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How much time do you spend on computer maintenance?

by gogomama / January 3, 2007 4:19 PM PST

Being a geek I don't have the gene that makes me want to tinker with cars, I have the gene that makes me want to tinker with my computer. Configuring, tweaking, cleaning... these are almost zen activities for me. This got me wondering 1 - how much of my time do I spend doing this and 2 - how much time others like to spend on it.

It also made me think of why some people might be drawn to certain operating systems and car analogies seemed to follow fairly naturally:

Windows - A run of the mill toyota, honda, or volvo that doesn't break down too often and it's typically easy to find replacement parts for. The ones you see crashed most often.

Mac OSX - A high end sports car for those who like to drive something sexy and high performance. Hard to find parts for.

Linux - A classic car that the owner likes to work on in his/her driveway. Also hard to find parts for.

I'd say I probably spend 20% of my non-working computer time just tinkering with linux or cleaning/tweaking windows, and I spend a fair amount of time at the computer. Anyone else find computer tweaking as relaxing as I do?

I.B.C. Randy

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nopes
by abdmal9 / January 3, 2007 4:25 PM PST

not me

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Me either
by dro0001 / January 3, 2007 8:39 PM PST
In reply to: nopes

Usually if I have to "tweak" anything, I get grumpy!

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How much time do you spend on computer maintenance?
by dark_cwboy / January 3, 2007 9:21 PM PST

I always have to tinker with my computer im a car geek but I use a shared computer and my sister alway get the computer filled with spam and other junk. To take care of some of the problem I just changed the hoste file on my computer and blocked some of the sited she goes to she just think that page isnt loading since the majority if the sites she goes to are add supported. LOL well yes thats mean but I dont want to spend my computer time deleting viruses off my computer. Other then that I dont really tinker with my computer.

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(NT) with my tower sys: 2-8hrs every ~8 months.
by shawnlin / January 3, 2007 9:45 PM PST
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More maintanence on my PC than my pickup
by csliva11 / January 3, 2007 9:58 PM PST

And that's just sad.

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Nope
by Dirty Pirate / January 3, 2007 11:09 PM PST

Because after working all day struggling with bad routers, switches not switching, and end users doing stuff they shouldn't. And don't get me started on patching. When I come home, I hang out with humans or my dog... when he ain't mad at me.

My hobbies are relaxing, but they entail something physical.

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barely any anymore
by benanzo / January 4, 2007 5:10 AM PST

I usually set it up once and then image it. Then, whenever I do something *nasty* I just reload my image. I have another machine which I try to blow up frequently. It's getting harder and harder to make a linux install unrecoverable, even if you delete every file in the / dir while the system is running (yes, it's possible.)

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Parts for Macs are so easy to find.
by Ravensblood / January 4, 2007 5:51 AM PST

Unless you are discounting online sources or talking about Motherboards. otherwise they use pretty much the same components as Desktop PC's. (Although you should buy Mac specific Graphics cards).

I spend almost no time REPAIRING my 2 macs, since they run solid most of the year. But upgrading, cleaning organizing and backing up are a whole different story. that is a never-ending quest, and I love it.

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not that much at all
by ackmondual / January 5, 2007 7:13 AM PST

1 to 4 times a month, I'll update definations and run my anti-ad/spyware apps. ==takes ~an hour to do this

run AVG virus full scan overnight so ==it's little tome on my part
It currently automatically DLs new definations. Rest (background scanning) does the rest

backing up to ext hd and DVD-Rs takes about 2 hours each time i do it. Not enough lately ==at 1 per every 1 to 6 months

==dusting takes a min

So, no, I'm not very religious about PC maintenence. I do enough to get by in security retaining data.

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computer maintenance
by prostr8 / January 5, 2007 7:32 AM PST

I'm always tinkering. On Windows, it seemed like I had to do that just to keep it running. However, my big thing is looking for open source or inexpensive tools to accomplish things that others pay big bucks for. (think Gimp vs. photoshop).

Now that I just got a Mac (xmas gift), I'm spending all my time learning how to use it, finding software for it (ftp, IM, RSS, etc), learning the unix command line, etc. All the stuff I knew in my sleep in Windows.

