Nofrillstech's Mini Computer Beginners Factfile 26.12.11
There are 5 steps to optimize system software health:
5) Boot Defrag,
5) Always unplug/disconnect from the Internet during cleaning, or, when not required, for extra security..?
3) No floor-level deployment of any computer equipment, to minimize/avoid heavy dust accumulation
4) Regular quarterly(?) checks inside the case for dust removal, plus, replug all leads and cards concurrently
5) Avoid static/EMF contact, especially inside the case, turn off and unlug ALL systems in violent weather
There are 5 additional schedule steps:
There are 5 emergency steps to try before advanced problem-solving:
1) Task Manager, and check for non-responding programs, then Restart
2) Turn off and leave for 15 minutes, or, overnite is ideal, before restarting.
3) Restore Point, or, other Registry Backup utilised
4) F8 Start, then uninstall the problem program, or, rollback a problem driver
5) Complete clean and defrag as above, then File Check, via the O/S facility, or, a custom File Checker
6) Start/Run sfc /scannow, or, Windows Repair as last resort, before complete clean and O/S reinstall
Enclosed are program lists that can be consulted, relevant to the O/S installed, from 2000-Win 7
The weekly housekeeping regime, depending on custom programs in use:
7) Empty Recycle Bin once more to be sure, and, do not use the Recycle Bin as a storage facility!
8) Perform Scandisk/Checkdisk, Disk Cleanup and Defrag
9) Keep Drivers back-ups, Registry backups, Custom programs, and Microsoft Update, all up to date
Important: Stay in Desktop to run housekeeping programs singly and consecutively, and do not concurrently open other files, programs or Windows, as there may be a clash, or even an inadvertent file corruption that will cause a malfunction, and loss of data. Not worth the risk to try this as a time saver. Tidy your desk instead..?
Never defragment solid state HDDs, including flash, for longer working life. There is finite life span for their memory cells, which are flashed repeatedly to effect data saving.
Custom Housekeeping programs examples:
Firewall & Virtual Browsing ZoneAlarm, Sandboxie (f)
Wintools, 360Amigo, Registry Mechanic($),
remember that 32-bit and 64-bit systems will use
corresponding Custom programs, OK!
Nofrillstechs Own Essential Programs List:
Avira virus checker, and, AVG Anti-Rootkit, ZoneAlarm Firewall, or, a less resource-hungry virus checker is PCTools Free Antivirus, similarly, a less resource-hungry firewall is PCTools Free Firewall, both quite effective
Wintools($), EusingFRC(f), for cleaning Files, Shortcuts, and Registry Entries, Startup, Uninstall, and also TweakUI
CrapCleaner for Internet Files, Applications, and some Registry Entries, plus Startup and Uninstall
Advanced Systems Care for extra Housekeeping and Security use, SpeeditupFree for system efficiency
Driver Wizard for Driver ID and finding, also WinDrvrBackup for Driver Backup
Eusing Free Registry Cleaner, nearly as good as Wintools for the Registry
FoxitPDF, small and effective PDF Reader; doPDF small and effective PDF maker, PDFCreator is larger, more technical
FreeUndelete for those deleted file recovery missions, EasyUninstaller for problem programs
Eraser when you really mean it; also includes the HDD cleaner, DBan
HDDWipe/LLFormat cleans and/or wipes Slave HDDs in Windows, and, more effectively than O/S Reformats do
VLCMedia Player seems to work when not all others do..? CDDVDBurnerXPPro for a good, all-purpose burner
A Starter 32-bit Vista/Win7 Custom Software Suite:
ZoneAlarm, Avira, PCTools Free Antivirus, PCTools Free Firewall, Ad-Aware, CrapCleaner, Threatfire, SuperUtilities($), Wintools($), Registry Mechanic($), Glary Utilities, RegSeeker, EusingFRCleaner, DustBuster, Advanced Systems Care, Auslogics Defrag, UltraDefrag, PuranDefrag, Auslogics RegDefrag, 360Amigo ERUNT/NTRegOpt, ImageBurn, FreeRam XPPro, HWMonitor, Sensors View($), Autostart and Process Viewer, HDDLife, HDTune, SIW, Driver Wizard, WinDrvrBackup, HDDWipe/LLFormat, Rubber Ducky, Checkdisc, MagicJellybean Keyfinder, Actual Booster, CheckDisc, TCPOptimiser, Fences
IZarc File Utility, OpenOffice, Eraser, NvuHTML, StripFile, doPDF, FoxitPDF, CoreFTP Lite, Gadwin Printscreen, Vikrant's PC Glossary, Sage Dictionary, SyncBack, Google Toolbar, Rubber Ducky, PowerSuite BootDisk($), MiniPEVLCMedia Player, CDDVDBurnerXPPro, and, see also FreeVista/Win7Files for more Vista/Win7-compatible general software choices.
