Routine Preventative Maintenance (RPM)

What can you do to limit computer problems in the future?  

Or

What can I do before Tech Support arrives to save time and money?

Or

What can I do to limit my exposure to the common security threats and pc pitfalls?

The answer all these question is to routinely preform preventative maintenance tasks on your PC.  Unfortunately, most people don’t know where to start or find these tasks too long and complex.    So, for our clients we have tried to simplify these tasks by adding a Monthly Maintenance Folder to your desktop.  By pre-installing some software on your machine we have simplified most of these tasks down to a two pages of instructions and a handful of software shortcuts all in that desktop folder we installed on your desktop.

Monthly Maintenance Folder:

Current TrustedCTO.com clients have a Monthly Maintenance folder on your PC’s desktop.  We put this on the desktop as a reminder and to help simplify most of your maintenance tasks.   Once we have shown you how to maintain your computer the monthly maintenance folder just makes running those tasks faster and more convenient.  The  “Monthly” part of Monthly Maintenance Folder is just a loose frequency suggestion for running these routine tasks.  These items can also be run whenever your computer is showing signs of trouble.  Your folder may, or may not, be customized with additional instructions we have discussed.  Below are some common steps that may be listed in your folder’s instructions file.  Software interfaces change and we improve these procedures regularly so do yourself a favor and copy the most recent procedure from: www.trustedcto.com/rpm  then paste that over these instructions to save them locally.  This is not a complete list of tasks nor does it have in-depth instructions.  For those needing in depth maintenance instructions or even video links see the “longer version” at the bottom of page at: www.trustedcto.com/rpm   

Run these steps when the computer is having problems, when you see popups about updates available or around the 15th day of each month.  When possible complete these steps in order but to save time you can run scans in steps 3 through 7 all at the same time (if your pc is running fast enough.  If it bogs down try ending the tasks ore rebooting and running fewer tasks at once).  I do not recommend a novice should run Microsoft updates while you are doing these scans below.

  1. Run your customized Niniteupdater in this folder.   It must complete before your scans below will be effective
  2. Malwarebytes(Click Scan Now. When scan is complete makes sure that all threats have a check mark.  Choose Quarantine All, Exit when complete).  However, if Malwarebytes asks you to reboot then see “Note”
  3. SuperAntiSpywareUpdate, OK, choose quick or full scan, Continue, Continue, Continue, Exit)
  4. Spybot Start Center(version 2’7 or greater) Update, Update (re-Click Update again until both of the vertical bars change from Red to Green) Close the Update window with the X in the top right corner.  Choose “System Scan”, YES,  “Start a Scan”, Fix All, Close)
  5. Check that your Antivirus program has updated and scanned recently. This is generally Microsoft Security Essentials(windows 7) or Windows Defender (windows 8-10).  Some people have their own favorite antivirus program. If you are using Windows Defender in Windows 10. Here are the steps.  In the “type here to search” begin to search for: “Windows Defender Security Center” and click the shield.  The look for a green check mark on the shield that says “Virus & Threat Center”  If no green check mark then read the screen and try any options available to  turn it to a green check mark.
  6. Open Glary Utilities; Click the tab “1-Click Maintenance” Double check that all 7 boxes have green check marks.  Click “Scan for Issues”, Check the box “Automatic Repair”  Glary will now look for issues and automatically fix them. It will eventually complete and tell you all listed issues have been repaired.  You can close Glary when repairs appear complete.

Note:  When a reboot is requested by a program in step 3-7 above, please wait for other scans you are running to complete before rebooting. Otherwise you should start over any of these scanning programs which you had not completed all the steps before you rebooted.

 

  1. Windows Updates

 Windows 10 –

In the “type here to search” box at the bottom left of desktop search for: “Check for updates” choose “Check for Updates”, install all updates available. Reboot and repeat until there are no new updates when you manually re-check

       Windows 7–

  1. Start, right click computer, properties, windows update, and check for updates.
  2. Click optional updates, then click update now.  Restart if necessary.

Once step 2 is complete the 1st time, then repeat steps 1 and 2 until no new updates

 

 

  1. Update more software:
  1. If you are not running Spybot 2.7 or newer download and install manually.  (Ninite will not always be able to replace old versions of software automatically)
  2. Optional, Update your FlashPlayer for your favorite browser.  (open Firefox and browse to the internet URL: http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer
  3. Update your Adobe Reader for i.e. Browse to the URL:  https://get.adobe.com/reader/
  4. Malwarebytes will want to install new versions a couple times a month.  The new version by default loads a 14 day free trial of the premium version.  If you find that deadline annoying then follow these steps to end Premium Trial and downgrade to the Free version.  (The Free version is very good).  Open Malwarebytes, click:  Settings, Account details, Deactivate Premium Trial,  Yes (I am sure), I don’t need real time protection, OK   you are now running the free version.
  5. Check the support website of your PC manufacturer. (i.e. http://dell.com/support) Makes sure you are not at a fake URL. (ie dell.driverupdate.com) Fake websites are generally risky or otherwise expensive to visit.   Search for and install newer driver if available.

