1. Make sure your firewall is working
Windows comes with one built in. Leave it active. It’s under Control Panel>Administrative Tools. Sometimes, they seem to turn off by themselves so check to be sure it is active.
2. Keep your antivirus software active
If you’re paranoid, run an antivirus scan weekly to be sure nothing is missed.
3. Back up your files
Back up your files to an external drive or cloud storage. If you have an automated system, skip this. If you don’t, consider getting ArchCloud or similar. If you use Windows, try their backup program. It’s easy to find: Click the Start Button and search ‘backup’.
4. Use the freeware program, TreeSize by Jam Software, to see what is hogging up your hard drive space
TreeSize Professional is a powerful and flexible hard disk space manager for Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP or Windows Server 2012/2008/2003 (32 or 64 Bit). Native 64 Bit support makes sure that available memory will never pose a restriction – not even on the largest systems.
5. Empty the trash
If you don’t even look in it, you probably won’t miss your files now, so it won’t matter if you throw it out.
6. Go through programs and delete the ones you no longer use
It’s intimidating, like a file cabinet that hasn’t been opened in months–or years and is covered with dust, even spider webs. Do it, though. If you don’t, every time you search, the computer must look through all those unused and worthless files.
7. Defrag your computer
To quote Windows, Fragmentation makes your hard disk do extra work that can slow down your computer. Removable storage devices such as USBs can also become fragmented. Disk Defragmenter rearranges fragmented data so your disks and drives can work more efficiently. Never mind all that geek speak. Here’s what you need to know: Run Disc Defrag by going to Control Panel>Administrative Tools>Advanced Tools.
8. Run Spybot or a similar spyware programs.
Spybot is free, which is why many users like it. According to Download.com, the program checks your system against a comprehensive database of adware and other system invaders. The Immunize feature blocks a plethora of uninvited Web-borne flotsam before it reaches your computer.
9. Run Ad-aware once a week to keep malware off your computer
It has a stellar reputation and is also free (although there’s an upgrade that you can pay for).