I am planning to well maintain my desktop PC. It has the Windows OS (Windows XP) and connected to internet.

I do the following activities, on weekly basis.

  • Windows Update
  • Anti Virus Update
  • Scanning my PC with Antivirus

Would you please let me whether I need to do any further activities?


Back up your data!

  • more important, perhaps, than anything else :)
    – warren
    Nov 24 '09 at 13:12
  • 2
    Indeed, if all important data is saved, then it matters less to protect your computer with great methods. Because if all is saved, what do you lose, in case of a virus? Almost only the time to reinstall. Besides, don't forget that hardware can fail, hard-drives will most likely stop working some day. And in this case, only backup will save you from damage to what is important.
    – Gnoupi
    Nov 24 '09 at 16:29

When you uninstall something, use Revo Uninstaller to do it rather than go straight to the app's uninstaller. This will mean less garbage accumulates on your system over time.

  • And this is marked down why?
    – MartW
    Nov 24 '09 at 15:14

Windows XP was harder to maintain than Windows Vista or 7. My process was as follows:

  1. Windows Updates
  2. Hardware driver updates
  3. Application Updates (microsoft office, browser plugins, etc.)
  4. Data abstraction / organization and Backup (keep my saved data, such as documents, photos, etc. stored in a separate folder which I could quickly back up)
  5. Malware protection updates & maintenance, including antivirus and software firewall
  6. Annual Overhaul (see below)

I also did an annual 'Overhaul'. Once per year, I would do the following:

  1. Backup all data
  2. Wipe hard drive by doing a Zero-fill, and reformat.
  3. Perform any hardware updates and upgrades if I needed them. Examples included: BIOS updates, RAM upgrades, hard drive upgrades, and video upgrades.
  4. Hardware cleaning -- a lot of dust can build up in the system over 1 year, so getting a 30psi or greater air compressor and blowing the thing out will help to keep it cool and quiet, and extend the life of your components.
  5. Reinstall Windows XP fresh, and get all latest drivers and updates
  6. Install only applications I would use (I was always surprised by how much I had installed after a year, yet how little I actually used)

When Windows Vista came out, I have actually changed my process somewhat. First, I actually don't use third-party antivirus or firewall software anymore. I'm pretty careful about what I download and what websites I visit, and for over 2 years, I've been virus free :) Obviously this isn't ideal for everyone -- especially anyone who has a PC used by more than one person, or somebody with kids.

Second, Vista seems to do a MUCH better job of maintaining its performance levels compared to Windows XP, which would get slow over time. I will do a defrag from time-to-time, but beyond that, Vista doesn't seem to need the reinstall like XP did.

Hope this helps!


Defragging the hard drive regularly (monthly).

Anti-spyware software, unless the anti-virus package you're already using covers that. A secondary line of defense couldn't hurt, although you probably don't want that one to also be scanning real-time.

As others have mentioned, you need to keep your other software up-to-date. I have used Secunia Personal Software Inspector and FileHippo's Update Checker and found them both to be pretty good at helping with that.

Edit: I also like CCleaner for cleaning up leftover junk in the registry.

But you have the absolute essentials: keeping Windows and your anti-virus up-to-date.


It sounds like you're pretty secure. As long as you stay updated, don't download untrusted software/executable files, and don't open email attachments from people you don't know.

XP has a Firewall too, is that also enabled?

  • Turn off autoplay - both on fixed and removable drives - you can use Tweak UI for that.
  • Keep all of your software updated.
  • Don't download anything from untrusted sources, think twice before executing anything downloaded.
  • What's wrong with having autoplay on? Although I can imagine it may use resources for the little thing it does.
    – GurdeepS
    Nov 24 '09 at 12:51
  • 1
    Malware uses autoplay to spread. As far as I'm concerned, leaving it on is a security risk. Besides, it's not that useful anyway. Nov 24 '09 at 13:11
  • If autoplay is on, something can infect your PC and every device connected to it silently. A virus spread like that through my school, via usb sticks.
    – Phoshi
    Nov 24 '09 at 13:19
  • It isn't that much of an issue with Windows Vista and Windows 7 as it displays a dialog before attempting any action. You can then simply dismiss it when inserting non-trusted media. On Windows XP and lower, disabling it is a must. Nov 24 '09 at 16:14

create 'good' drive image, this is particularly handy when you have your drive partitioned (divided between system and user files).

and you can't go wrong making it a habit to run 'untrusted' applications (which is pretty much anything imternet related) in a virtualized environment.


Besides Windows Update, running antivirus regularly (about once a week), and keeping drivers updated, use at least one system cleaner. CCleaner and Advanced System Care 3 are two excellent cleaners that I use regularly and highly recommend.

Also, once in a while, make sure to defrag your disk(s), and run Disk Cleanup (a native tool in Windows to help keep your disks clean). Disk Cleanup is found by clicking My Computer, right-clicking your primary disk (or partition), often called 'Local Disk', and then "Disk Cleanup", to the below right of the pie chart. If you go to the second tab in the dialog box that opens, you have the option to delete all but the most recent Restore point, which can be a real space saver, depending on how much software you install and uninstall, etc...

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