Computers are like cars -- every few months they need some routine maintenance. You don't need to pay me to come do this (Hey, I said these were freebies didn't I?) and it is much easier than an oil change on the car.
Invest in a can of compressed air, found in computer stores and camera departments. Once a month (depending upon the environment) you'll want to take the can and clean the dust, pet hair and other junk from the power supply fan located on the back of most PCs. If the fan gets clogged and stops, your PC will overheat. Once every six months, if you are at all handy, you should open the PC's case and spray the heck out of everything. If you have pets, especially cats (Check out my instructions on How To Bathe A Cat), and you keep your PC on the floor, you should do this more often.
Attack the mouse. Every month or two or any time it feels like you are running your mouse over a gravel road you should clean your mouse. Flip the mouse over and open the bottom case. (Do NOT do this with the new laser mouse, only with the ones with the rolling ball.) In most cases, you need to twist the connector holding the ball in place and the ball will fall out. Clean the ball with water or if it is really soiled, clean it with rubbing alcohol. Spray some air in the bottom mouse cavity and clean the rollers inside with your fingernail, then a Q-Tip dipped in alcohol. Replace the ball and you will not encounter any more jerky computing.
Clean the monitor screen. I use a regular towel or Windex but NEVER under any circumstances spray anything directly on your screen. Spray it on the towel then wipe the screen. Liquid sliding down the front of the screen and into the guts of your monitor is a really bad thing, trust me. Better yet, invest a couple bucks in an anti-static monitor cleaning cloth at a computer or office supply store store. And clean off the years of dust and gunk. And don't smoke near the computer, either. Nicotine and tar residues are very sticky and make removing dust from your computer next to impossible.
Clean out your Internet cache. The cache is where all of the images and files from various Web sites you have visited are stored. If you use Netscape 4.x, Click on Edit, then Preferences. Click on the + sign beside Advanced, then click on cache. Clear the Memory Cache and the Disk Cache. If you use Internet Explorer, right-click on the E on the desktop and select PROPERTIES. Then clear the cache and the history folders. If you want to delete all of the Web "cookies" that remain on your hard drive (logs where you have been on the Web), launch Internet explorer. Under TOOLS go to Internet options. Under the general tab, in the Temporary Internet Files box, click "Delete Files."
Make sure the air vents in your computer and your monitor are not obstructed. I regularly see pictures of loved ones, and loved one's pets, kids, cars, you name it, taped over the vent holes. This can cause overheating and premature component failure.
If you haven't done so lately, it might be time for a thorough Scandisk and a Disk Defragmentation. For the thorough Scandisk, follow the instructions in Scandisk Fundamentals, except select a Thorough scan instead of a standard scan.
If you have any questions, please call me.