Maintenance of My Writing Tool

This month, March has five Thursdays in it so I had to come up with another post. Because my blog is more or less centered around writing, I wanted this one to keep in sync with the motif but not require a follow-up.

Maintenance of My Writing Tool

Several years ago I did a post about free software programs that would help keep a PC running smooth. I decided I would do one again to help out my fellow writers and bloggers.

I am, pretty much, paperless in my writing endeavor these days. Even when reading what I have written, I transfer my work over to Kindle. Most of this is due to the fact my printer is on the fritz and I cannot afford a new one or have my current one repaired. So, I make do.

Being paperless means regular maintenance of the devices I use for my projects. Kindle requires little, just remembering to plug it in for recharging. My laptop and PC depend on regular updates of software and security and performance checks.

Jacqui Murray has discussed this subject on her blog as well, including software programs for this support that do have a price tag on them. My budget is way too tight for me to even consider most of those that have a cost attached to them. Would I spend the money on maintenance software if I was published? Probably not. There are programs that are free. More often than not, the only stipulation is they must be run manually–not scheduling. It is a small inconvenience to stay within my budget.

Advanced System Care

IObit offers this software free as well as being able to buy it with bells and whistles.

The free version will speed up, optimize, protect, and clean your machine. However, all but the defragmenter have to be started manually. It has what they call a Toolbox, which lists other software you can get either at a price or for free. Additionally, it has an Action Center that will tell you what programs in your system need to be updated in some way.


.

[You can view a larger photo by clicking on the images individually.]

CCleaner

This program has been around since 2004. If I remember correctly, I came across it in 2007 and have used it ever since then. Because I use the free version, I have to remember to bring it up and manually get it working on all the unwanted waste in my system. With the paid version, I could schedule it to start on its own.

It removes files Advanced System Care will not touch but will not optimize or help with problems like Advance System Care does. It will also clean my registry. It has other tools too that come in handy when the PC runs slow.

Malwarebytes

I use the anti-virus program installed in my computer, Windows Defender. I can almost hear the chatter out there with readers telling me I should be using something better. If I start having too many viruses entering my system I will probably buy the paid version of Malwarebytes. For now, I use the free version of this anti-virus software twice per month. So far [knock on wood], I have not had any viruses, just unwanted programs called PUP.

If you like what you are using to keep your PC in good running order, I suggest you keep with it. Sure, these contraptions are made on an assembly line but each one of us uses our babies differently so the maintenance package is going to be slightly difference. However, if you are not satisfied with what you have, you might want to check these three programs out. 🙂

§

Tomorrow my newsletter will be delivered to those who have signed up for the monthly article and list of posts. If you are interested in this alternative, the sign-up is at the top of the page in the sidebar.

“there’s no harm in hoping for the best as long as you’re prepared for the worst.” ― Stephen King, Different Seasons

 

Keeping the Banshee at Bay

Keeping the Banshee at Bay
Image provided by Dan
https://www.flickr.com/photos/damfol/

I’m not mechanically inclined. Most of this is due to the fact that I’m just not interested in that sort of thing. Whatever IT is, I just want it to work. I don’t need to know how it works.

I’m sure someone out there is asking, “Well, what if it breaks? Don’t you want to know how to fix it?” My opinion, it wouldn’t do me any good to know because chances are I’d flub up fixing it somehow and that damn thing still won’t work anyway. I’m better off relying on someone who adores taking things apart and putting them back together again.

When things go wrong with my PC or laptop, I feel as though there’s a banshee invading my life, my precious space in the corner of the “computer room”. I yell for husband or quickly push the numbers into the phone for my son-in-law. My husband doesn’t know diddly-squat about software, but he used to work with the hardware all the time when he was still active-duty Air Force. My son-in-law is the software wizard. He’s a programmer by trade, and can be quite accommodating.

Still, despite my idiocy when it comes to fixing things, I have discovered some software programs–free no less–that repair the most common of dilemmas with my Dell PC and laptop. There’s many out there in cyberspace that are professing to keep your computer running like new.

Now, I’m not so foolish as to believe all that hype, but some of them do help so my poor machine doesn’t freeze or act erratic.

CCleaner

I’ve been using CCleaner for several years. It does a marvelous job at keeping my computer running as fast as it possibly can without taking it to a technician. It gets out all the rubbish that slows my poor contraption down.

I can do the following swipes with this little gem:

  • clean the general workings of the computer
  • clean the registry
  • use tools that will show startup programs, browser plugins, duplicate files and folders
  • do a systems restore
  • do an analysis of a disk
  • do a drive wipe

Of course, because I use the free version, I can’t schedule these things to happen. Once a week I set time aside for this duty. Most weeks I just need the general cleaning.

Drive Booster

IObit has several programs that help with PC maintenance. All are good, but for cleaning, I still like CCleaner the best. However, their program for checking on the latest version of drivers is so simple to use, I took it on. It’ll even alert me when one is getting terribly old.

Smart Defrag

OIbit’s defragging program is another good one to have. I can schedule this one so my poor machine doesn’t have shards all over the place just because I get busy doing other things. Not only that, but it works in the background too.

§

Now that I’ve had a computer for seventeen years [not the same one, of course :P], I don’t think it would be easy to live without one. Sure, I could do it if need be, but I sure wouldn’t be happy about it. Keeping the contraption running as smooth as possible has become one of my missions in life. After all, it’s my main vehicle to the outside world these days.

§

What software programs are you using to take care of the health of your computer?

“I know there’s a proverb which that says ‘To err is human,’ but a human error is nothing to what a computer can do if it tries.” ― Agatha Christie