NORTH Idaho Real Estate Pro


10 Great Tips for Keeping Your Computers Running Smoothly...

Have you heard those terrifying words: Sorry we have to do a "WIPE and RELOAD?"  These 10-Tips can help prevent that from happening....

10 Tips for Keeping Your Computer Running Smoothly - Computer Maintenance

Business Man frustrated with Computer

I constantly have friends, colleagues and family members begging me to help them with their computers.  More often than not, the problems they have come from improper regular maintenance, not cleaning out their Cash or defraging, defunct Anti-Virus and Firewall Blocker programs, improperly shutting down, power surges, etc....

Following these simple tips should help prevent most of those annoying and avoidable computer problems.  ALSO, I want to emphasize two of the biggest "Tear Jerkers" .... BACK-UP, BACK-UP, BACK-UP (see #3) and DO NOT LOOSE or THROW OUT your SOFTWARE DISCS (especially the ones that came with your computer).... Keep them safe and dry.  You WILL need them at some point in time (see #10)!!!

1. Never, turn your computer off with the power switch UNTIL Windows has shut down. The exception to this rule is when your computer locks up and your hard drive is not running (hard drive light is not blinking).   If this happens, you can turn the power off without harmful effects to the hard drive. As cutting the power can also result in lost data or Windows files, you should only do this when you have to.

Following this rule will prevent permanent hard drive defects caused by the hard drive heads contacting the surface of the drive disc, and it will prevent a host of Windows problems.
Whenever possible, recover from crashes by pressing the Ctrl + Alt + Delete keys at the same time. Press them again to reboot your computer.

Woman Tearing Her Hair Out2. Never unplug peripherals from the computer when it is powered up. Unplugging with the power on can short out the connector socket or the motherboard. The only exception to this rule is if you know a peripheral is "hot pluggable". If you do not know what "hot pluggable" means then ignore this exception.

3. Backup, backup, backup, any data you cannot afford to lose to at least two separate physical drives. So backup data to external hard drives, Zip disks, CD-RWs etc.
The time to backup is when you create something you can't afford to lose. Don't wait until tomorrow.

4. Purchase an UPS(uninteruptable power supply) for your computer. This will keep your computer from crashing during power outages, and will protect your computer from low and high voltage occurrences.
An UPS is far superior to a surge protector and will save your computer from almost any type of power disaster. (See #1 above for what happens when your computer crashes.)

5. Run Scandisk and Defragment at least once a month. This will keep your hard drive healthy and prevent crashes. Alternatively, purchase Norton Utilities and use it to keep your hard drive healthy.

6. Do keep at least 300 MBs of your C: drive free for Windows to use. If you use Windows XP or Vista then you should have 400-600 MBs of free space on your C: drive.
If you do not have enough free space you will choke Windows and it will start dumping data to your hard drive, or it will just get really, really, slow.
Use the ADD/Delete tool in the Windows Control Panel to delete unneeded programs from your drive.
You can also use Cleansweep included in Norton Utilities to clean up your drive. If you do use Cleansweep or another hard drive cleaner, do not delete shared files unless you back them up. The cleaners do a rotten job of knowing if another program uses shared files.

7. Do not let a lot of programs load up when you start your computer. They use valuable memory and Windows Resources (Windows internal workspace).
All programs in your Windows System Tray (in the lower left of your screen) are running on your computer. Close them if you don't need them or run them and configure them not to load when you boot up.
Other programs running in the background can be found by pressing Ctrl + Alt + Delete at the same time.

8. Use a virus checker regularly. Everyone should use a virus checker. The best type of protection is continuous monitoring from a dedicated anti-virus program.  The second best thing is to use is the free reputable online virus checkers.

Man doing the Happy Dance9. If you have a high speed Internet connection you need a firewall program. A firewall program keeps those who want to hijack your computer from gaining access to your system. You really do not want someone else running your computer.
Purchase and run a Firewall program. Your firewall should boot up with your computer to protect it from invasion.  Do not think you are safe from hackers!! Hackers use search programs to seek out computers at random. Get a firewall program and use it.

10. Keep track of the software disks you receive with your computer and new peripherals. These disks contain valuable software drivers and programs for Windows and are needed when Windows must be reloaded. Keep these disks and your Windows software disks in a safe, dry, place -- you never know when you will need them.

So, be happy... Stop pulling your hair out, use these simple steps and these computer maintenance tips will hopefully keep you out of trouble.


