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Care and feeding of your computer

Windows Update is the online extension of Windows. It is a Web site where you find the most recent updates for your operating system, software programs, and hardware. Windows Update scans your computer and lists the code updates needed on your system. Then you can download all critical, recommended and driver updates and install them.
To find available updates
· Open Windows Update (Start Menu - Windows Updates).
· Click Scan for updates to find out about recent releases for your system.
· Click "Yes" when prompted to install any required software or device drivers.
· To open Windows Update, click Start, then click Help and Support. Under "Pick a task," click Keep your computer up-to-date with Windows Update. Or right click the My Computer icon, select properties, select the Windows Update tab. Check the box for Automatic Updates.
· To use Windows Update, you need to establish a connection to the Internet. Check for updates at least once a month
· The first time you go to the Windows Update Web site, click "Yes" when prompted to install any required software or controls.
· You might need to be logged on as an administrator or a member of the Administrators group (2000 & XP) in order to perform some tasks.
· Multi-Language Feature updates only if needed.

Anti-virus updates need kept current. When you brought your computer home, it may have the latest updates to anti-virus software. The virus writers know this and write new viruses hoping you have not kept your software updated. Take some time and get to know how your anti-virus software configures. Most of the programs, i.e. Symantec, Trend, McAfee etc., use check boxes to display the recommended settings for your software. There is always the help menu. Use the live update button every other week or so even if you have the program to do the automatic updates. These usually just get the new virus definitions and not the product updates.

Defragment the hard drive on a regular basis. Once a month defragmenting is a good choice. As you use the computer, files are placed all over the hard drive. Defragmenting the drive gets these back together and your computer performs faster. To find this tool click Start Programs Accessories System Tools and select disk defragmenter. A window will open and then select the drive you want to defrag and click the defragment button.