Tech experts often tell us about the importance of scanning our computers with antivirus software, registry cleaners, disk defragmenters, and other optimization tools. Unfortunately, few of these experts suggest how often you should scan your computer with these programs. In reality, scanning times vary between programs.

Disk defragmenters

Disk defragmenters can actually harm your computer if performed more than once per week. They put a phenomenal strain on your hard drive that can gradually wear down its moving parts. To be safe, users should be able to see a good performance boost from running a disk defragmenter once or twice per month. Or, if you don’t want to worry about keeping an accurate schedule, simply run your disk defragmenter after you have added or removed a lot of data from your hard drive.

Antivirus programs

Antivirus programs are at the other end of the spectrum, and cannot really harm your computer if they run multiple times per week, or even multiple times per day. Ultimately, any strain they put on your hard drive will be balanced out by the benefits of deleting the virus, so it’s best to run antivirus scanners whenever you think your computer has been infected.

Registry cleaners

Registry cleaners sort through a huge amount of data in order to optimize your computer. However, unlike disk defragmenters, very little of this information is actually being moved around, so the strain on your hard drive is minimal. Running your registry cleaner once or twice per month – or after you’ve changed a lot of data – should be more than enough to keep your PC running as happy and healthy as possible.

Disk Cleanup/Clutter removal tools

If you use your computer frequently, then running tools like this once per week can both protect you against malware threats and free up a large amount of space on your hard drive. However, keep in mind that these tools may delete temporary internet files and cookies, many of which can do useful things like remember your online passwords or keep track of your online shopping history.

Of course, all of the information listed above is for those who want their computer running as fast as possible all the time. For the average user, you can get away with completing all of the scans listed above (with the exception of antivirus tools) once per month. This will protect your computer with a minimal amount of time investment, giving you more time to spend doing the things you enjoy on the computer.

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