By following a few simple guidelines, you can maintain your computer and keep it running smoothly. This article discusses how to use the tools available in Windows 7, Vista, and XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) to more efficiently maintain your computer and safeguard your privacy when you’re online.

1. Free up disk space

The Disk Cleanup tool helps you free up space on your hard disk to improve the performance of your computer. The tool identifies files that you can safely delete, and then enables you to choose whether you want to delete some or all of the identified files.

Use Disk Cleanup to:

* Remove temporary Internet files.
* Remove downloaded program files (such as Microsoft ActiveX controls and Java applets).
* Empty the Recycle Bin.
* Remove Windows temporary files such as error reports.
* Remove optional Windows components that you don’t use.
* Remove installed programs that you no longer use.
* Remove unused restore points and shadow copies from System Restore. More »

The final version of Microsoft’s Security Essentials (codename Morro), the basic security solution the Redmond company is working on delivering for Windows, is expected to become available in a matter of weeks, at least this is what the software giant announced on Sunday in a note sent to beta testers. The MSE solution should come to the company’s client as the replacement for Windows Live OneCare, which will end its life cycle as soon as the new security software arrives.

“The final version of Microsoft Security Essentials will be released to the public in the coming weeks. If you are running the older version of the beta (1.0.1407.0), we encourage you to upgrade to a newer version of the beta (1.0.1500.0),” is what Microsoft reportedly said to the participants to its beta testing program. Microsoft Security Essentials 1.0 beta went live officially on June 23 this year, and we’ve already seen a series of updates leaked on the web and made available for download.

According to some estimations there are more than 400,000 beta testers for Morro out there, with 75,000 people downloading the Security Essentials during the first day of public availability, thus allowing Microsoft to reach its aimed number of testers in only a day. The final version of Microsoft’s new security solutions is expected to come to Windows users for free, offering them an alternative to paid antivirus software in case they are unable to purchase such a solution. More »

Introduced in 2005, Windows Live OneCare is heading for an early grave, with Microsoft planning to discontinue license sales of the all-in-one PC care and security product come June 30, 2009, and to offer support only as long as existing subscriptions will last. In the place of OneCare, the company is cooking what it referred to as a security solution, focused on core anti-malware protection and tailored to Windows 7, Windows Vista (which will have evolved to Service Pack 2 by mid-2009) and Windows XP SP3.

However, the software giant wanted to make it clear that codename Morro was simply a consumer-oriented product, with no impact whatsoever on the company’s current enterprise grade security products.

“So, people may ask how does ‘Morro’ compare to Forefront Client Security? Will enterprise customers use it? The answer is no, ‘Morro’ is intended for consumers, whereas Forefront products are enterprise solutions, providing the capabilities and features required in sophisticated IT environments, e.g. centralized deployment, management and reporting, security state assessments, scheduled signature distribution, update management, etc,” revealed a member of the Forefront team. More »

System Health Report In Windows Vista, users can have an extensive System Health Report generated for them in helping troubleshoot performance and reliability issues on their PC or to see how healthy their PC is in general. For the average user, this probably won’t mean anything. But for me, I’m the type of user that really likes having the ability to create reports that tell me about my PC so I was really excited to find this ability in Windows Vista.

This evening I decided to generate a report on my main desktop PC for the first time and see what it says. To have a System Health Report generated: More »