It's a never ending thing for me. I have to consciously allot time for work, reading, and play. Otherwise, I wouldn't get anything done.

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PC-maintainance/Projects vs. Internet Surfing/
by castingRod47 / January 5, 2007 8:09 AM PST

Things have changed in my PC useage..I have been a PC-operator for more than five years..in the beginning I would spend alot of time Internet Surfing..it was about 5-months before I chose a Hobby in PC Projects-Digital photography..
..
In the Early times/I relied on McAFEE for all things..I had read some stories and just left the My Doc. Folder empty..
I enjoyed learning AOL 6.0/I continued all the way to 9.0..learning the re-Install of Component Parts and simple Security measures like password and sign off..I did some experimentation/Windows-ADD/REMOVE..
..I think for the first year I did not even OPEN IE5.if my Memory serves me on that Version..IE6 had me looking to CUSTOM McAFEE/I did restrict alot of Internet "surfing"..unless I had a OS Re-Install planned..
..
In the five YEARS/I think the last two developed very good procedure..
..
I started useing NOTEBOOKS from the first minute..I have the very first ITEM when I set up my DELL Dimension 2350/I wrote out each character of its Start-UP..I even have the Catalog from DELL that I purchased my 1st PC..along with the salesman Name and EXT-number..and the suggestion for a PC-Desktop..
..
SOOOooo...what's changed in my PC...Start-Up and Shut-Down Procedure..not one thing..from day 1[one] I held the line in Start-Up and Shut Down..not knowing the TERM:Pre Fetch..Microsoft explained that XP would LEARN its USER..it would REMEMBER my "actions"..this would be XP-Home Edition SP1..
..
I should just jump to todays Procedure..because a UPDATE Service is your Umbilical Cord to PC-life..No Updates..and sooner or later(sooner)the PC will begin to FAIL..
..
How To:
Keep my PC...running GREAT..
I have what I think is the "distillation":..
..I call it....C-o-n-f-i-g-u-r-a-t-i-o-n/////
and if you configure.....YOU MUST re-configure..
..
This seems the essence of my NOTEBOOK-notes..
..
So...before and after the Internet Connection..its DSKCLEAN..
..
I like to CHECK...Administrative TOOLS..the EVENT Viewer was a real start to PC-configuration..I now just DELETE the FILES in the EVENT VIEWER..but was reading alot of the LINKS to Microsoft from the EVENT VIEWER..its very educational..
..
Start Up Menu..I keep the Start-Up Menu as the primary Power Management Operative..it gets scrutinized..I only allow 3-ICONS to Display..I only use MY DOC..MY COMPUTER..CONTROL PANEL..SET PROGRAM ACCESS AND DEFAULTS..ADM. TOOLS..RUN/that's it for the START-UP MENU..
..
Disk Defragmentor/my most used TOOL..
DSKCHK...at least once per month..
and ARCHIVEING..my main theme for a CLEAN PC..
..
When I run a Digital Media Project I OPEN Internet OPTIONS/and CHOOSE the Connections TAB..and CHECK the BOX that says NEVER DIAL A INT. Connection..or from XP Security Ctr./Never Dial an Int. Connection..
..
I CLICK the SET PROGRAM and ACCESS DEFAULTS at least every SHUT-Down..
..
and I always DELETE TEMP. INT. Files and COOKIES..
..and IE7-HISTORY,,plus,,my ISP Browser HISTORY..
..
I would say it takes me 20-minutes to GET-Online..
..
I will choose some Component for a Re-Install..
..like..MSN.com..ADOBE Flash PLAYER 9 Active X/
the MODEM..the GRAPHICS Driver..maybe the Intergrated Sound Card..
even the CHIPSET Driver gets a Re-Install at times..
..
I try NOT to re-Install my McAFEE software../but sit ready to do that..
..
I would say as a GAUGE/what's it LIKE/to have a Good Running PC..
I would say 20-minutes.

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Maintenance versus Experimentation
by Deiailis / January 5, 2007 8:30 AM PST

My primary computer right now is a MacBook. Due to the fact that I?ve owned it for only a short amount of time, I?ve done very little maintenance on it. I?ve reinstalled Mac OS X on it once, just for the experience of it. And I couldn't find the X11 installer for it?silly me. (X is the de facto standard Unix window system; X11 is included on the OS X DVD.)

