Helpful Hints 2018-07-19T10:34:08+00:00

Helpful Hints

Here, George Paterson Computer Services Ltd provides you with some helpful hints to keep your PC/Laptop running smoothly.

It is becoming increasingly important to ensure your IT equipment is adequately protected. Also, it is important that Internet Security and Windows updates are up to date. Make sure that your data is protected, you can easily buy a new PC but you cannot purchase your data if you lose it!

Hopefully these helpful hints will help you keep your hardware, software and personal data safe.


You should always aim to keep your hard drive clean and tidy. Run the Disk Cleanup and Disk Defragment on a regular basis as this will ensure that you are getting the best performance from your hard disk.

Hard drives start to become inefficient once they are more than 65% full. After this point, access times to data begin to slow down. For instance, on a 500GB hard drive you should not store more that 350GB on it. At 65%, you may not notice much of a difference, but once you get 80% – 90%,things really start to slow down.

Temporary internet cache can take up enormous amounts of space on your hard disk. It is worth reviewing your browser settings to see how much space is allocated and how many days cached internet pages are kept for.

With windows 10, large amounts of space can also be taken up with Windows Update files. You should look at clearing them regularly.

Refer to your system help files for more information on these topics.


Taking regular backups of your data is the same as having house insurance. You only need it when something gets broken.

Think about all the data you have generated on your PC. Photos, videos, music, letters, spreadsheets, household and business accounts, emails, internet favorites, contact names and addresses etc… etc.. Now imagine that you have just switched on your PC and you get a series of beeps and a message stating ‘Hard Disk Invalid’. You can install a new hard drive and re-install your operating system and all your software, but all your data is lost.

At best it can be time consuming and inconvenient to re-enter all your data. However if you run a small business and you lose all your customer records, invoices, payments etc., it could cost you thousands of pounds in unpaid bills and lost work.

Your backup strategy must be to ensure that you have copies of all data that is important to you. This can be achieved by coping your data to an external hard drive. It is also important to think about fire and theft by ensuring you have a copy of your data held offsite. Keeping a copy of your data on the cloud gives you additional security.

Refer to your system help files for more information on backups.

Internet Security

If you are on the internet it is essential that you have some form of internet security. Internet security systems protects you from hackers, viruses, adware, malware and also spam emails.

There are also  many product provide a total security solution on a yearly subscription. These include Norton Security,  Bullguard, AVG Internet Security and Zonealarm Internet Security.

If you do not want to pay, there many free products available that cover Firewall, Anti Virus and Adware/Malware protection.

Regardless of whether you buy one of the internet security suites or download a free firewall, antivirus and malware remover – it is important to ensure that the software is kept up to date. This is down by downloading the updates made available by the supplier and regularly running scans to ensure that your system is clean.

If you do online banking or use your PC for online shopping, we recommend using a paid for solution.

If you have bought a security product it is important to ensure that your subscription is up to date otherwise you will not receive updates from the supplier and your system will be at risk!

Windows Updates

It is worthwhile to regularly check for upgrades or bug fixes to software or drivers that you are using. Most companies have a download page on their websites that you can access free of charge.

If you are using Windows 10 your windows updates will happen automatically.

Make sure that you have Microsoft’s automatic updates switched on and update your PC when informed that updates are available.

Microsoft’s website has many operating system addons, upgrades, bug patches and security fixes available for download.

Also ensure that you run regular virus and malware scans to keep your system running smoothly.

Shutdown / Restart

Windows has an option to shut the computer down in a controlled fashion from the start button on the main Windows screen. Please always use it.

When your PC shuts down, all the information regarding the current state of the PC is written to the registry files. This lets the PC know how to startup correctly the next time you switch it on.

If you simply switch off the power you can cause all kinds of disk or file corruptions. In the worst case you can actually damage the hardware inside the PC. (See tip on backups – you may need it if you do not follow this advice!!!)