Computers need to be maintained just like any other device. When working with a computer for various lengths of time the computer stores temporary files and uses up various resources, which need to be replenished. One aspect of this process, which is crucial, is restarting the computer from time to time. On a weekly basis the computer should be restarted at least twice when in heavy use. I'm not saying you have to shut your pc down over night or anything. But the computer must be restarted in order to refresh itself. The RAM or random access memory serves like a try for the computer. All data goes onto the tray so that it can be easily accessed; however when the tray gets full the computer slows down. Likewise when the computer is turned off or restarted the tray is emptied and thus ready for more tasks and data. All programs use some of the RAM and so regardless of the tasks being preformed (anything from gaming to accounting) the computer must be restarted in order for the RAM to be refreshed.
Previously I mentioned temporary files. Your computer places many items in a temporary files folder in case you desire to access them again quickly. Web pages are one of the most common types of temporary files. The first time you load a web page your computer saves part of the coding for that web page so that the next time you load it, the time required and energy used to load the page will be less. This tends to be a fairly effective method of surfing, however the temporary Internet files (the files your computer saves for ease of access) must be deleted on a regular basis in order to ensure proper use of your computers resources. You can delete such temporary files by going into your browser options and cleaning them out. In Fire Fox the option is to "Clear private data" and is found under the "tools" section. In Internet Explorer the option for deleting such files is found likewise under the tools section under "Internet options"
Following the same line of progress you can choose to clean out all of your systems resources quickly and easily by going to the Accessories tab in your start menu (for windows XP users) and then clicking on system tools, and finally on disk clean-up. Disk clean up will give you the option of clearing all the temporary files your computer has saved. If you are not working on anything vital and are sure that all of your information has been thoroughly backed up then cleaning out all of your system's temporary files is not a bad idea and will do much more than simply deleting your temporary Internet files.
Going the extra mile for your hard drive will include defragmenting the disk. No major problem even for someone who never messes with his or her computer. The process is extremely simple. Simply go to your start menu and click on programs, then click on Accessories just like you did when you ran the disk clean-up, next click on disc defragmenter, which should be directly below disc clean-up. Select your hard drive (often times the C drive) and start to defragment the disc. What this does is it rearranges the data on the drive according to they way in, which you generally access it. Think of it as a massage for your hard drive, which restores balance and puts everything back in the right place so that it works more smoothly.
After all this simply restart your computer (it is completely normal for this to take longer than usual) and you are good to go. Temporary Internet files should be deleted about once a month and the other steps should be taken once every three months. If these steps are followed then the amount of time your computer stays running will be extended as well as the quality with which it runs. Remember that your computer cannot fix itself, you have to maintain it just like a car and an oil change your computer needs a tune up every now and then. For more tips on computer maintenance view my other articles.