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[ The PC Guide | System Care Guide | Preventive Maintenance ]

Automating Preventive Maintenance

There are software-related preventive maintenance activities that can be automated. By using system tools that automatically run programs at a specific time, you can set up your system to perform various software checks and maintenance activities without having to remember to do them yourself. Most modern operating systems either have this capability built-in, or support third-party software packages that will do it for you. Of course, you can't set up your PC to perform hardware-related maintenance (cleaning, adjustments, etc.) automatically.

I personally use the System Agent tool under Windows 95, along with the Norton Program Scheduler. Since I work during the day, I have maintenance routines set to run during the middle of the day when I am not around. Many people run these routines overnight, but I save that time for doing backups when I need to. Here are the activities I have set to run automatically:

Some forms of backup can be automated as well. For example, you can use a program scheduler to automatically duplicate files or directories on a nightly basis. Proper full backups cannot be truly automated because they require the backup media to be changed regularly. However, you can still "semi-automate" them; what I mean by this is that you can start the backup before you go to bed and it will be done in the morning, with basically no intervention required while it is taking place. To do this though, you need backup media large enough to hold everything you are backing up. This is a major reason why I think using large-capacity backup media is very important.

Next: Preventive Maintenance Schedule and Summary


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