PC has gotten really slow. As for the firmware...well there's actually not much you can upgrade there. SSDs, sometimes GPUs and DVD/Blu-Ray drives/burners and of course the BIOS/UEFI. But only update your BIOS/UEFI if you have a problem or if the new version has a fix that you need, since flashing your BIOS/UEFI voids your warranty with basically every manufacturer.

    Like Cheddar said, get rid of the dust in your PC - I recommend at least two times a year (I personally do it once in spring and once in autumn). If you don't want to use canned air you can also use a compressor. If you want to reduce the amount of dust that gets into your case, get some dustfilters (I recommend Silverstone) for your intake fans, which you can then clean with your vacuum every week or so when you're cleaning your room/apartment/house anyways and read up on positiv air pressure in a computer case.
     
  5. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter

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    I'd heard to reboot more often with an SSD, but I'm not clear on why if the computer spends a lot of time in sleep mode, etc.

    What's wrong with CCleaners Registry function? I use it a lot and have never had a problem.
     
  6. Feoffic

    Feoffic Alchemist DLP Supporter

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    Some basic rules to not get a virus.

    1. Install Adblock.
    2. Uninstall Java if you have it (unless you need it).
    3. Stay super on top of Adobe Reader updates
    4. Run Microsoft Security Essentials
    5. Never visit song lyric sites.
    6. Never install warez or "shareware"
    7. If an ad makes its way through adblock, NEVER click on it.
    8. If someone emails or SMSs you a link, NEVER click on it.
     
  7. Klackerz

    Klackerz Bridgeburner

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    Use Linux,
     
  8. Sacro

    Sacro Seventh Year

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    Basically because with some power saving modes, the contents of your RAM get dumped onto it, and since SSDs have a limited amout of data they can write (although it's not as little as some people will say - techreport did a nice endurance test), and boot up really fast anyways (my PC with a Crucial MX100 takes about 20 seconds or so). Therefore power saving modes on SSDs are not really worth it.

    Well, it's the possibility of a screw up of the program. Since it's messing with the registry, it can potentially damage your Windows installation, and since cleaning up the registry normally doesn't really improve performance it's generally adviced to not take the risk (although I've yet to personally see a registry cleaner screw up).

    Yeah, no. That's not really practical for everyone, since not every program works on linux.
     
  9. SilverOtter

    SilverOtter Seventh Year

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  10. Sacro

    Sacro Seventh Year

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    None of those are for general care/maintenance. Memtest is only useful if you encounter many bluescreens and/or crashes, to make sure it's not the RAM. Prime and furmark are generally used for testing if an overclock is stable. I don't think any of those really belong in this thread to be honest, since you wouldn't use them regularly.
     
  11. Radmar

    Radmar Disappeared

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    I found "powercfg -energy" command in command prompt is pretty useful tool. It can find out battery condition of laptops, scans if some programs are disrupting sleep mode, etc.
     
  12. World

    World Oberstgruppenführer Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Pay attention when installing stuff from the internet to avoid adware and malware.
     
  13. blob

    blob Seventh Year

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    If you'd like to keep your system running at blazing fast speeds but you're not much interested in formatting and reinstalling a ton of software (if you're the type to need all of it anyway), it could be a good idea to make an image of your OS partition to later restore - and all you need to do after it is to make any additional changes since you've created the image. A simple 2-minutes-to-use free software is aomei backupper which works great for windows as long as you don't dual boot linux.

    I also use it as a power user - just install some programs that have proven useful since the last iteration, tweak some config files etc and create a new image. It allows me to have a basically installed-from-scratch performance but it takes usually less than 2 hours for the entire process, where a full reinstall would take about 2 days due to the amount of shit I would need to install and configure.

    Just be careful with any important files left on OS partition - but you should keep them on another partition anyway.


    Also, adblock is love, adblock is life. You can disable it selectively when you want to support websites you like, but you really should use it by default - both to cull the amount of shit bothering you and for safety reasons as well.

    Addons in general are pretty nifty for web browsers - I would hate to use firefox with it's default look since v 28 or 29 when the new australis appeared, but can restore the default setting with classic UI addon in seconds, Session manager saves me tons of time hunting for the sites I wanted to keep... you get the idea.


    Use DriverBooster for almost all of your driver updates - it works great and needs very little knowledge to be useful.

    Use AdwCleaner to remove most adware found on your PC. Works like magic for unwanted things installed by mistake, browser hijackers etc, but won't do things like uninstall unwanted browser addons etc.


    I would also give your PC to a repair shop to change the thermal paste every 18 months or so if you use it heavily - it can really make a difference, esp if your machine runs hot and isn't properly ventilated, and in extreme cases (like the shitty macbook unibody IIRC) it can mean the difference between your machine running for 2 years or a decade.


