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Windows maintenance, done dirt-cheap

Jon L. Jacobi | May 30, 2014
You don't need to buy a utility suite. You just need what Microsoft brought to the party, plus a couple of freebies, to keep Windows humming along.

For those of you who read the ending first, or like things neatly tied up, here's a brief synopsis, automotive-style.

Break-in period--remove unwanted software, disable unneeded background apps

30-day service (once a month)--Optimize SSD (Windows 8.1 Optimize Drive or equivalent), run disk cleanup to remove unneeded files

180-day service (every six months)--Defrag hard drive, search for and remove duplicate files and empty folders

Inspect and fix as needed--Upgrade drivers and/or BIOS to solve hardware issues; update software if necessary. Watch installation dialogs for unwanted side-installs of software. Disable background tasks that are re-enabled after software updates.

Required tools: Windows' own utilities, plus CCleaner, Wise Registry Cleaner, OpenHardwareMonitor, and Passmark DiskCheckup.

 

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