However, I own a Pentium III-class desktop computer from which I?ve stripped the sound card and modem card and added an additional ethernet adapter. On average, I clear the hard drive and install a distribution of Linux or BSD every two weeks. I playing around on computers; the experience is like that of playing around in a children?s sandbox.

Major caveat: I?m a computer science student ^_^;

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Too much time!
by laverntucker / January 5, 2007 10:06 AM PST

I started out in high school (just a 'few' years back) as a 'gear head'. My love of cars brought me to engineering school and a BSME. Computers came along (anyone remember the Commodore 64?) and have driven crazy since then. I took courses in A++ and Network+ to help with my new obsession. And more to the point, I spend far too many hours a week trying to keep the damn thing running right and at a reasonable speed (I only built this system three years ago and I need to upgrade. Currently, it has an ABIT AI7 Motherboard with a 3.0GHz Intel P4 Processor and 2GB of RAM with 3 hard drives and host of peripherals. My DSL is rated at 3MB/s and tests out at around 2.7 MB/s. However, my transfer speeds typically run around 370kb/s - what???) I like multitasking and expect my PC to do it also, only better. In addition I am all over the web. Hence, my virus control, internet security, Windows Defender, and a host of others, including myself seem to work overtime keeping the machine running at a reasonable speed. It is a constant battle keeping out and removing those viruses and spyware, malware, etc that somehow manage to get by all of real time monitors. And then their is defragging, disk cleanup, diskcheck, sfc /scannow, and whatever else is needed. Many times I curse the day those geniuses developed the PC. Assuming I'm not going to change my habits (because I shouldn't have to - if everything would work right) does anyone have any ideas to keep the computer and my internet speed where they should be i.e. FAST, including hardware changes?? Thanks.

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Hmmm....
by askaskask / January 5, 2007 11:07 AM PST

"Windows - A run of the mill toyota, honda, or volvo that doesn't break down too often and it's typically easy to find replacement parts for. The ones you see crashed most often."
I'm thinking you need to change "doesn't break down too often" to "does break down too often, but not so much that anyone is wiling to go get a new car"

And I have just to do any maintinance on my 1 yr old Mac...

And if I need parts, I go to the store on my corner and have someone do a little repair and 5 minutes later... bingo! The warrenty is gold. And I don't pay for the new part.

Even better... I haven't even needed to do this yet!

My dad's PC, meanwhile...

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Hmmm
by laverntucker / January 5, 2007 12:34 PM PST
In reply to: Hmmm....

Don't delude yourself. Mac, has plenty of its own problems.
A number of years ago, when I first started running into computer problems I found myself saying "I really don't think PC's are ready for prime time" and I find I'm still saying it today.

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lots
by nitecrawler2 / January 5, 2007 1:54 PM PST

Boy, for a computer question on a geek type web site there are quite a few disinterested replies here. I for one enjoy tweaking my machine as much as you do. There are always a few maintenance chores to do to keep everything running smooth. Defraging, registry cleaning, deletion of no longer needed files, loading the latest video driver for increased video performance, the list is endless. Keeping your computer running like a well oiled machine takes time and patience. Besides, I really enjoy it. I probably spend at least 3 hours tweaking my OS when it is first installed getting everything just right to get the most out of it and 5% of total computer time thereafter.

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computer mainteance
by jock a / January 7, 2007 4:30 AM PST

I am forever looking for that little piece of software which will make my computer faster, or safer, or more friendly! If I don't like what I've installed then I just uninstall it! I've had a few problems with some software but I've always managed to sort it out - up to now!
Doing a registry clean is a good idea to get rid of wee bits of files etc.

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computer maintenance
by laverntucker / January 7, 2007 8:04 AM PST
In reply to: computer mainteance

Duh!

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Mac Hardware
by mreka / January 7, 2007 8:26 AM PST

Macs are a pain in the butt to upgrade since the designs are so vain and access to certain parts are obstructed by styling issues. Even their tower cases are overdesigned as to make drive replacements annoying.
I would not think of Macs as performance cars. Okay, probably more now than before since they recently adopted the Intel chips. Even then, the search for aftermarket items are spare since the company has a tight leash on their hardware specs. Maybe Volkswagens are more like it - for the artsy fartsy snobbish crowd. Them's fighting words!

