For some time now I'm running several maintenance applications once a week to improve the performance, security and privacy of my computer. It usually takes less than two hours to run all of these applications and I would like to explain which programs I'm using, why I'm using them and what the benefit of using them is.
Depending on your computer setup and usage you might want to run the schedule less often, maybe once a month or every other week instead. The applications that I'm using are: Autoruns, Process Explorer, CurrPorts, MyUninstaller, Eraser, Disk Cleaner and Defraggler.
If you want to add more security to the schedule you could add an anti-virus application and one against spyware to the mix and run them as well. I usually do not do this however. The schedule is selected for the greatest efficiency. I begin by analyzing the current situation, remove programs and files that I no longer need in the second step, defragment the hard drives and finally erase the free space on the drives so that these deleted files can't be recovered anymore.
I'm using Autoruns to check the startup items of my operating systems. It happens more than once that applications automatically add themselves to the autostart without me noticing it immediately. The check usually does not take longer than a few seconds. I disable any new entry and lookup entries that I do not know about.
CurrPorts is a small application that displays the currently open ports on your system. If I spot something suspicious here I look it up at a search engine. You can basically see which programs have currently an Internet connection.
I check the currently running processes and services with Process Explorer. If I spot anything that is currently running that should not I investigate it. It if should not be running I try to configure the application that way or remove the application if I do not need it at all.
I tend to install many programs throughout the week to test them before I write an article about them. Instead of uninstalling those applications right away I do that during my weekly schedule instead.
My Uninstaller has the advantage that it can remove multiple applications at once. It is much faster than the Microsoft build in uninstaller as well.
Disk Cleaner is like CCleaner. It removes temporary files, caches, urls and histories from your system. Those files are only temporarily needed and have to go once a week. Most of my applications are configured to keep those information only for the session. (Like Firefox for instance)
Now that all the temporary and no longer needed files are removed I can start the defragmentation process. This usually takes a bit longer because of my two hard drives. An alternative to Defraggler is the excellent Disk Defrag from Auslogics.
Defragmenting the disks speeds up my system and prepares the hard drives for the next program that I'm going to use: Eraser.
Now that all files are in place I can use Eraser to overwrite the free space of my hard drives so that recovery programs like Recuva can no longer recover files that I have deleted before.
Do you run a similar schedule ? Am I missing a program or application that I should add to the schedule, let me know !
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