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There are a few steps, some simple, some a bit more involved, that can ensure the longevity of your computer, keep your data safe-from being lost or stolen-and basically keep you from being forced to spend costly repairs or time away from your machine.

At the most basic level of preventative maintenance is keeping your software updated, especially Microsoft Updates. These updates help fix recently discovered security holes in the system-vulnerabilities that malicious people can exploit in order to do all variety of nefarious things to your computer. They can lock up your precious data, keeping you from accessing your files or delete the files entirely. The other major threat that can result from hackers gaining access to your machine is identity theft. The thief’s can gather passwords, social security numbers, nearly anything they desire once they have access to your computer. Identity theft is a major problem facing Americans today, with the total monetary damage reaching hundreds of billions of dollars, with the average loss per person being nearly five thousand dollars. But by keeping your operating system properly and timely updated, you stand a much better chance at avoiding what could be an incredible headache.

Just as people brush their teeth so they won’t have to possibly deal with a costly and painful trip to the dentist, so should you take little steps to keep your machine clean. One surefire way to destroy a computer is to allow it to overheat. Your computer is made up of many fragile electronic components that can only work efficiently within a certain temperature threshold. Should your computer be exposed to excess temperatures for too long a period of time, it’s likely something will malfunction. This will likely inevitably lead to costly repairs and even costlier downtime. To keep your machine running coolly, use compressed air to blow out any fans that your computer uses, including heatsink fans, power supply fans, and possibly video card fans. This will knock out the dust and allow your fans to work much more efficiently.

Returning to the theme of updates, it’s important to judiciously update your antivirus software (and if you don’t have antivirus software, you need to purchase some.) The reason it is so pertinent to stay up date with virus definitions is that bad people are creating new threats daily, and if you just run a scan without first updating the virus software, your scan won’t find any newly developed threats, leaving you vulnerable. Other software to keep updated include Adobe, Flash Player, along with many other third party softwares that hackers can use to attack your computer.

One last method to extend your computers life as well as increase performance is to defragment your hard drive weekly. Doing so will allow your drive to read data more quickly and because the drive will have to do less work, it’s apt to last you longer.

The point of preventative maintenance is to save money and to avoid downtime.

Why Preventative Maintenance Is Vital to a Healthy Computer