Thelma from Washington, DC writes: “It would be helpful to us older folks if you would suggest a regular timetable for defrag and other stuff that we should do in order to keep our computers running at a reasonable speed. Thank you.”
There are several tasks that need to be carried out on a regular schedule and defragmenting the disk is just one of them. Here’s what you need to do
Check the disk – monthly
Small errors sometimes occur on the disk drive, but they don’t cause a problem if they are dealt with before they become serious. Check the disk every month.
Open an Explorer window and select This PC or Computer in the left panel. The disk drives are displayed on the right. Right click the C: drive and select Properties on the menu that is displayed. Select the Tools tab and in the Error Checking section, click Check.
In Windows 10 click Scan drive. In Windows 7 click Start, Schedule disk check, and then restart Windows.
Clean up the clutter – monthly
Temporary files, log files, deleted files, and other files are generated by Windows on a daily basis. It is normal and isn’t a problem if you regularly clear out the junk. Once a month is sufficient.
In Windows 10, click Start, All apps, Windows Administrative Tools, Disk Clean-up. In Windows 7, click Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Disk Cleanup. After scanning the disk, tick all the boxes (except the Recycle Bin if you want to keep deleted files), and click OK. This frees up a lot of space.
Defragment the disk – weekly
Over time, the contents of the disk drive becomes disorganised, which makes it hard for Windows to find files when it needs them. The PC slows down because the disk is slower to access. Defragmenting the disk organises files so they are faster to access.
Windows defragments the disk automatically once a week, but you should check that it is set and hasn’t been disabled.
In Windows 10 click Start, All apps, Windows Administrative Tools, Defragment and optimize drives. In Windows 7 click Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Disk Defragmenter.
This utility is very similar in Windows 10 and 7, and both run on a schedule. Make sure it is set to run once a week – the day and time do not matter. If it is not, click Change settings or Configure schedule and select Run on a schedule, Weekly.
Virus scan – weekly, monthly
Each antivirus security program is different, so we cannot give instructions for each one, but most, if not all, provide three types of virus scan – quick, full and custom. Perform a quick scan once a week and a full scan once a month. Here’s how to use Windows Defender.
In Windows 10 press Windows+I to open Settings, click Update and Security, Windows Defender, Open Windows Defender. In Windows 7 open the Control Panel, select small icons view if necessary and click Windows Defender.
Quick, Full and Custom scan options are provided. Once a week, select Quick and click Scan now. Once a month, select Full and Scan now.
Windows Update – set to auto
It is important to make sure the latest Windows updates are installed. They fix bugs and security flaws, and keep the computer running smoothly. In Windows 10 Updates are automatic, but Windows 7 offers more control, so check that updates are being received.
In Windows 7 open the Control Panel, select Small icons view and click Windows Update. Click Change settings. Make sure it is set to Install updates automatically.
~ Roland Waddilove