Thursday, October 30, 2008

Automatic Maintenance

We have covered this topic previously, but to make things easier we are going to automate some tasks through programs like Windows Live OneCare, McAfee Total Protection Suite or through a preventive maintenance plan.

Windows Live OneCare is a service that helps protect your computer by always working in the background and in conjunction with Microsoft Update for up-to-date changes. The protection consists of anti-virus and spyware, firewall, online Id theft protection, performance tune up, multi-pc management (up to three (3)) and data back up and restore. Once a problem is found, it will automatically show you how to take care of the problem and all this is done through a one-click solution. This is a paid service, with a 90-day trial and a $49.95 purchase price for the year. To find out more about this service, visit Windows Live OneCare at this link

McAfee Total Protection Suite 2009 also runs in the background to protect your computer without slowing it down. The features consist of anti-virus, spyware, spam and phishing, two-way firewall, advanced Web site safety rating, identity protection, parental control, data backup, and Quickclear to safely remove junk files that take up space in your hard drive and slows down your computer. As with other software of this caliber, automatic updates and upgrades are automatically sent to your computer via the Internet. The cost of this service is $69.99 a year for three (3) computers and $129.99 for a two-year subscription. To find out more about this service, visit McAfee at this link

A free alternative in conjunction with your Windows firewall, automatic updates, anti-virus and free spyware such as SpybotS&D* is to set up an automatic preventive maintenance plan through Windows Scheduler Task Wizard. This plan will clean up your hard disk of temporary files (Disk Cleanup) preferably on a weekly basis; Rearrange the hard disk (Defragmenter), preferably on a monthly basis; and check your hard disk for errors on a weekly basis. As mentioned before, this is free so all it cost is the time to set up the automation. Let’s get started!

The following are the steps necessary to set up these tasks to run automatically:
1. Set Disk Cleanup to run automatically
  • On the start menu, click Control Panel
  • In Control Pane, double-click Scheduled Task
  • Double-click Add Scheduled Task
  • The Scheduled Task Wizard opens
  • Click Next
  • A list of programs are shown, scroll down to Disk Cleanup
  • Click Next
  • Select a time and day you know you won’t be using your computer
  • Click Next
  • Enter your username and password – this is the name and password used to sign on to your computer
  • Click Next
  • You will see “You have successfully scheduled the following task…”
  • Click Finish to add the task to our Windows Schedule

2. Set Disk Defragmenter to run automatically
  • Repeat the above steps except you cannot select this task from the list but you have to click on Browse. Go to windows\system 32 and select defrag.exe
  • Click Open
  • Continue to schedule the frequency, time and date to start the task and select month since this is for a monthly schedule and select 1 day
  • Click Next
  • Enter your username and password
  • Click Next
  • You’ll see the successfully schedule disk defragment screen
  • Click Finish

3. Set your hard drive to be automatically check for errors
  • Repeat the same steps for Disk Defragment except select chkdsk.exe
  • Select weekly for frequency
  • Follow the remaining steps as noted above

Take the time to choose automating your maintenance process for a proactive instead of a reactive approach to your computer maintenance. In addition, take advantage of your Windows Help and Support Center to keep abreast of what is new on the security scene via Windows. I hope this information is of help to you and will allow you to take steps necessary to keep your computer running at its peak.

As always, email me with your topics and let’s have a good time learning together!

*Will do a write up on Spybot Search & Destroy at a later date.


Anonymous said...

For defragging automatically, in my view the best program is Diskeeper. It defrags large/severely fragmented drives with ease in the automatic mode. You can continue to work as if it doesnt exist.Also heard it defrags very efficiently even in low free space conditions.

AvaByGrace said...

Hi Anonymous;
Thank you for taking the time to comment on this post and your opinion as well as helping to educate us on this topic.

Diskeeper is a paid-for service where as, the information in the automatic preventative maintenance plan pertains to software already part of the Windows system, not a separate purchase. Since you have first hand knowledge of Diskeeper, would you elaborate a little more on its performance versus the Windows Defragmenter if possible? Thanks again and I hope you keep reading and commenting.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the help with disk cleanup and other suggestions. I'm retired and have the time to do things manually. I've been using Cyberdefender Security Suite satisfactoraly for a year now. It seems I'm the only one. Do you know anything about it? Toni

AvaByGrace said...

Sorry for not responding sooner, but for some reason this comment was place on hold for me to moderate. I have not used or heard of Cyberdefender Suite before but would research and inquire about it. Remember, there is not only one security suite that can do the job but a combination that would help protect your computer and your identity. The key is to have software that is constantly being updated to deal with the vast and ever present threats in cyberspace. I am sure with the world economy the way it is now that cyber threats will be on the increase so we have to be ever more diligent in doing whatever we can to protect our computer as well as our identity.

Thanks for reading as well as commenting and have a blessed and joyous New Year in the Lord.