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How to keep your Windows computer running smoothly

If you're a Windows computer owner, you know that keeping your device running smoothly can sometimes be a challenge. However, with the proper maintenance habits and knowledge, you can easily avoid common mistakes that slow down your computer and extend its lifespan. Here is how to keep your Windows computer running smoothly.

How to keep your Windows computer running smoothly

To help you achieve this, I've compiled a detailed guide with five (5) tips for maintaining your Windows-based computer like a pro. In this guide, you'll learn the importance of regular maintenance, how to avoid common mistakes, and how to develop simple maintenance habits that will keep your computer running smoothly for years.

So, whether you're a seasoned computer owner or a new user, this guide is essential for anyone looking to keep their Windows computer in top condition. Here are five (5) tips that can help you maintain your Windows computer like a pro.

1. Keep your computer clean and dust-free. Dust and debris can cause your computer to overheat and slow down. Dust can also conduct electricity, so removing it from your computer can extend its life.

How to clean the dust out of your computer

How to make your computer look and run like brand-new

2. Uninstall any programs or apps that you no longer use. This will free up space on your computer and improve its performance. There are two (2) types of programs/apps in Windows 11 and Windows 10. The first is the standard Desktop programs that most Windows users are used to. Then there are the Universal apps, UWP (Universal Windows Platform), to be exact.

And there are two (2) different places inside Windows 11 and Windows 10 to uninstall programs/apps, the Settings app and the Control Panel. With the Settings app, you can uninstall both Windows Desktop programs and Universal apps; the Control Panel can uninstall just Desktop programs.

How to uninstall a program or app using the Settings app

Windows 11

  1. Left-clicking on the Start button Windows logo to bring up the Start menu.
  2. In the list of pinned apps on the Start menu, left-click on Settings.
  3. In the left-hand column, left-click on Apps.
  4. In the right-hand column, left-click on Installed apps.
  5. A list of all the installed apps is displayed in the right-hand column. Find the app you want to uninstall and left-click on the three (3) horizontal dots (...) on the right and select Uninstall. If there is no uninstall option, that app is built into Windows and cannot be modified or removed.

Windows 10

  1. Left-click on the Start Windows logo menu and select Settings (the gear icon).
  2. Left-click on Apps.
  3. In the right-hand column, Apps and features will be displayed. Left-click on the app you want to uninstall and select Uninstall. If there is no uninstall option, that app is built into Windows and cannot be modified or removed.

How to uninstall a program using the Control Panel

Windows 11

  1. Left-click on the Start Windows logo key button to bring up the Start menu.
  2. In the upper right-hand corner of the Start menu, left-click on All apps.
  3. Scroll down the list of programs and left-click on Windows Tools.
  4. Double left-click on Control Panel.

Windows 10

  1. Left-click on the Start Windows logo button to bring up the Start menu.
  2. Scroll down the list of programs until you get to Windows System, and then left-click on it to expand it.
  3. Left-click on Control Panel.

By default, the Control Panel opens up in the category view but can be changed to large or small icons. A pull-down menu in the top-right corner labeled View by: allows you to change the view.

  • If viewing the Control Panel by Category, left-click on Uninstall a program under Programs.
  • If viewing by Large/Small Icons, left-click Programs and Features.

A list of all the desktop programs installed will appear. Left-click on the program you want to uninstall and select the Uninstall button at the top of the list of programs.

3. Keep your computer up-to-date with the latest operating system updates and security patches. This will ensure that your computer is protected from viruses and other security threats. Keep in mind that Microsoft releases updates for Windows on the second Tuesday of every month.

And if you use your computer for playing games, manufacturers of graphics cards will also release updates the day after Microsoft does, so you should also remember to update your video card drivers.

4. Use reliable anti-virus software and perform regular scans to detect and remove any malware or viruses. Independent testing labs like AV-Test are a great resource when researching an anti-virus program. And you can install anti-malware software along with anti-virus software. But remember that having more than one active scanner running on your computer will use extra resources.

But you should be alright if you set your anti-malware software to scan only when you start it manually. In fact, using a layered approach to secure your computer is a great way to protect your system.

How to use layered security to protect your computer

5. Avoid downloading and installing software from untrusted sources. This can put your computer at risk of malware infections. Always download software from reputable sources and read user reviews before installing. And make sure you scan or have your anti-virus program scan all files downloaded from the Internet before opening.

