Why You Need to Maintain Your Windows PC

by Tim Chesonis | Last Updated:  August 10, 2020

Introduction

New computers feel fresh and responsive, but with time and neglect, they begin to feel sluggish and can become frustrating to use.

There are several reasons why this can happen, including programs that run in the background, installed bloatware, outdated or corrupt drivers, and hard drives riddled with temp files that are almost full.

Just like a car requires a regular oil change, your computer needs a regular check-up to ensure that it will continue to run in tip-top shape.

Windows Becomes Sluggish Over Time

Unless you make it a point to properly maintain your computer, it will become sluggish over time, not to mention extremely frustrating to use.

There are several reasons as to why this can occur, some of which are listed below, but understand that you will need to take proactive steps in order to prevent this from occurring, (but we’ll get to that in our last lesson).

Again, here are just a few things that will slow your computer over time.

1) Start-up Programs Running in the Background

This has got to be one of my biggest pet-peeves.  Let me explain.  Sometimes, when you install a Windows application, it places a small executable program in the Startup Menu.  This causes that application, (weather you want it to or not), to automatically run in the background every time you reboot your computer.  The reason application vendors do this, is to force their application will launch faster if you happen to run it.  

But what if you rarely use the application in question, if ever?  These problems that run in the background take up valuable system resources.  The more system resources that these programs utilize, the less system resources you have available to run other programs that you do frequently use.

Programs that needlessly run in the background are definitely a major reason as to why your computer may be running very slow.

2) Bloatware and Adware

Bloatware is software that is preloaded on your computer that has nothing to do with the operating system or essential software. This can include third-party trial-ware and utilities, which serve as an additional source of revenue for the computer vendor.  

According to computerworld.com, “Microsoft sells a line of what it calls Signature PC’s, computers that are free of third-party software. According to the product page, on average, the Signature PC’s start up 104% faster, shut down 35% faster, and have 28 minutes more battery life than the same laptops with bloatware.”

Clearly, there is an advantage in removing any bloatware and adware from your computer.  If you follow the steps provided in this course, you too, can see a significant difference in how your computer responds.

Adware is intrusive software that serves only to display popup ads  to the computer user.  An example of this might be found in printer software that obnoxiously informs you where you can purchase printer cartridges when the ink in your printer is running low.  Unfortunately, for adware to function, it almost always runs in the background draining valuable system resources.

3) Hardware conflicts and outdated drivers

Hardware drivers are pieces of software that serve as a liaison between the hardware and software.  Think of it this way, let’s say that your computer motherboard spoke Mandarin Chinese, and your operating system spoke English.  In this scenario, a hardware driver serves as the translator.  It tells the hardware what the software needs from it, and tells the software what the hardware needs from it.

Now, if you have outdated hardware drivers, then when the hardware tries to tell the software what it needs, the software is not able to understand it.  Likewise, if the software tries to tell the hardware what it needs, the hardware won’t understand it.  When this occurs, the hardware component fails because it can’t communicate effectively with the software.

For this reason, it is very important to ensure that your computer has the latest drivers installed.  This way, you can assure that your computer will run as efficient as possible.

4) Temporary Files

Any time you run a program on your computer, it creates temporary files that are stored on the hard drive. These temporary files can accumulate over time, and they will affect the efficiency of the computer, until they are removed.  Removing them on a regular basis is an important factor in keeping your computer in tip-top shape.

5) Your Hard Drive is Almost Full

When your hard drive reaches a capacity of 85% for HDD drives, or a capacity of 75% for SSD drives, you begin to limit the disk space that your RAM may require, should it need to use your hard disk temporarily to accomplish a given task.  

For further clarification, should your RAM become full, it will then create a file on your hard drive for anything it cannot handle.  Now, if the disk space on your hard drive is not available, your computer will drastically slow down.  This is why it is important to remove any unwanted software, or programs that you rarely use from your computer.

The Family Computer is a Magnet for Neglect

Most households have a “family computer”, which serves as a place where anyone in the family can use it to access the internet, use programs for work or for school, and even play PC games on. 

Playing games on the computer can be a lot of fun, but usually, kids loose interest after a few days or weeks of playing a given game.  They may install a game, but neglect to uninstall that game when they get board with it.  Because games can take up an enormous amount of disk space, it is easy for your computer hard drive to fill up fast, and as we have already mentioned, if that happens, your computer can become sluggish.

Children who install programs click “Yes” to everything, and may unknowingly install bloatware and adware that they are not aware of.  As you know, bloatware and adware can run applications in the background that will slow the computer down.

Unused, outdated programs have a way to hanging around on a family computer, because generally speaking, no one in the family takes ownership of the family computer.  In other words, most family computers are not maintained, and anything goes.

You Depend on Your Computer

Why do you need to maintain your computer?  Because you depend on it.  You need it for school, for work, to write papers and surf the internet just to name a few.

Let me ask you this, if your computer died right now, would you miss it?  How much would it disrupt your life?  How much time would pass before you bought a new one?  I’m guessing I know the answer to these questions, because you are taking this course to make sure that you know how to get the most out of your computer for as long as you can.  You are in the right place, because that is precisely what this course is all about.  In our next lesson, we will briefly take a look at the benefits of maintaining your PC.