Free Tools to Help you Keep Your Computer Operating Smoothly

Thursday, March 31, 2011
Computers are not a luxury anymore.  Most school children are required to have a working knowledge of basic computer skills.  My 5-year-old grandson logs onto his father’s MacBook and watches his favorite movies via Netflix.  Before doing some training this week on this subject, I wrote out a list of the ways I use my computer.
Here’s my list:
  • Marketing
  • Training
  • Voicemail Switch Access
  • Accounting
  • Email Communication
  • Keeping Up With the News
  • As an Encyclopedia
  • Shopping
  • And the list goes on…..

How about you?  What would your list look like?
Since computers are such an integral part of our daily lives and business, we have to take care of them.  Some people just don’t know how to do that.  I’d like to cover some basics in this article, and give you some free tools to download to help you take care of your computer(s).
Keeping It Clean
In order to keep it clean, there is some routine maintenance that must be performed. This maintenance includes:
  1. Deleting temporary and junk files
  2. Cleaning your registry
  3. Cleaning up unwanted cookies
  4. Clearing your browser history once in awhile
If you don’t know any of those terms, you can do a google search and get information. Or, you can just take my word for it.  There are two free tools that will accomplish these tasks for you.  You should use both of them. The first is called Abexo. To download it, just do a Google search and choose one of the many sites that make it available.  The second is a tool called CCleaner, and you can find it on the home page at  That website has several other freebies that you might want to take a look at.
Keeping It Safe
Staying bug-free isn’t just for pest control companies!  You have to keep your computer safe as well as your home. There are several different classes of bugs – Malware (malicious software), Adware, Spyware, and Viruses.  They all require a different approach.  The worst thing about a virus is that it has the ability to replicate itself.  Viruses are nasty.  One way to avoid viruses is to NEVER open an attachment that comes in an email unless you are really sure of the sender and you are confident that the attachment is something you are expecting and need.
Here is the list of free tools.  I’ll comment on them at the end of the list.
  1. Spybot Search & Destroy – The best way to find this is to just do a google search and because it’s free, you’ll find several difference sources for the download.  Just pick one.
  2. MalwareBytes – You’ll find this at
  3. Microsoft Security Essentials – Microsoft finally did something really right. This is an awesome product.  One word of caution: DO NOT run this along with another anti-virus product, such as AVG or Norton or McAfee.  Pick one and stick with it.  I am very satisfied with the Microsoft product, and would not pay for this service when something of this quality and effectiveness is free.  Look for this product on Microsoft’s home page /security_essentials.

I run MalwareBytes and Microsoft Security Essentials, and I could add Spybot if I wanted to without any conflict.
Keep It Organized

Degragging your hard drive is mandatory if you want to keep your computer running up to speed, literally (no pun intended).  Here’s a word picture for what defragging will do.  Let’s suppose you live in a house and you constantly take things out of drawers, out of cabinets, off bookshelves, etc. and you never put them completely away.  Pretty soon, you’d have a hard time finding things – it would take you a long time to locate items that had become separated or even lost.  This is what happens on your hard drive when you constantly use it to access information.  Defragging fixes that – it organizes your data and puts it all back where it’s supposed to be.
I defrag once a week, and more often if I see things freezing up, or slowing down.  If I am seeing these symptons, I will also clean the registry, run an optimizer and reboot.
Some people don’t do it as often, but whatever you do, make sure it’s regular.
Here’s my best tip for a free defrag tool:  Defraggler.  It’s also from, the same company where I recommended you get CCleaner.
I hope I’ve been able to educate you and provide some useful tools that will cost you nothing but the download time.
Check out to get more information that could be a big help to you as you run your small business.

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