The ultimate preventive maintenance checklist
E-mail your computer users.
Let your clients know in advance what will be happening on the
preventive maintenance visit. Users get attached to their systems, and
seeing something change can be upsetting to them. In the e-mail, ask
them if anything strange is going on with their system or if they have
any questions for you. Often a user may be hesitant to let you know
something is wrong, thinking it’s no big deal or afraid of having a
finger pointed at them for being the problem. One of the most common
complaints you’ll receive is that the computer is getting slower. More
often than not, the user is becoming a power user, becoming more
familiar with the software they are using. This may be a good time to
upgrade the computer to realize productivity gains from the user.
Empty the Recycle Bin.
Some users need to
be reminded to periodically empty the Recycle Bin.
Delete .tmp files.
Before running ScanDisk and Defragmenter, delete all *.tmp files that
have been created prior to the current day. It will surprise most
people to learn how much hard drive space has been used by .tmp files.
Delete files that begin with a tilde.
When cleaning the
system of garbage files, readers might also like to check for any
files beginning with a tilde (~). Make sure that all your application
programs, such as word-processing, spreadsheet, and graphics programs,
are closed first since sometimes the temporary file you are currently
viewing uses a tilde. If the application programs are closed, the
tilde files can be deleted. Some users find they have a lot of these
on their systems!
Delete old .zip files.
Users tend to unzip the files but then leave the zipped file on their
Delete .chk files, and switch the swap file.
For those with
permanent swap files, it’s sometimes a good idea to set the swap file
back to temporary and then permanent again. This cleans out any
garbage (and therefore any possible corruption).
ScanDisk and defrag the drive as needed.
If your Windows 95
users aren’t running these utilities themselves, it doesn’t hurt to
check the disk and make sure the number of disk errors and the
percentage of fragmentation are within acceptable limits. For Windows
98 clients, use the Task Scheduler to automate ScanDisk.
Check browser history and cache files.
Check that the user history files and Internet cache settings are set
properly (cache size). Delete the cache files and history files then
reset the history files to no more than three days unless the user
specifically needs to store that information longer. By freeing up the
cache, downloads from the Web actually speed up since there is more
space available to store the temporary files.
Clean out Windows temporary Internet files.
If the browser is
Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, clean out the c:WindowsTemporary
Internet files folder.
that backups are being done.
Do you have a
network solution for automatically backing up user files to a server?
If not—and if you’re relying on end users to back up their own
files—ask users when their last backups were done. Make sure they’re
rotating their disks. Drag their My Documents folder onto a server
drive for them. Remind them to verify the backups by trying to restore
a sample file or folder.