The Mother-in-Law Documents

Unlike a lot of people, I actually get along with my Mother-in-Law and a long time ago I helped her with her computer and created a quick, monthly maintenance document for her to walk through.  Over the years I have passed this document out to a lot of other people, as well as creating newer version to cover newer Windows operating systems.  So it is time to put them on the blog.  I have them in Google Docs and have made them public to anyone with the link and have listed the links below.

Basically what these documents cover are very simple things to do once per month to maintain and keep your Windows computer up to date.  A lot of these task can be set to run automatically, especially with newer versions of Windows.  But the document was created to walk users through doing the updates manually and getting familiar with them.  The documents all cover the same things, but as Windows has changed, so have some of the step by step instructions.  So lets look at the main steps the documents cover.

  • Windows Updates – The first thing all the documents have you do is run Windows Updates.  It is important to keep your Windows up to date to prevent malware infections, and just keep the system running well.
  • Clearing Internet Cache – The next thing the document covers is clearing your Internet Cache.  While this isn’t always necessary, usually one of the first things to do when your browser starts acting goofy is clear the internet cache.  This removes and bad history or cookies, which I have blogged about before in the post entitled Bad Cookies.
  • Antivirus Scan – The next step is to update and run a full antivirus scan with whatever antivirus software you are using.  And I do not mean just a quick scan, I mean a full, scan everything type of antivirus scan.  My personal choice for this is Microsoft Security Essentials, which is a free antivirus software from Microsoft that does and excellent job without bogging your system down.  I have blogged about this a well in the blog Microsoft Security Essentials: Revisited.
  • Disk Defragmentation – The other important task to run once per month is to do a disk defragmentation, this cleans up the way your files are organized by Windows and makes the system run faster, as well as making it more stable to prevent any disk corruption.  If you want to know more about disk defragmentation you can read about it in my blog post Windows Defragmentation.

I also mention at the end of the document to make sure to update plugins and other third party software such as Java and Flash.  There are so many potential plugins and programs that people can use, that it is very hard cover all of these in this document.

So if you are interested, please feel free to use and share these documents and I hope that they provide some basic maintenance reference to keeping your computer up to date and running well.