Year end close for your Windows operating system

December 30th, 2016 by Stephen Jones Leave a reply »

1: Upgrade applications

Update of applications should be part of a regular maintenance cycle, but its a task that sometimes falls through the cracks. Ensure that applications are always current, so as to maximize compatibility with newer hardware and to support the overall security posture of a system. Don’t head into 2017 with out-of-date software.

2: Back up data

This critical task should be performed on a regular basis to ensure that data is recoverable in the event of loss, theft, or catastrophe. If you don’t have a properly configured, automated backup scheme, then manually perform a full backup of all your data. All versions of Windows since Vista include a modern backup application built into the OS which allows backup to an external drive or to a shared folder on a network drive. Although not as robust a backup solution as some third-party offerings, it works as advertised and even allows for backups to run on a schedule.

3: Update Windows

Windows XP featured the ability to integrate systems updates automatically. Such a simple feature has continued to be streamlined into current Windows versions to assist in keeping machines patched against malware and security threats. Even so, millions of devices worldwide do not regularly receive system updates. I can’t think of a better time than the new year to develop the habit of performing system updates to protect your devices and keep them stable.

4: Clean temporary files/cache folders

With large amounts of data going back and forth online and increased reliance on web-based applications, the temporary folders and cache folders, including the cookies, that store all of this data can grow to unbelievable sizes in a short amount of time. To free up storage space—and to prevent this type of data from being used to compromise your system and/or accounts—it’s important to delete these temporary files to clean your system.

Among the many applications available that offer system cleaning utilities, CCleaner stands out as powerful and easy to use. Even the freeware version has enough capabilities to clean out all temporary folders and caches, and it can make storage space available with its handy scripts. You can set it to run upon startup, so that your system is always clean and functioning properly.

5: Update anti-malware and run a full-system scan

The popularity of Windows, makes it a magnet for security threats. An up to date malware detection system is often the only thing standing between keeping and losing your data.

Additional security protections, such as a firewall and web and email filtering should also be used. Free apps, such as Avira, Windows Defender, and Avast also rate highly, though they have a slight impact on system resources while offering excellent performance. For business look at a tool like Kapserksy.

6: Use System File Checker (SFC)

Windows files get modified both when system updates occur, and when applications get installed and upgraded. Those files can also be corrupted by malicious software or incomplete updates.

When system files aren’t as they should be, weird things will occur to your Windows installation.

To prevent Windows from acting erratically or failing to load the system and/or applications correctly, regularly run SFC—the built-in Microsoft utility to check and fix system file issues. Here’s how:
1.Launch CMD with elevated privileges.
2.Type sfc /scannow to begin the verification process for all system files. As the scan progresses, any corrupt files will automatically be corrected from the cache stored locally in the Windows directory.

7: Uninstall unused applications

We all use a variety of apps to get work accomplished. Some are small, while other are large suites. Over time some of these apps lose their viability and no longer serve their function, which presents several problems Unnecessary apps can use up resources and present security issues. If the apps are no longer being used and re also no longer supported by the developer, then there could be an even greater security risk. Close out the year by ridding yourself of these unused apps before data loss occurs.

8: Transfer Windows data from one PC to another

If you’re upgrading to a new PC or swapping out your gear, then transfer your account profile, including files & folders and settings, from your old PC to the new one. Sadly, Microsoft’s Windows Easy Transfer does not support Windows 10. However, Microsoft has a partnership with LapLink to officially provide Windows 10 support for its PCMover Express software ($14.99-29.99) to migrate data to a new Windows 10-enabled PC. The application also includes regular and enterprise editions that may be used over corporate networks and provides zero-touch support.

9: Perform a PC reset if your pc is constantly playing up/not working

From Windows 8 on, Microsoft has included recovery options to fix non-working computers, as well as adding the option to factory-reset an installation. This essentially deletes all user data, including apps, and reloads the Windows OS back to its defaults. Depending on the speed of the computer, the process will typically take two hours or so to complete.

