I bought my second Laptop last year on Black Friday. Now, it still runs fine, but I can tell it's not doing well. It's making that I'm thinking really hard and overheating fan noise pretty often. I haven't had trouble with any applications yet, but I know it's only a matter of time.
What are some basics that every computer user should know? Along with some basic programs everyone should have. What kind of maintainance does my computer need, and how often should I perform it. Are desktops any different? (I have one of those too.)
Other than that the only maintenance a PC needs is a defrag every once in a while - and if you install a lot of shit trying to get free porn etc then you will have to restore it to factory every year or so.
You need to get Spybot Search & Destroy, remove Norton Antivirus [if it's on there] and install something lightweight, such as AVG free. Firefox is a better browser than IE because it doesn't let you run crazy activeX scripts that blowup your system. Do a full system spyware and virus scan. Uninstall any program you know you won't use anymore. Go to the run menu and type "msconfig" without quotes, go to startup, and uncheck things you don't need starting up. Besides that, a good defrag here and there is necessary about once every other month or so, depending on how much stuff you do on your computer.
http://www.spybot.com/en/download/index.html - Spyware removal.
http://free.avg.com/download?prd=afe - They make this one harder to find nowadays. Probably the best free antivirus.
Other than that just uninstall what you're not using, and while you're in msconfig, stay away from services.
The guy's probably not going to know what's what. http://www.blackviper.com/ is a good place to get your head around basic process management. This is more of a deal in lower RAM situations in XP, once you get into Vista and 3GB+ RAM, it's not a big deal.