How to Maintain and Optimize Microsoft® Windows Vista® Operating System

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How to maintain and optimize Microsoft® Windows Vista® operating system

February 23, 2011
IT/286
University of Phoenix

Table of Contents
Basic System Checks ……………………………………………………………………………………. 3
Hard drive state ………………………………………………………………………………… 3 Temporary files ………………………………………………………………………………… 5
Fragmentation ………………………………………………………………………………….. 6

Windows Updates ………………………………………………………………………………………... 8

Windows Firewall ………………………………………………………………………………………. 10

Anti-Virus/Anti-Malware ………………………………………………………………………………. 11

Event Viewer …………………………………………………………………………………………… 12

System specific checks …………………………………………………………………………………. 14

Network checks ………………………………………………………………………………………… 15

Closing …………………………………………………………………………………………………. 17

References ……………………………………………………………………………………………… 17

This study guide will provide the basic step-by-step instructions on how to maintain and optimize the Microsoft Windows® Vista® operating system. It includes illustrations informative descriptions for each area covered within this guide.

Basic System Checks
(1) Drive State: Over time, hard drives can deteriorate in performance by means of fragmentation, excess “junk” and temporary files, and wear; which is caused by normal usage. The most common steps for maintaining the stability and performance of the hard drive (includes the operating system) are as follows:

a. Integrity: Files can become corrupted over time when tracks or sectors on the physical hard drive become corrupted. The basic steps for checking the hard drive is as follows: i. Open My Computer (Figure 1.1)

(Figure 1.1 – My Computer)
ii. Right-Click on the hard drive you would like to check iii. Select the Tools tab (Figure 1.2)

(Figure 1.2 – Tools Tab)(Figure 1.3 – Check Disk options)

iv. Select the Check Now button and then check both boxes in the dialog box (Figure 1.3) v. You will receive a dialog box requesting to schedule the disk check at next reboot; select yes (Figure 1.4)

(Figure 1.4 – Dialog Box)
vi. Once the system restarts, the disk check utility will begin, scanning and attempting to repair and bad tracks or sectors.

b. Temporary Files: Temporary files from application installs (or uninstalls), documents, systems crashes, or windows updates can take up a substantial amount of room if not maintained. There are three main directories (the third being optional) that can be cleaned on a regular basis. vii. %temp%: This is the temp folder where most of the “junk” and temporary files are stored. It should be cleaned out once a week with heavy use, or once a month with moderate use. (Figure 1.5)

(Figure 1.5 – Temp folder files)
viii. %windir%\temp: Files within this directory are also “junk” files but can include cookies, history, and temporary internet files. This directory has less use than the %temp% directory but can be cleaned out on a regular basis as well.

(Figure 1.6 – Software Distribution Folder)
ix. %windir%\SoftwareDistribution\Download; Over time, windows updates can take up to 4+GB of space on your local hard drive. If all updates have been installed and the system is stable, the files and folders within this directory can be deleted to free up space when required. (Figure 1.6)

c. Fragmentation: Over time, the use of the operating system; whether through copying, installing, uninstalling, or creating new files, will fragment the files stored on the hard drive. With this fragmentation, system performance can degrade and files can be corrupted. The easiest method to prevent file fragmentation is to use the built-in disk defragmentation utility.

There are several ways to reach the disk defragmentation utility, but the easiest is with My Computer. x. Open My Computer and select the hard drive to be defragmented. xi. Right-click on that hard...
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