Temporary files scanning, free space checking, and updated driver testing; these are just a few of the several important areas of your computer that one must check on periodically. Other aspects, such as virus and spyware scanning, should be run more on a daily basis. If you stop to examine and crate a list of items and processes to check up on, it may be larger that you think.
Of course, some of these tasks are already automated for you. Providing you have a decent security software package, the virus and spyware scanning are already covered. You may have a program that routinely checks for excessive temporary files, and cleans accordingly. Perhaps you even have a program like Diskeeper to help stave off file fragmentation.
Each of these types of programs has a practical purpose on your Windows computer. However, in order to view information on what all of them are doing, you have to go to each application and view the current activity or historical log files. The average person may not keep tabs on each program. Sometimes it helps to have a good overall picture of your computer so you know where to shift your focus.
Every so often, a program comes along that is helpful in getting you the information you need in short order. PC Matic’s (found here) free scanning routine, rather the trial version of PC Matic, does a very good job of showing someone the inner workings of their Windows computer. This scan looks over many aspects including the amount of junk files on your computer, security threats, missing hardware drivers (if any), and a host of other areas.
When you open up PC Matic, the only clickable area is the Free Scan, illustrated by a large gear shaped icon. This is where you begin the assortment of scans run against your computer.
In this test sample, the scan took just shy of six minutes to complete. Keep in mind, PC Matic does not run a very detailed spyware type scan during this process, just a high level, quick scan (so it is not a substitute for your current anti-virus or anti-spyware software). Additionally, depending on the size of your registry, the amount of temporary files you have, and the overall speed of your computer affect the duration of the scan.
When the scan is finished, you will be presented with a dashboard covering all the sections of your computer that were scanned. On the left hand side of the dashboard, you have a brief Summary area, Security, Performance, and Disk results. Other than the summary box, any of the listings in the three other boxes are links to more information.
The colored boxes indicate one of four things. Green mean the test passed without issue, blue is simply information, yellow is a warning, and red needs immediate attention. Looking over the dashboard further, on the right hand side you will notice the Other and Reports areas.
One of the nice features of PC Matic is that each clickable item contains further explanation regarding the presented data. For instance, if you were to click on the High Security Threat Test, you will see a list of potential or actual threats.
Paired up with this list is a brief summary of the data, or actions to be taken. This may help alleviate some of the confusion people run into when running applications like this.
Moving on from the security section, one area to pay particular attention to is the Registry Test. When you click on this link, a list of registry errors is shown. If you notice a large amount of entries, they, among other things, can drag down your computer’s performance and should be addressed.
Perhaps you are having issues with certain hardware, such as a video card. Even if you are not, if the Drivers test comes up red, you should look into it. In this section, any hardware that is not up to date with current drives files, will be flagged red here. Should you need to reference the driver version, it can be located under the Driver Details column.
No scanning utility of this type is complete with a temporary files (junk files) scanner. PC Matic is no exception. Clicking on the Junk Files Test will navigate you to the Junk Files section. When you click on one of the red arrows, a list will drop down and display the folders where the unneeded files are currently residing.
Last but not least, and this is a particularly interesting test, is the top ten largest files on your computer. Though you may not use the results of this test at all, this section is worth a look. Odds are, the largest files on your computer are system files like pagefile.sys, and other files with dollar symbols in their names. Granted, these are ones you do not want to delete. When you do locate one you wish to remove, hover the mouse pointer over that file to see its location on your computer.
Once again, this version of PC Matic is simply a free trial scan. The actual product, should you click on the Fix All link, is $49.99 for a 5 license version. The scanner itself is a good way to find issues on your computer without the need to purchase the paid version. There is a good chance your software tool set includes programs to fix these very issues. If nothing else, the PC Matic scan is a good starting point to create a “to do” list for computer maintenance.