 

  1. Run a S.M.A.R.T. Hard Drive Test (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) with Western Digital Data Lifeguard,Seatools Source forge SMART Monitoring Tools or https://support.Dell.com Testing.

 

  1. Back UP!  It is also very important to verify that your recent back-ups have been successful.  See also: trustedcto.com/backups ›  and http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/30173/what-files-should-you-backup-on-your-windows-pc/

If you have any technical problems contact you Trusted CTO at 630-445-1586

 

Longer version of RMP instructions for DIY pc maintainers:

If you can login with Administrative powers on your PC then maintaining your computer is withing your reach.   Routine Preventative Maintenance which we abbreviate as RPM. For Do it Yourself (DiY) computer maintainers here are some RPM steps to consider. Over 85% of all computer problems can be linked to or prevented with one or more of these 11 items.  For our clients you may have a Monthly Maintenance Folder on our desktop.  If you have this then these steps are much easier.  So scroll down to the shorter directions below under the red heading “Monthly Maintenance Folder” below

  1. Reboot or fully shut down your computer regularly.  Let it rest and refresh.  Any electrical device will wear out with use.  Not using it?  Turn it off. Even if you run it all the time you should do a full reboot once a week.  Older computers running Vista or XP (Oh my) should get a full shut down/rebooted every day.  (Sleep or hibernation is not a reboot).
  2. Keep your protection programs updated and schedule regular full scans. If you are unsure  how to double check that that is happening then get regular help or have somebody teach you how.  See also section B & C below.
  3. Manually Update and clean your PC with the latest Malwarebytes Anti-MalwareSpybot Search & DestroySuperAntiSpywareGlary Utilities and Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool. As well as your favorite Antivirus Software. (Generally Microsoft Security Essentials or Avira) Some versions can be scheduled to run automatically while others can be scanned manually when you are  done with the computer for the week or when you notice trouble. Here are some “How to tutorials“: Malwarebytes, Spybot, SuperAntiSpyware, Glary Utilities 1-Click Maintenance, .   See also sections A & B below.
  4. Keep your computer Operating System updated from your OS provider (like Microsoft or Apple Etc).   life hacker’s guide to keeping your pc up to date or  Apple updates for your mac OS X  see also  USA today 2012-05-20 “13 Tips to Keep your MAC Secure”
  5. Keep your other PC software updated.  For PC’s you probably need other software to browse the web and successfully interact with the world.  Any common software is a target for hackers and malware programmers so they put out continual updates to keep any vulnerabilities closed.  Many hackers will post webpages with false updates so always get any driver or update from reliable websites.  Update weekly.  The easiest site to use is Ninite.com, but also remember java.com and Adobe Flash  That should get most of your other software updated.  Once that is complete, however, double check you updated everything by running Glary’s utility function for software updates.   These tools make updating software safer and easier.
  6. One downside of free software updates like filepuma or file hippo is that you can accidentally update from a free software version to paid version. So be read carefully the first time you update a free version.  Also you might be tempted to uninstall software you do not use.  However this is a confusing topic so when in doubt do not uninstall.
  7. Check your hard drive for early warning signs of failure,    On OS X verify permissions  repair disk.  For PC run a S.M.A.R.T. TEST  See you hard drive’s website for the ideal free software for example:  Western Digital Data Lifeguard, Seagate’s Seatools, Dell’s Online PC CheckUpDell’s Offline Tools (works for non Dell Windows PC’s too) etc.  If your drive fails it is urgent that you back up and replace your hard drive ASAP.
  8. Update your drivers. When possible only use drivers posted on the website of  your hardware manufacturer.  Most hardware companies have a support section on the website under their domain name.  A good example of a hardware manufacturer website is http://support.dell.com Google will give you several false matches for any driver you search for.  Look for the manufacture  name directly before the “.com” others Google matches are generally worse choices, sometimes even evil  virus links.  Read carefully.  (See: Is a webpage Safe?)
  9. Use PC “Error Checking” or (heretand also scan your hard drive for errors and repair them.  For Windows XP and Vista defragment your drive a few times a year. (Defragmentation is not normally necessary in Windows 7 or higher).
  10. Check and Repair your databases.  databases make programs like Email, iPhoto Library, QuickBooks, wordpress, Outlook and Quicken etc work.  (QuicBooks File Doctor) They hold your data often your most important data.  They are easy to corrupt and hard to back up.  Note:  item 9 is included here just as a reminder for DiY people.  It is not included in standard billing rates or services requests for RPM.
  11. Back Up your data and Configurations.  See our post Backups    Note:  item 10 is included as a reminder for DIY people.  It is not included in standard billing rates or services requests for RMP.

 

 

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