Please contact Pam Jank with any of your Real Estate / Relocation / New Construction and/or Referral needs:

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho - City by the Lake

Pam Jank, Realtor, GRI, CRS, ABR, RRS, PPS
Previews Property Specialist
Your North Idaho Real Estate Pro

FREE MLS Listings Search at:
Web:  Coeur d'Alene Idaho Homes for Sale
Phone:  208-661-2282
Fax:  208-446-0660  Toll Free:  800-829-2555 EXT.1275
1924 Northwest Blvd
Coeur d'Alene, ID  838314


Pam Jank, CRS, GRI, ABR, CNE, RRS, Realtor(c)Pam Jank, CRS, GRI, ABR, CNE, RRS, Realtor(c)
Your North Idaho Real Estate Pro - Your Free Local MLS Property Search Link
208-661-2282 or Toll Free 800-829-2555 ext. 1275
Coldwell Banker Schneidmiller Realty
1924 Northwest Blvd, Coeur d'Alene ID 83814


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 Lake Coeur d'Alene

Comment balloon 12 commentsPam Jank • March 20 2011 03:42AM


Pam, thank you for the reminder.  I still don't back up everything like I should and I should know better. 

I'm going to defragment right now and I think I'll program my calendar to remind me to do so every month.

Good points to follow!


Posted by Constina M. Baylor, Broker Associate - Oxnard Homes, Oxnard Beach and Marina (REMAX Gold Coast Realtors Oxnard) over 9 years ago

Good information.

I'd only add that Keeping Your Computer Running Smoothly requirely one more tip:

  • Don't download Peter North Videos.


Posted by Jason Sardi, Your Agent for Life (Auto & Home & Life Insurance throughout North Carolina) over 9 years ago

Jason, not sure who that is... but I'm just going to take your word for it.  (Not sure I want to know??)

Posted by Pam Jank, Your Coeur d'Alene & North Idaho Real Estate Pro (Coldwell Banker Schneidmiller Realty) over 9 years ago

why would anyone throw away their software's cd? 

anyways, your post is really concise and beneficial... hope a lot of people will be able to read this. Keep up the good work!

Posted by James Harner, James Harner Group - Philadelphia PA Real Estate (Considering Selling Your Home? Call 610-310-7646 first) over 9 years ago

Thanks for the tips. I do not throw away the soft ware but have to look for them as I misplace them sometimes.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) over 9 years ago

Pam, these are all good tips for all of us to maintain and get the longest life from our computers.  Of course, many of us change simply to keep up with all the new bells and whistles.

Posted by Barbara Michaluk, Leisure World Specialist / Full Service REALTOR (Weichert Realtors | Silver Spring, MD Phone Direct 240-506-2434) over 9 years ago


Thanks for the tips and reminder  - just like Constina I really can't  remember the last time that I defrag the computer ; however I do run a systme virus checker often.  Thanks again.

Posted by Michele Cadogan 917-861-9166, Licensed Real Estate Associate Broker - (Fillmore Real Estate 2990 Av U, Bklyn , NY 11229) over 9 years ago

You would be amazed at how many people have no idea where their software discs are.  Big problem when they have to have a "Wipe and Reload"  all their programs go bye bye and have to be reloaded.  It's even more of a problem now that people purchase many of their software programs on-line.   If they don't keep a "PAPER" copy or back-up of their Key and password..... bummer.

Posted by Pam Jank, Your Coeur d'Alene & North Idaho Real Estate Pro (Coldwell Banker Schneidmiller Realty) over 9 years ago

If you've paid for computer service lately, you'll appreciate how valuable these 10-tips are!  It will save you lots of $$

Posted by Pam Jank, Your Coeur d'Alene & North Idaho Real Estate Pro (Coldwell Banker Schneidmiller Realty) over 9 years ago

Pam, Thanks for the great advice.  It reminds me that I need to do a few things!

Posted by Tim Jank (Jank & Associates) over 9 years ago

Pam - these rules are worth printout an pasting on the wall next to the computer ..... especially the back up one ..... but having a back up is only good if you know how to recover it or your back to the shop and $$$$ spent.

Posted by Kathy Clulow, Trusted For Experience - Respected For Results (RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage) over 9 years ago

thank you very much for the informative and interesting post. I get so much out of the active rain network.

Posted by Paul Gapski, 619-504-8999,#1 Resource SD Relo (Berkshire Hathaway / Prudential Ca Realty) over 8 years ago