Note that Win O/S efficiency improvements, plus, ever-increasing system resources and performance, will tend to render this particular aspect of Housekeeping less of a priority, however, always have O/S images, clones, and/or Recovery Discs, up-to-date if using such Custom programs, regardless of their provenance and/or reputation. Also remember that 32-bit and 64-bit systems will use corresponding Custom programs, OK! Two good tweaks that will increase Vista/Win7 speed are, Disable/Stop of Superfetch, and, Indexing Services, via Admin Tools. (Win7 Indexing also turns off same as for XP.) Also, turn off hiberfil.sys via regedit if hibernation is not needed, similarly Superfetch and UAC, and also Indexing via HDD Tools. Google will have these details, tho turn off other services in Vista/Win7 at your own risk. Win8 Beta responds well to the same tweaks. Meanwhile, use effective cleaning and defragging programs to optimise system performance. SpeeditupFree also does wonders for Vista/Win7ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s system efficiency. Win7 will have a Startup-tweaking facility to minimize the number of running programs that consume memory. Some Custom programs such ASC will also perform Registry Tweaks. Nofrillstech has trialled Win 8 as of August 2011, and found it to be a good RAM utiliser, as well as being more like XP, at least at the Beta stage. Let us hope than this remains the case, tho this 32/64 bit version would only run on a minimum dual-core system. Tweaks were the same as for Vista/Win7, ie, turn off Prefetch and hiberfil.sys, plus HDD Indexing, via HDD Tools. Great care is needed to turn off other Services, do so at your own risk, and, according to your own needs, there is plenty of advice in Google on the subject, and the hiberffil.sys Regedit turnoff instructions are posted there as well. UAC turnoff may also be wanted, also via Regedit. Meanwhile, use effective cleaning and defragging programs to optimise system performance, accept Updates, and all should be well.
Portable Broadband USB modems are simple mobile phones that draw power from a computer, and thus connect wirelessly to the Internet, the best option for independence and portability within specified mobile signal range.
For Linux users, see the Min-Linux Factfile via main page.
are many Apple books and online forums which can be consulted, so,
these few Apple comments file merely presents some initial
common-sense tips, for new and average users. As well, only desktops
and laptops, and relevant OSs, are discussed.
desktop and laptop systems hardwareare now based on Wintel platforms,
means easy transfer of skills for management, maintenance, and
troubleshooting. The Oss are similar in layout to Linux, including
Terminal Command line use, being based, in turn, on Unix. The
OSs are relatively cheap, but Apple hardware is expensive,
and Apple prefers that only their own OSs will run on these machines.
Note that this rule can be circumvented, but, is best left to more
expert users to practice.
The OSs are not licenced as MS Oss are, but
do have a cost, however, and just downloading a Mac OS iso,
especially an older version, can be problematical, especially older
versions, Apple itself does not help in this regard. Apple
at present, 2015, variations on OS X.
Mac OSs needs the correct disc for your model,
after which you can boot holding down the Alt key, with the disc
installed, or, you can insert the OS disc while the system is running
normally, and select the install option that way, if practicable.
computers and laptops come in just a few models,
so, hardware and software compatibilty throughout the range
is generally assured, 'integration' is thus the key descriptor. The
systems are robust, but, only the newer A-type laptop models are
relatively easy to dissasemble. Sadly, the latest Retina models now
revert to custom HDDs/SSDs, and RAM is soldered onto the system
board. Similarly for Apple all-in-one systems. PC-style cases and
contents are more straightforward, well, at present, anyway. For
the average user, access to battery, RAM, HDD, and CD/DVD is
important, and Wintel models are thus much easier to work on, and
recyclable, if you are that way inclined?
Apple, the change to Wintel systems came 2006/7,
thus, OS install discs also reflect that change. For laptops the
change came between G3 iBooks, and Macbooks, so select the correct OS
type and number for your particular system.
hardware diagnostics can be run by pressing 'D' at boot,
can be used to check the HDD/SSD
when the system is running. System
also be used, check for particular model numbers before downloading.
