Dear Lifehacker, You guys recently talked about Mac Maintenance, but I’m frankly still a little lost when it comes to Windows. Should I be defragging, cleaning my registry, and running programs like CCleaner? What do I actually need to do to maintain my Windows PC? Sincerely, Wringing Out Windows
You’re right, people talk a lot about ways to “speed up Windows” or keep your system well-maintained, but Windows has evolved a lot, and some of those are outdated. Even worse, some of them are just downright wrong, so here’s our short list of the maintenance tools you do and don’t want to run.
Maintenance You’ll Want to Do
Update Windows: We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Don’t neglect Windows Update. Install updates when it gets them, and restart your computer if necessary. This will keep your computer safe and stable, and really takes no effort on your part.
Back Up Your Hard Drive: Whether it’s the simple Windows Backup or an automated, offsite backup tool like our favourite Crashplan, backups are essential tools for any PC user. It isn’t maintenance, per se, but it can get you out of quite a few binds, so we can’t recommend it enough.[imgclear]
Uninstall Programs with Revo Uninstaller: Windows’ Add/Remove Programs dialog is OK, but Revo Uninstaller is even better. Not only does it remove every trace of an application from your computer, but it also helps you uninstall apps you can’t find, as well as manage your startup processes which will help you boot up faster and run smoother once you do.
Maintenance You Don’t Need to Do
Clean Your Registry: You’ve probably also heard about registry cleaners before, but the fact of the matter is that they probably won’t do much to help your computer. They won’t cause harm to your computer, but you’re very unlikely to get any kind of results. Leave these ones alone.
Mess with Windows Prefetching: You may have seen a few articles around the net on cleaning out Windows’ prefetching to speed up your computer, but it’s pretty much a myth. Not only will you not see any performance gains, but you could actually cause more problems instead of solving them. Just leave prefetching alone; Windows has it there for a reason.
That’s our short list of Windows maintenance tools, but it should get you started. We’ve gone through a much more detailed list of Windows maintenance tips, but these are pretty much the essentials here, so they should keep your computer running in tip-top shape for awhile. Check out our more detailed list for an in-depth look.
P.S. You guys probably have some of your own favourite maintenance tips and tricks, so if we haven’t mentioned them already, be sure to share them in the comments!