If your PC needs help, there are warning signs:
– Windows responds very slowly
– Launching programs take forever
– The fans get noisy
– The system crashes frequently
And those are just to name a few.
While there are techniques and tools that will help you get out of such a mess, prevention is still better than a cure. You want to prevent hardware and software issues before they crop up, and here are the free tools that IT guys (like me) and average users find very useful in keeping their machine in good shape. And some of these tools can be found in Windows, so you don’t even have to download anything!
Temperature and Fan Analysis
There are lots of useful Windows tools that can monitor your hardware. But the applications that you would like to pay extra attention to are those that can monitor the temperature in your PC and the performance of its fans.
These tools work closely with the motherboard since this one component of your PC offers many opportunities for monitoring. After all, all of your PC’s components and peripherals are connected to it one way or another. This allows you to monitor the fan speed and let’s you keep the temperature of the CPU, sound card, video card, and power supply under check. When something is wrong, these applications sound the alarm.
Manufacturers often integrate these tools in their motherboard. You only have to find it, which is kind of hard if you are not that tech-savvy. If that’s your case, one alternative I can suggest is SpeedFan.
It’s one of the more popular temperature and fan speed readers out there, and it’s free. From the temperature sensors of the processor, the motherboard and power supply, heat production of the CPU and other important pieces of hardware, this small tool can provide valuable information!
Checking for Memory Problems
If you think your memory is showing signs of slowing down, take a look at Memtest.
A RAM checker is recommended if your system is suffering from inexplicable and occasional system crashes. It can also be used as an inspection tool if you are planning to purchase a used PCs or when you’re planning to buy extra memory modules to expand your PC’s RAM.
To use this tool, open Memtest and click on “Start Testing.” Memtest now checks the amount of free memory for errors. An even better alternative is Memtest86+ 4.20, which also checks how stable your memory is.
The freeware has its own integrated mini-operating system and can be used from a bootable CD or a USB-stick.
Once installed, Memtest86+ 4.20 immediately gets to work after start up, and it will keep on checking the memory for errors and stability issues until the user exits the program. After that, the program’s report is displayed where it shows how often Memtest86+ has made multiple passes through its test routines, the intermittent errors it traced, and more.
Speed and Error Control for Hard Drives
Bad sectors on your hard drive can lead to corrupted and unusable files. And if the problem persists, it won’t take long before the HDD is rendered useless together with all the bits and pieces of data it contains.
To avoid this, you can use HD Tune. Simply click on “Start Error Scan” after launching the program. HD Tune will not only scan for bad sectors. The tool graphically displays the bad sectors with red boxes, and allows you to permanently “lock” these sectors so they can’t be written on to prevent further damage.
HD Tune also comes with a benchmark function, allowing you to check your HDD’s performance against it. The test determines, among other things various transfer rates and the access time.
Summing Things Up
This is not an exhaustive list of free maintenance tools you can find in the net. An IT staff may need more, but for an average PC user, these should suffice to help you get more mileage from their PC.