Otherwise, plug to other systems to test as practicable. On
Older Macs, HDDs
and/or their ribbon cables were very common failures. Memtest
will test memory while the system is running. Note that programs are
downloaded and then run, recommend using the Applications
folder, and to uninstall, just dump in the Recycle
that Mac Oss recognise Fat32, the universal file system, so ensure
this is usede as drive formatting when swapping storage between MS,
Apple, and Linux systems.
that the same physical handling rules rules apply for any Apple
systems, that apply to all computer hardware,
viz, keep as cool as possible, do not jolt or drop while operating,
(especially with SSDs installed), keep way from liquid spills, direct
sunlight, avoid excessive EMF, and, ensure a steady mains electricity
supply, where possible, etc.
systems now have problems with viruses and other malware,
antivirus is recommended, as well as Malwarebytes,
although be sure you have the genuine article of the latter. Time
can restore infected systems as well, but as for all Internet use,
common-sense prevails, and supervision of minors, in other words, so,
be always wary online, of what is searched, and/or clicked onâ€¦.OK!
can be downloaded from the Apple App Store, plus other sources, but,
is best left to advanced users, or, seek informed help as required.
Updates can be manual or automatic, but are best allowed to proceed
uninterupted, as with any OS, to forestall being corrupted, and
consequently causing problems even to the extent of clean booting
Make sure that the system clock is set to the correct time before updates
Oss defrag automatically, cleaning for speed does not involve file
accumulation, but more streanlining operations,
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3642953 Kappy's Personal Suggestions for OS X Maintenance
Plus https://discussions.apple.com/docs/DOC-4032 see also Everyday Mac, How To Geek/Apple
is needed, beyond the given system, or The Cloud,
and, a good quality platter external drive is still recommended. (WD
Black or Blue HDDs, not Green.) Note
that SSDs usually fail catastrophically when they do fail,
and, are thus not recommended for long-term storage, similarly for
are not as easy to set up as for MS and Linux Oss, but, can be done
by advanced users. Resizing partitions can be done with the OS disc,
for more expert users. Cloning entire Mac drives is achievable with
Easeus Disk Clone,
(latest version of which includes SSDs), so, for the ultimate clean
back-up, just swap the drives, update, and then reclone to another
HDD/SSD to store.
MS apps on Apple Systems, and vice-versa,
look for, and use, the respective equivalent native formats first,
seek advice, virtual
environment programs may need to used.
A serviceable Wintel computer system, PC or portable, should have the following operational factors:
1) Genuine O/S number, certainly within the software, and definitely on the case, sometimes there may even be a different number. So, always test with SIW or similar, also for other software numbers. Record these numbers, and store securely. Always check new systems for an O/S label on the case, refuse the sale if this is not present.
3) Note that modern
BIOSs will enable booting from a
4) Ideally, Windows
O/Ss should be constrained within a boot partition, 50 Gb min should do,
and, there should be one or more storage partitions on that
6) Recommend a clone boot partition also,
depending on system management expertise, easy enough with XP, though use of
Easy BCD is required for Vista/Win7/8. Consider also a spare cloned
7) If you just want the basics of Internet,
Email, and word-processing, graphics, etc, then consider using freeware Open
Source O/Ss. The gaps between these
O/Ss in performance, between Wintel, and now ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“MactelÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢, are always steadily
closing. Little if any Housekeeping is
required, and any
8) Consider that your computer system is a tool, rather than an end in itself, just to own and admire, with no realÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“world gain for money spent, and thus avoid pitfalls of blindly following marketing trends. Stay just off the crest of the marketing wave, do system pre-purchase research, plus, incorporate sensible computer management and usage patterns. Note also that XP has much life left, most new systems have XP drivers available, as of 2011, though avoid HP/Compaq, as they do not supply XP drivers for newer systems. Once again, ask Google re usage of XP in this regard.
Finally, if you do not want to know any or all of this, and/or perform the steps involved, then, be prepared to pay the full professional price, OK!
One motto and one maxim to observe, both most important for effective computer management:
Persevere, with Patience and Purpose, plus,
Those who do ask questions are fools for 5 minutes, but, those
who will not are fools forever (
The 5 Principal Computer Vulnerabilities to continually oversee and manage are:
Power, Cooling, Security, Housekeeping, and Backup.