Over the past week I have been hearing from family members, friends and, ADD Coaching clients about computer horror stories. Sometimes computers just crash and there is nothing that can be done to prevent it. More often than not there are things that can be done to prevent a lot of the stress associated with computer problems!

It’s very important especially to those of us to with ADD the we have a regular system in place to maintain our computers. I admit that while I know the steps needed to maintain my computer it wasn’t until very recently that I began doing them on a regular basis. Like so many people with ADD, I had to learn the hard way before I developed a system to make sure my computer is being maintained.

Here are 4 very important things every computer user should be doing:

  1. Back up – Make sure that you back up at the very least your important documents and files. You may want to save them to a disk, an external hard drive, or an online storage system. Also make sure you back up regularly. How often to back depends on how you use your own computer.
  2. Defrag – If your computer is running very slow there’s a good chance it needs to be defragmented. You should probably be defragmenting your hard drive at least once or twice per month.
  3. Clear your Temporary Internet Files and Cookies – If you are having trouble viewing some sites and the internet seems slow you probably need to delete your temporary internet files (cache) and cookies. Heavy users should probably be doing this weekly and light users monthly.
  4. Anti-virus Software – Not only should you have anti-virus software on your computer you also need to make sure the definitions are up to date. If your anti-virus software isn’t being updated on a weekly basis it’s pretty much useless. Most anti-virus software programs automatically update each week but it’s a good idea to double check and make sure the program is working correctly.

If some of these terms scare you and you have no idea what I am talking about that’s okay. Part of developing your system may involve delegating these tasks to somebody else or educating yourself about your computer.

Have you found a system to maintain your computer that works for you?

    7 replies to "Are you Maintaining Your Computer?"

    • zandra

      would have liked a few how to’s on hos to defrag..and how to delete cookies. where does one go to do it and what are the steps.

    • Dani

      SCHEDULED TASKS! This is like auto-bill-pay for your computer’s regular dues. On a PC, it’s in start> programs> accessories> system tools.

      Use the wizard to add programs that you’d like to automatically run on a regular basis. My antivirus software always runs in the background every day. The programs I have scheduled to run on a weekly basis are AdAware (free spyware removers), Spybot (another free spyware remover), Disk cleanup (in system tools), and disk defragmenter.

      The wizard doesn’t seem to want to let you put defrag in the scheduled tasks, but you can do it manually by creating a shortcut to the program and drag/dropping it into the scheduled tasks folder.

    • Tom

      Since I got my new computer I’ve been very careful to keep things safe. My last computer, although old in comparrison, crashed and wasn’t worth fixing. I have a virus program which automatically updates, when I remember, I even check to see the status of updates, at least 1 time per week, but not with regularity:(.

      I’ve set nightly tasks for my cuputer to do such as Monday 2am defrag. I do this with system clean up too.

      Thanks Tara for keeping us on our toes.

    • LinearBob

      I decided that I needed to use a machine that could do many of the machine maintenance tasks I want done, but do them automatically on a preset schedule. The Unix and Linux Operating Systems offer a feature called “cron” and with it you can make a table of things to be done, which is called a “crontab”. When I asked around, I kept hearing good things about ubuntu Linux, so I decided to give ubuntu a try.

      I bought a used computer in a garage sale and added additional memory and a CD burner to it. Then I used a friend’s machine and DSL line to download an “iso” image of ubuntu Linux and burned it into a CDROM. From there, I used the new CD to install ubuntu Linux into my garage sale machine in about a half hour. The installation process for ubuntu was completely painless. About the hardest task for me was deciding which of the many (several hundred!) software “packages” I wanted to download and install in my new “Linux box” after ubuntu itself was installed. Ubuntu Linux is totally free as in free beer, as are all of the many software packages

      Ubuntu looks and feels a lot like Microsoft XP, but unlike XP, ubuntu has an underlying command line system where “scripts” for running “cron” jobs at certain times can easily be written and run. These scripts are a little like DOS batch files. So I am now able to automate any number of my computer maintenance tasks this way, like defragging my hard disk. However, when looked at another way, Linux turns out to be much less likely to suffer from the nastier things Windows suffers from, like viruses and spyware, so running an anti-virus program in a Linux machine is not as important as it is in a Windows machine.

      I have also found that learning more about Linux has been a lot like when I first started learning how to make DOS and Windows work, frustrating but ultimately very satisfying. Ubuntu Linux has given me a new perspective on both computers and on the “open source” community. Look for a Linux User Group (or LUG) near where you live. I am sure you will find helpful people there. Most LUGs have periodic “Install-fests” where LUG members will be present to help you install Linux in your machine, if you think you may need some help with the Linux software installation.

      Here is a link to more information about ununtu Linux in general.


      And here is a link to more information about the desktop version of ubuntu. This is what I use pretty much exclusively, in place of Windows. My Windows machine has pretty much been retired, and I now use it very infrequently.


    • marc yablon

      what web-site do i use for defrag?

    • bolder

      Its really important to take good care of the HDD health for your computer to run really fast and smooth.If its gets suffocated ( quite like asthma!) with unwanted stuff and gets fragmented too, its going to buckle down under the stress and cause lags, freezes, and what not. An overworked HDD can also cause heat which is inimical to the system.

    • BlueCorvetteZ06

      Defragging with the built-in windows XP utility can take an unreasonable amount of time, and there is no way to set defrag on multiple physical drives easily for the average user. Defragging the $MFT and other system files is also not straightforward. The newer Vista defragmenter is even more crippled, with very little control over the process.

      A good third party tool like Diskeeper Pro 2007 makes defragging multiple drives and system files much easier, and it runs much faster than the windows defrag. Actually, if you switch on the automatic defragment mode in diskeeper pro, it will manage defragmentation for you, quietly behind the scenes whenever you are not using the PC…you won’t need to manually defrag or even schedule a defrag. Its good software for those who dont want to deal with the hassles of defragging.
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