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wrong
by Ravensblood / January 14, 2007 4:29 AM PST
In reply to: Mac Hardware

The G5/Mac Pro Towers were/are designed for very easy HD, RAM, Graphics card, Optical drive replacement. I even installed another Sata controller card for an extra 2 HD for an internal RAID.

my macbook is also designed for super-easy HD replacement

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Maintenance? meh. Tinkering?.....
by punterjoe / January 11, 2007 7:33 AM PST

Except for my original TI994A I haven't owned a computer (or many other pieces of gear) that I haven't taken partially apart & often modded. No neon or cool teak panels, just odd scsi cards, ir sensors strange peripherals and all sorts of quirky adjustments to make it entirely unlike what the mfr intended. Happy
I don't work on cars, since a foulup there could lead to death/injury of myself or others. I'm more adventurous where I can do less damage. If I'm home & bored, I'll throw on some music or podcasts & tinker.
At least with computers, the neighbors don't have to see junkers on blocks in the yard.
I would differ on the analogy of a linux box though. Instead of a Classic car, I'd more consider it a kit car, where you get an assorment of standard parts & throw together something generally familiar but quirkily unique - with no owners manual or service docs! Wink

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re: How much time do you spend on computer maintenance?
by matttx / January 11, 2007 7:57 AM PST

"Mac OSX - A high end sports car for those who like to drive something sexy and high performance. Hard to find parts for."

I'd personally change that to:

Max OSX - A bicycle: for those who don't know how to drive.


To answer your question though, I spend a good portion of time tweaking things. Maybe not 20%, but I get bored with my current settings/configuration/hardware pretty easy, so I'm constantly adjusting things.

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(NT) Agree 100% with your analogy.
by Ryo Hazuki / January 13, 2007 10:19 AM PST
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oh boy
by Ravensblood / January 14, 2007 4:31 AM PST

I am getting tired of you guys making these ridiculous uneducated statements...

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Easily offended?
by matttx / January 15, 2007 12:37 PM PST
In reply to: oh boy

I'm well aware of what Macs' strengths are. However, their ease of use is paramount among them. Apple doesn't make the best technical systems (Macs, IPods, even the iPhone all have competing hardware that have much better features/technical specs), but they are very good at user interfaces - that is, they make their systems very easy to use by those who don't know anything about computers/technology.

I'd also point out that I'm always highly amused by the Apple fanboys who will bash any Apple competitor until they're blue in the face, but can't take even an innocent jab back at their beloved Apples. Perhaps you need to look in the mirror before you call someone uneducated...

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not offended, dissapointed by immaturity.
by Ravensblood / January 17, 2007 2:09 AM PST
In reply to: Easily offended?

this statement "Max OSX - A bicycle: for those who don't know how to drive." is an uneducated, cheap jab without any solid arguments to back it up.

I am not a fanboy. I will state when I don't like something, regardless of manufacturer.

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Around 25%.
by Ryo Hazuki / January 13, 2007 10:19 AM PST

Me.

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Very good analogy! I like to tinker too.
by shekshen / January 14, 2007 10:03 PM PST

That's a very good analogy.

I like to tinker around with my lap-top machine too.

I guess I spend a large part of my free time doing that. I'm very interested in learning new things especially related to computer security.

I browse the net on various topics related to computers.

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Much less on Mac than Windows
by drmlh / January 17, 2007 1:31 AM PST

I switched to Mac about 18 months ago, and I spend much less time on maintenance, even with auto updates from MS. I also consider any repair (such as re-booting after a crash) as maintenance time. The final straw before the switch was that I realized I was spending more time maintaining the computer than using it. To be fair, I was using a Sony Vaio, and about 10% of that time was hardware related.

Car analogies:

Windows - Cheap, smalll car, like an aged Hyundai, with parts easy to find

Mac - Like a BMW, runs smoothly and is fun to drive, parts easy to find, but may need a specialist from time to time

Linux - I agree, a classic which still runs well, but needs TLC from time to time, which the owner is more than happy to do. Parts are hard to find, until you learn where to look (ie, junkyards, second hand shops, etc.)

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