    Oh, and as a side note - always back up your data. There's much to be said about it, but a simple external HDD to which you sync your files will easily save you in 95% cases where something fails in your PC or your machine gets stolen or something like that. Just last week my friends father lost all of his files from a shitty netbook and there is no chance to recover any of them and he had all data related to his company saved there - now he can't even pay his people the correct amount for their work (15 people employed), doesn't know which invoices were paid and which weren't etc. He's quite likely to go under unless he pulls a miracle out of his ass, and a 100$ external HDD would have quite literally saved his life's work.

    While most of the time you won't find cases as extreme, it's still worth it to do it properly, even if all you save from an unexpected disaster is some furry porn you saved when you were drunk 2 years ago.
     
  14. Nuit

    Nuit Dark Lord

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  15. blob

    blob Seventh Year

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    I... huh. Kind of surprised about that to be honest - got that thing recommended from a friend that works in a repair shop and it worked good for me. Perhaps it was because I only ran it once after OS install to update anything that I haven't installed manually before, in the free version to boot as I don't need any constant updates and other bullshit like 'benefit from new driver features' whatever it means.

    So I guess it's probably not the best idea to use it unless you know what you're doing. Or better yet don't use it at all.
     
  16. Nae

    Nae The Violent

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    Huh. I don't reboot my Macbook Air for days or weeks sometimes. Haven't noticed any problems. o_O
     
  17. Sacro

    Sacro Seventh Year

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    I don't know where you heard that, but in most cases all that will do for you is better temperatures by about 2-5°C at most - in short it's not really a requirement. Also, I personally wouldn't pay money for that, since it takes 10-15 minutes tops and isn't really difficult.
     
  18. World

    World Oberstgruppenführer Moderator DLP Supporter

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    I see what happened here :sherlock:
     
  19. blob

    blob Seventh Year

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    Heh. I would actually recommend it, but perhaps I should explain a bit more clearly.

    First off - it applies only to laptops and not stationary PC's. Should've made that clear.

    The reason why you would want to do it is not just to change the paste, but because in 95% cases to change the paste you need to disassemble a lot of things to get here - usually have to take out the entire motherboard, unscrew the fan and the heatsink etc. Since the work is already done, I am fairly certain that the entire heat exhaust would get cleaned in addition to just changing the paste, and if you use the machine heavily and often (video editing/encoding, heavy photoshop usage etc) a proper cleaning every 2 years or so can make a difference. Just using compressed air helps... somewhat, but it's definitely not the same as cleaning it all properly.
    It's not really necessary in machines with proper ventilation that run cool, but since the thread is 'for dummies', they most likely won't know the difference. You can check it with things like SpeedFan for normal work or run some benchmarks to see the temps and make the decision based on it - it's probably for the best if you need to decide.

    And, well - if you're 'a dummy' in all things PC, I'm kinda ambivalent whether I would recommend to do it yourself. Nowadays most laptops are annoying AF to get to the meat of things and the trend is, if anything, worsening. It usually takes a lot of time to do it properly and a chance to tear out some small parts that hold your machine together is relatively high even if you have some idea what you're doing (I'm talking mostly about the small plastic latches - no idea what they're called in English - which still happens to me occasionally on a machine that I've disassembled at least 5 times already). It's also not unheard of to destroy the mobo outright if you use a wrong screw in a wrong place and you screw it though the motherboard.

    So, yeah - the point is, I would still recommend to give your machine a proper cleaning every 2 years or so if you use it heavily and the temps run hot. The paste itself doesn't need to be changed most likely (although when you've disassembled all of it, why not do it as well?), it's the side-effects of it that might be worth it. If you can do it yourself - by all means; if you have no idea what you're doing - probably best to leave it.

    Oh, and also - since I live in eastern Europe I'd pay about 20$ for the entire thing and it would most likely take a few hours to get my machine back so it would be worth it for me. I have no idea what the prices are in US - if someone would want 150$ for it, fuck it.



    Additionally, defragging your drive is a decent idea once in a while (on normal HDDs, not on SSDs). The difference in performance isn't usually very noticeable, but it does help a bit and takes like 2 minutes of work. You could do it with the built-in disk defrag under windows or use something like Auslogics Disk Defrag (although IIRC they bundled some toolbars and other bullshit to uncheck during installation lately).
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2015
  20. Joe's Nemesis

    Joe's Nemesis High Score: 2,058 ~ Prestige ~

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    Huh. I thought you were full of BS. Then I did a internet search and sure enough . . . interesting. Although, pulling a laptop apart really isn't any more difficult than pulling a computer apart. Just have to remember where everything goes.
     
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