To accomplish this, follow the steps below:
1.Go to Settings | Update & Security | Reset This PC | Get Started.
2.Choose the option Remove Everything, as the best option to fully clean the internal drive, settings, and all user data.

10: Reboot Windows to clear sleep/hibernation data

Most of us are guilty of this one on the PC We use the PC for work and when done, put it to sleep. Hardly ever do we reboot, and never shut down unless the system has become unstable or the battery runs out of power.

Each time the PC goes to sleep it stores copies of the working environment into RAM and hibernation files so that when the user wakes the system, they can resume where they left off. The problem is that the files never get flushed properly until a reboot, or shutdown. So they just sit there taking up space and potentially leaving a security vulnerability, since some system updates require a machine restart to complete properly.

11: Upgrade hardware

For those working on non-2016 Windows PCs, it may be a good time to to upgrade it by adding more RAM or swapping out a mechanical HDD for a solid-state drive. Or you consider upgrading to a larger external drive or adding some accessories, like a docking station, to boost performance.

If you choose to go the total system upgrade path, performing the tasks listed above will prepare your current PC for its new owner by ensuring that your data completely backed up and ready to be transferred to its new home and that the older equipment is in primo condition for the next user.

12. Clean up your desktop
Files on the desktop typically go into cache and eat up your memory.
consider storing all shortcuts in a folder and then put one shortcut to that on the desktop.

Learn to use all the feature

The taskbar calendar which now integrates with Windows 10’s core Calendar. Click the date and time in the right-hand side of your taskbar, the calendar that pops up includes a full look at your schedule for the day.

If you’d like to be able to just bark commands at your PC, open Cortana by clicking the search field in the taskbar and select the Notebook icon in the left-side options pane. Select Settings from the list, then simply enable the Let Cortana respond when you say “Hey Cortana” option. You’ll need an active microphone for this to work
Short cut keys

• Windows Logo Key + Ctrl + D: Use this combination to switch to a new virtual desktop. Why do you need this? Let’s say you’ve launched too many applications at the same time that you actually lose track of everything! What could be better than switching to a clean and slick desktop?
• Windows Logo Key + L: Use this combination to switch between accounts.
• Windows Logo Key + C: Use this combination to wake Cortana up in listening mode.
• Windows Logo Key + I: Use this combination to open settings panel or the co-called Control Panel.
• Win+Tab – Activates Task View (more on that later)
• Win+Q or Win+S – open up Search/Cortana in typing mode, perfect for Queries and Searches
• Win+Left or Win+Right – snap the current window to the left or right, talking up half of the screen space
• Win+Up – maximize a window
• Ctrl+Win+Left or Ctrl+Win+Right – switch to the next virtual desktop
• Ctrl+Win+D – create a new virtual desktop

Task View, is a fancier and more visual way to view all the open windows that you have. It presents windows in a grid-like arrangement versus the horizontal strip of Alt+Tab. You can group together windows for a certain topic or task. The advantage to this is that you can have, say, 10 windows open but only 4 or 5 are really visible at a time. The rest are hidden away on another virtual desktop and won’t show up on your taskbar or when you Alt+Tab. Of course, you can change that default behavior, too. Virtual Desktops are a great way to compartmentalize your activities so that you don’t get overloaded with unnecessary windows and just focus on the task at hand. Virtual Desktops don’t work in Tablet Mode. Task View, however, works as normal and is in fact the default way of switching windows (you can’t really Alt+Tab on a touchscreen).

Here’s a fun little easter egg. Create a new folder on the desktop and name it exactly as below (noting the period after “GodMode”):


Once you hit Enter, the folder will change its icon and you will be presented with a folder that has a smorgasbord of settings all laid out in a single list. These are practically the entire contents of Control Panel and then some, but not the new Settings app. It might be handy to get an overview of everything there is to find as far as settings go, but you might still be better off using Search.

Offline Maps – you can now download certain maps for use even when you’re not connected to the Internet. Very handy for traveling. Just be sure to mind your storage space, as they can eat up quite a lot.

Customize the Start Menu using the “Ctrl” and “Arrow” keys to customize the size of the Menu

for many more tips look here


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