Regular maintenance is crucial for your Windows-based computer's longevity and optimal performance. By implementing these simple habits and tips, you can extend the life of your computer and avoid common issues that can slow it down.

My five favorite virus and malware removal tools

Having your computer get infected with a virus or malware can be an actual stressful situation. And finding software that can remove the infection can be even more stressful. So here are my five favorite virus and malware removal tools.

My five favorite virus and malware removal tools

As a computer repair technician, I have used many different tools over the years to remove viruses, malware, and adware. I have seen plenty of software that works like a charm, only to be bought out by their competitor or never updated.

Now some programs have withstood the test of time. Some of them you have to install fully, some you just download and run. But all of the programs listed here have been around for several years.

Anti-virus programs

The AV Test user interface

I get asked quite often about what anti-virus software I recommend. This is a tricky question to answer because there are so many decent free and paid AV programs out there.

I suggest checking some of the independent anti-virus review sites and see what is recommended. I personally like AV Test as they review only anti-virus and security software.

Windows 10 does include an AV program called Windows Defender, and it does rank pretty high, but it does have a limited feature set. If you are looking for AV software with a bunch of bells and whistles, Windows Defender may not be what you are looking for.

One of the first things you may want to do is check and see if your Internet Service Provider (ISP) provides a branded version of AV software. Sometimes you can get a complete security suite from your ISP for free.

But remember that the majority of AV programs look for viruses and malware, not adware or junkware. That is why I use several different programs for cleaning up an infected computer.

AV Test

AdwCleaner

The AdwCleaner user interface

When it comes to cleaning up a compromised Internet browser, nothing beats AdwCleaner. It can find the most hidden malicious browser extensions and reset your network adapter all at the same time.

AdwCleaner requires no installation; just download and run. It also does not require an Internet connection but will download program and database updates if it can connect to the Internet.

AdwCleaner

Malwarebytes

The Malwarebytes user interface

As the name implies, it does a great job of finding and removing malware. It is also fantastic at finding and eliminating Probably Unwanted Programs (PUP) and junkware.

This program does have to have an Internet connection to complete its installation, and it is configured in a full 14-day trial mode. You can deactivate the trial license and just run it when you want to perform a scan.

The only thing I do not like about it is that it sets itself to start with Windows automatically. You can easily change this by right-clicking on the Malwarebyte icon in the Taskbar and deselect Start with Windows.

Malwarebytes

SUPERAntiSpyware

The SUPERAntiSpyware user interface

This program is excellent at finding those pesky little cookies that browsers seem to collect. It also does an excellent job of finding and removing PUPs and junkware.

This program does require full installation but does not need Internet access to complete the install. The full version does have some cool features, but if you are just trying to clean up your system, the basic version will work.

SUPERAntiSpyware

Microsoft Safety Scanner

The Microsoft Safety Scanner user interface

The Microsoft Safety Scanner is a stand-alone scanner, just download and run. It does a fantastic job of finding malware that has dug itself deep inside of Windows.

It does have only three options: Quick Scan, Full Scan, and Customized Scan. The Quick Scan looks in areas of Windows that are most likely to contain viruses, spyware, and malware. The Customized Scan is similar to the Quick Scan but allows scanning of a user-specified folder.

The Full Scan does just that; it scans every file on your computer. This is the most thorough scan but can take hours or even days to complete. But if you are looking for something that may be deeply embedded in Windows, this is the type of scan you want to perform.

Now the Microsoft Safety Scanner is time-stamped and will only run for ten days after you download it, so you will need to download a new version every time you want to perform a system scan.

Microsoft Safety Scanner

Free computer diagnostics

Repairing a PC can sometimes be expensive, and that is why we offer free basic in-shop diagnostics. Give one of our professional and experienced technicians a call at (602) 795-1111, and let's see what we can do for you.

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Geeks In Phoenix LLC, BBB Business Review

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Here at Geeks in Phoenix, we take pride in providing excellent customer service. We aim to give the highest quality of service  from computer repair, virus removal, and data recovery.

Bring your computer to us and save

Repairing a computer can be time-consuming. That is why we base our in-shop service on the time we work on your computer, not the time it takes for your computer to work! From running memory checking software to scanning for viruses, these are processes that can take some time.

Contact us

If you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call at (602) 795-1111  and talk with one of our Geeks. Or you can send us a message from our contact page , and one of our Geeks will get back to you as soon as possible. Or you can stop by and see us. Here are our hours and location.

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