Saturday, December 6, 2008

Keeping your system up-to-date

While translation keep me busy most of the time, and there's always underlying pressure to finish off a day's work, I have forced myself devote half about  a day every week to check for updates to Windows programs, updates to applications installed on my system, running the Windows defragger to defragment the hard disk, and performing a data backup. Today, I'd like to share with you my once-a-week maintenance schedule with the main utilities I use.

1. Detect and update vulnerable programs

I use Secunia PSI (free for personal use) that checks my system, scans, detects and helps to update vulnerable programs. It provides links for easy download of patches and updates to keep your applications running smoothly. Here's a screenshot of the results of scan of the system by this application.


Try it. I found it to be very useful as it warns me of vulnerabilities.

2. Update checker

I also use the Update Checker from that scans my system and produces a list of applications that need to be updated. Yes, this is also free, and shows updates to beta versions of applications too. The screenshot below shows some of the applications that I use for which updates are available today, and the download links.



3. Disk Cleanup

I usually go to Start/All Programs/Accessories/System Tools/Disk Cleanup (note that my menus are in Japanese so the above may not be the exact words used, but you should be able to find the Cleanup program) and cleanup my system of unnecessary files, such as temporary Internet files. That does free up several hundreds of megabytes of space and prepares the hard disk for defragmentation, which is the next step here. 

4. Disk Defrag 

I then go to the same menu as above and select Disk Defrag under System Tools (Start/All Programs/Accessories/System Tools/) to defrag my hard disk.  The defrag process does take a bit of time depending on how fragmented your hard disk is, but regular defragging makes the process go quite fast and keeps my hard disk in good order.

5. Disk Backup 

Finally, I back up my data using Acronis (to back up the entire disk) and also my own low level data backup method that I wrote about before.

To conclude, however busy you are, minimal maintenance such as described above will keep your system working like a well-oiled machine and save you problems in the long run.

Have a great day!



Anonymous said...

Hi, thanks for sharing. A far as defrag is concerned, I use Auslogics Disk Defrag (also free)because it's really quicker than the default Windows defrag tool.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Melissa, for your comment and for sharing this find with us. It can be found here:

Anonymous said...

Diskeeper is another free defragging system that works well for me. They claim it is always operating in the background, though it always finds more to defrag when I make a point to run the program.

CCleaner is software that removes temporary files (and many other files) that are really unnecessary. It is not free, but is quite inexpensive, something like 20 dollars or so.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the information on some more utilities. The more information readers share, the more we all stand to benefit. I have used CCleaner in the past; I'd recommend it for those who know what files to delete, and backup the Registry before cleaning up Registry entries. It is still free, and available here:

Anonymous said...

@Melissa: I use Auslogics Disk Defrag (also free)because it's really quicker than the default Windows defrag tool.

I tried out the program you mentioned above. Unfortunately, I did not have a good experience with it on WinXP. After it finished defragging, I got the Device Timeout error, and had to use Chkdsk and repair the bad sectors. I sent feedback to the developers and have uninstalled it.