First off, virtually every tool that you will need to keep your computer running smoothly is already in Windows ore can be found on the Internet for free.

Here are a few things a person should check on a regular basis:

Here are two items to keep in mind:

  1. Not all antivirus programs really are antivirus.  Many of them will infect your computer instead.
  2. System cleanup programs are not created equal.  In fact, most delete simple little files called ‘cookies’ and tell you that your computer is running fine.
  3. It’s always important to do your research before buying or downloading any programs.

And now for the list…

  1. System Defragmentation (defrag) – Depending on how much adding and deleting of files you do on your computer will determine the frequency of how often you should run a defrag.
  2. Examples
    1. My work computer is defraged once every 3 months because I am only adding and deleting small files
    2. My home computer, where I do lots of streaming, huge movies, etc. is defragged once a week.
  3. I would recommend you do it once a week and you can setup your computer to run it automatically at the same time each week.
  4. Do not run it once a day.  It will shorten the life of the hard drive from all the writing and rewriting it does.
  5. I’d recommend saving this to your hard drive and running this defrag instead of the Windows XP version. It does a better job.  I have recommended JKDefrag in the past.
  6. Start – Programs – Accessories – System Tools – System Cleanup
    1. This should be ran once a month or whenever it starts to feel sluggish.
    2. After awhile, it will bring up a list of file types and ask you if you want to cleanup any of them.  You can put checkmarks in front of all the files except Office install files.  It’s good to keep those there.  The key to the system cleanup isn’t the deletion of the temp files, it is the compacting of the older files.
  7. Make sure Windows Update and automatic updates are turned on.  It is important to keep everything up to date.  (start -programs – windows update)

That’s it!  The only other suggestions is to make sure you have 2 gigs of Ram (4 is overkill and can’t even be used by 32 bit Windows.)