Preventive Maintenance Tools – CompTIA A+ 220-802: 1.7

If you want to maintain the uptime of your systems, you’ll want to use the best preventive maintenance tools. In this video, you’ll learn of built-in maintenance tools that you can use to keep your computer running.

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Microsoft Windows has some very nice backup utilities already built into the operating system. In Windows XP, you’ll find the backup under All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, and there’s an option there for Backup. You can also start this from the Command line by typing in ntbackup.

In Windows Vista and Windows 7, you go to the Control Panel under Backup and Restore. And in Windows 7, you can even have your backup create an image for you. This is something called a virtual hard drive, or a VHD. This can even be a bootable image. This makes it very simple to recover.

The backup utility will back up individual files. It will back up the entire drive. You can even have it create a bootable recovery disk in this configuration, as well. That way, if something does occur on your system, you might have a recovery disk to boot from and a separate image that you could pull files from or boot from the image itself inside of Windows 7.

There are different backup options and capabilities depending on the operating system. So make sure you look at your Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 to see which one of these configuration settings might apply to you,

If you’ve ever made a change to your operating system– maybe you’ve loaded a new driver or you’ve added in a piece of hardware– and then you try to start your computer and realize it’s not working any longer, you might want to take advantage of the capability called System Restore.

System Restore will effectively rewind your computer back to a previous date and time. It will take your entire configuration and return it to what that configuration was originally. That way, if you make this configuration change and something bad happens, you can easily just click a button.

You don’t have to take a backup and restore that entire backup to your computer. You can simply tell Windows to rewind itself and use the previous configuration.

If you can’t start your operating system at all, you can start with the F8 key to launch the Advanced Boot Options. And inside of that, you’ll have Repair options that you can then use to start up System Restore. But if your operating system is working Windows XP, you can go to the Control Panel under System and choose System Restore.

And in Windows 7 and Windows Vista, you go to All Programs-Accessories-System Tools-System Restore. And you will get the options available and where you can back up to, to what date and what time.

Keep in mind that this may not repair things if you’ve been infected with a virus. The bad guys know that this is one of the things that you use.

So when they infect your computer, they tend to also infect any system restorations that you might have waiting for you on the drive. So in those cases, you would have to restore from a previous backup and overwrite what happens to be on your computer.

System Restore is so easy to use. You simply choose the date and time. And it will reset your computer, reboot, and now you’re back to your original configuration. If you’re concerned that your hard drive or the file system inside of your computer happens to have a problem, maybe you want to perform some tests.

And one great test is to run the Check Disk utility. This will look at the logical structure of the files and directories in the operating system. And you also have the option to go all the way down to the drive itself and look at the physical disk sector by sector to see if it’s able to read and write to that information, as well.

You can access this in a graphical front end through the Error Checking option under the Properties for the drive. And it may say that we need to reboot and start this process. If you wanted to run it manually, you can also go to the Command line and type chkdsk, and you’ll see a number of options available to run this check disk command.

Another common preventive maintenance utility you’ll use, especially in environments that have spinning drives, is the Disk Defragmenter. This is going to take these files that are fragmented all over our drive and consolidate all of those pieces so that they’re all sitting close together on the drive. And that should improve the response time to read and write information to that file.

You can run this from the graphical view if you go to the Drive Properties. And you can view the Tools tab to run the Disk Defragmenter. If you’re at a Command line, you can choose the command defrag to open this prompt and see what options are available to you.

If you’re running in Windows Vista or Windows 7, the Disk Defragmenter is already configured to run automatically every week. In Windows XP, you also might want to add that to your Task Scheduler. That way you can be assured that every week you will have a system that is completely defragmented and running as quickly as possible.