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June 7, 2013

Maintenance Tasks for Computer Systems

It seems as though every time a new system is built and deployed, interest in observation and maintenance of that new system seems to fade as time goes by. Then, all of a sudden before you know it, the system has a breakdown forcing “all hands on deck” to get that failed system back up and running as soon as possible. Meanwhile, questions undoubtedly will arise regarding the possibility of any potentially “lost” data and methods deployed for its recovery. Listed are some of the most obvious and simple maintenance tasks recommended to keep your system running at peak performance, but usually turn out to be the least practiced.

First and most often to be performed is backup of critical data stored on computers should be moved or copied and archived securely so that, in the case of a system failure, the affected data and systems may be reconstructed without too much trouble other than the time it takes to copy or move it back over to the original computer or server. When major maintenance such as patching or virus updates is performed, a backup is recommended as the first step after completion in case the patch or update fails and reversion is required.

Disk Maintenance
Disk storage, such as your hard drive or local network drive, tends to fill up with unwanted files over time. Disk cleanup should be performed as a part of a regularly scheduled maintenance program to remove these unwanted and often un-necessary files. Also, files may become separated or fragmented, leading to reduced performance and response of the affected computer. Disk Scan and Disk Defragmentation is recommended to be performed regularly to alleviate Disk Sector errors and combine fragmented files leading to markedly improved computer and system performance.

Software Updates
Software packages and operating systems usually require regular updates to correct software bugs and address security weaknesses. Set-up your PC to Download and install “Windows Updates” automatically. Windows updates include Operating System patches for bugs and other system security related issues. These patches can reduce or prevent many unknown and invisible computer problems or vulnerabilities. Do not download and install unknown and unapproved software from the Internet. This is usually the biggest offense most PC users are guilty of. Unknown and unapproved software can damage the Operating System, or worse case, allow remote access to your system which can lead to loss of data and possible breaches of secure accounts without authorization.

Clear the Internet Browser Cache
In order to make web browsing as fast as possible, web browsers are designed to download web pages and store them locally on your computer’s hard drive in an area called “cache”. Browser cache (also known as Internet cache) contains records of every item viewed or downloaded while running an Internet session. So if you visit the same Webpage for a second time, the browser speeds up display of that Webpage by loading the data locally from cache instead of downloading everything from the Internet site again. Internet cache can be a threat to your privacy as everyone who has access to your computer can see some personal information by simply opening the cache folder. Also when the cache fills up, performance can slow down and your hard drive may run out of space. Make it part of your regularly scheduled maintenance program to consistently clear the Browser cache.

Computer Cleaning
Computer cleaning usually involves physically cleaning or vacuuming the interior and exterior of your computer, including the removal of dust and debris from cooling fans, power supplies, and hardware components. Dust and other contaminants may accumulate as a result of air circulation causing overheating and eventual component failure. Depending on your environmental conditions, computers should be serviced at least once per quarter, although monthly service is optimal. This will ensure your computers continually operate at peak performance levels.

System Documentation
If your system is updated, your system documentation should be updated. If your system remains static, then your documentation should also. Maintaining the documentation in an easily accessible location promotes best practices and is essential when trouble shooting a system, especially a system with which you may not be entirely familiar. Anyone that may be required to use a system should also have access to the documentation on how to use a system. Keep in mind that it may be wise to store a backup copy of your system documentation on a drive other than where your EDI system resides for disaster recovery in the instance of system machine failure.

For additional information on maintaining your EDI system, call one of our experts at (855) 283-2005 or visit us on the webs at www.1edisource.com