Performing Off Hours Maintenance
A work holiday means downtime for staff but it also means down time for most computer networks and that represents a good time to perform maintenance that is often hard to accomplish during the normal work week. Computer performance is always an issue. Some of the suggestions can be automated but others will require someone to oversee the maintenance or perform the improvement. If you are lucky enough to have a Remote Management and Monitoring tool (RMM) or employ the services of a Managed Service Provider (MSP) then all of these tasks can be scheduled, allowing everyone to enjoy the holiday without interruption.
Holidays are a great time to reboot computers that are otherwise in use all the time. Prior to rebooting, the machine should be checked for any visible sign of a hardware problem. This is especially important for servers that are infrequently rebooted. Make sure you are using the operating systems reboot command and not powering off the computer before shutting down the operating system.
Reboot Network Gear
The holidays are a great time to reboot your network gear. Switches, routers, wireless access points and alike all benefit from an occasional power cycle. Be careful that any configuration changes have been saved and that you are physically in front of the equipment or you might be making an unexpected trip to the office to re-connect.
Uninstalling Applications and Freeing up Disk Space
If you are like me, you have a bunch of applications installed and some of them are never used. Take the time to uninstall these unused applications to free up some disk space as part of your maintenance window.
On Windows 7 onward, removing an application is accomplished by opening the “Programs and Features” control panel. Open the Control Panel from the “Start” menu. With the “Programs and Features” control panel open, click on the application you want to uninstall. You can also sort this list by size or date installed which can be helpful in deciding what to uninstall. Be careful uninstalling applications by Microsoft as they may be necessary for the proper operation of your PC.
Temp File Cleanup
Almost all modern software uses temporary files to help speed up operations and minimize the need to go “looking” for common data outside of your computer system. To keep your PC from being bloated, it's important to ensure that any clutter and unused files are removed on a regular basis. This includes files in the temporary folder, as they were once necessary but are now not being used. This article will show you how to use a tool in Windows or perform the task manually.
If you have a Windows based computer system, regular disk defragmentation is good for the improving your computer performance. When your computer needs to write data into a file on your hard drive, it needs to do it fast and it's not always able to find a contagious spot where the whole file fits. A section of a file might be written near the beginning of the disk, some in the middle and the rest of that file could be written near the end. This causes programs to run slowly, as the computer spends time retrieving pieces of the file from all over the disk. Defragmenting your hard disks arranges files in an orderly manner and places all the free space in one spot for new files to be written with less fragments.
This article will show you how do defrag your disks on your desktop and still enjoy the holiday meal. If you are thinking about defragmenting your network servers, which is also a great idea, please make sure that doesn’t affect your backups as modern day servers are typically backed up via image based software and moving all those blocks around make very large incremental backups.
Update your Browser
HTML and Internet browsing is one of the main sources of malware infections on computer networks. Make sure you keep your browsers up to date. Newer browsers better protect you against viruses, malware, scams and other threats. Outdated browsers have security holes which are fixed in updates. Get more speed and security by updating your browser.
Scan for Malware and Adware
This should be part of your regular maintenance especially if you are utilizing the services of an outsourced IT company. Regular scanning is one part of the preventative maintenance that prevents small problems from becoming large problems effecting your entire company. My favorite one time scan tool is MalwareBytes. You can get the fully functional free version from their site. https://buy.malwarebytes.com/get-trial/
Outsourced IT companies like PICS ITech perform all of these day to day items on a regular basis. In addition we work with our clients to make technology work for them in their business. Our clients benefit from a team of IT and business professionals that have worked in many industries and most likely yours.
This article was originally published on the PICS ITech Blog