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Mathew Steel

Tips on Keeping your PC in "Tip Top" Condition

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1. Download files from trusted sources only!


This may seem rather obvious, but when it comes to more "rare" files shall we say, people tend to ignore the risks of what comes with such files and will happily download from any random website that appears to have what they need. The number one reason computers become infected with malware/spyware etc, is from downloading files from non-trusted/verified websites.


You can check the reliability of a website by simply typing - *website name* is it safe?


Or by using sites such as Norton, here I used "Mediafire" as an example (I simply used Mediafire as it's a commonly used website and has received a lot of different ratings for security over the years) - https://safeweb.norton.com/report/show_mobile?name=mediafire.com



2. Use an anti-virus/anti-malware software!


Again, sounds simple enough, but are you sure the protection your PC has is of a good standard? Anti-virus programs such as AVG may be considered good, however there are a numerous amount of problems that come with it and since this article is about keeping your PC in good condition, AVG won't be useful. Anyone who has used AVG will be aware of how much resources it uses, even while idle.


Scans should be run every so often, really, it depends on how often you've made a change to your computer, i.e. downloading a new game or new software. You can set most anti-virus/anti-malware programs to run an automatic scan on a certain day, with however long in between each scan.


There is a difference between anti-virus and anti-malware. The main difference is simply that anti-malware tends to be more "up to date" with the new types of malware. Sure anti-virus programs are great, however, they only protect against the most common viruses such as worms and trojans. On the other hand, anti-virus work more as a shield too. What I mean by this is that they tend to come with sub-software such as website scanning, their own "SmartScreen Filter" and so on. Anti-malware programs have a much larger and vaster database but the scans take far longer as would be expected. A good plan would be to have both anti-virus and anti-malware installed on your PC. Make sure they are compatible as this can cause its own problems.


I recommend:


- Malwarebytes, Anti-malware

- Avast, Anti-Virus



Although they may say they will conflict, I've used both together for years without trouble. Both of which work fine free and will still remove any found threats. ?



3. Delete large, unused files!


This may seem like a difficult task, as over time, we tend to lose track of where all the files that we don't need, end up. However using Windows, there is a very easy way to solve this problem. Simply, change search preferences while using Windows Explorer.


Windows 7/8/8.1

Start > Computer > *choose drive* > Search *drive name* (located in the top right) > Size > Huge/Gigantic



WARNING! - Using this will still display Windows files if you have set your preferences to "Show hidden files and folders." Do NOT edit these files in any way! If you are unsure if a file is a Windows file, a quick Google search will answer your question.


Also, I do not recommend using 3rd-party software to clear up drive space as some software is unreliable and may delete important files, or files which you wish to keep.



4. Disk Defragmenter!


Windows comes with its own disk defragmenter software. I highly recommend using this in turn of 3rd-party programs when it comes to defragmenting your disk.



Data on a Hard Disk Drive (HDD) is written in one huge sentence. Every time you install something to that drive, the data is written to the drive, or "added to the sentence" if you like. If you delete that file, the data will be removed, or "erased." This of course leaves a blank space where that data once was.


Let's say for example that data was written after the data for some other program (x) but before another (y). You are now left with a blank space. The computer can't go back up and add to that blank space, if you install a new program, the data for said program will be written after the data for program "y." This leaves your drive with less space than it actually has available.


What disk defragmenter does is close that space, by moving the data from "y" to "x" by placing them right after one another, instead of a few "spaces" after.




Do NOT defragment your SSD. The way an SSD writes data is different and trying to defragment your disk will cause more harm than good!



5. Use several drives!


Using two drives will no doubt increase the available space on your PC, thus increasing overall performance. Now there are a few different ways of doing this. For each example, we'll imagine we have 2 drives.



Method 1:

You use 2 HDD's. Put the OS (Operating System) along with smaller files on one drive (a), and any large files on the other drive (b). I suggest counting any program/file over 5GB on drive "b" and putting anything under it on drive "a."


If you are someone who plays a lot of games on their PC, placing all games onto drive "b" is a great idea.



Method 2:

You use 1 HDD and 1 SSD. Putting the OS on the SSD will significantly increase overall performance and speed. You'll notice a huge decrease in boot time, allowing you to get started with whatever you need to, quickly. Then for the HDD follow the same rule as Method 1, for drive "b."



Method 3:

You use 1 SSD and 1 SSHD. Following a similar method as above, you use the SSD for the OS and use the SSHD as the "b" drive. An SSHD (Solid State Hybrid Drive) is a mix of an SSD and HDD. It contains a small amount of SSD space and a large amount of HDD technology, thus improving speed for a price not much more than that of a HDD (for example 8GB/500GB, the 8GB being the SSD part and the 500GB being the HDD). The difference being that an SSHD is quicker than a HD, however since the SSD capacity isn't as great, using this drive to hold your OS won't be as efficient as using the SSD. ?



Now there are other ways to make your storage setup even more efficient. I'm not an expert in such techniques, however I am referring to Raid Arrays. The article written by @TheDitchy is a great way to understand more about Raid Arrays - http://forums.stronghold-nation.com/topic/636-an-article-on-raid-arrays/

Edited by Mathew Steel

"Gofyn wyf am galon hapus, calon onest, calon l?n."

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