First time PC builder seeking advice

Hello Tek Syndicate,

  My name is Matteo and I have just recently built my own PC for the first time over the new year period.  I stumbled onto Tek Syndicate while looking up videos on YouTube on how to build PC's and what parts to buy, and I can say that so far I am glad that I found this website/community.  I have always had an interest in electronics, computers and video games (I have been gaming since a very young age) but have never been able to pursue these interests until recently.  As this is my first build I would like to take this opportunity to ask about any advice you might have on taking care of my computer, not just the physical cleaning but also file management, the proper use of programs like CCleaner, and any other ways that could extend the life and operation of my machine.  Any and all advice would be appreciated.

Thank you all in advance :)

Awesome, congrats on joining the amazing world of the PC Master Race! Actually I hate that title, but welcome anyway.

Firstly as far as hardware goes, the most popular method and disk setup is to have a smaller cheaper ssd for your OS, then a larger HDD for file and game storage. This makes boot and program load times super fast. I can ghly encourage you to do this if you weren't planning to because it also makes it extremely easy to recover files that may have been lost in the event of any OS failure or virus.

On the note of viruses and virus protection: don't do it. The best virus protection is in your head, and if you can avoid it, then you'll have a much better time. Wendell had a great quote in the latest inbox.exe where he mentions that definition based antivirus has been obsolete for a long time. If you can be smart and conscious about what you do and what you install, that's the best way to go. If you think you'll still need it, then I would recommend running scans occasionally with malware bytes every now and then.

Next, don't forget aboutbackups. For some reason they don't seem to be as prevalent as they used to be. File History in windows is pretty great and easy to use. It also only needs to be setup once. If you use the disk setup that I mentioned, it makes it really easy.

Be conscious about your system. Its not necessarily good to cheap out on the little things like cooling and whatnot. Get some nice fans that will last, and get a temperature monitoring tool like RealTemp. I always immidiately set it up to startup with windows automatically and display my CPU and GPU temps on the taskbar.

Hmm, can't really thinkof anything else at the moment, I might think of more later, but otherwise, good luck!

SSDs don't need to be defragged like magnetic ones do so I wouldn't worry about an application like ccleaner unless you are really filling up your primary drive quickly. Otherwise I'd follow BlueKoda's advice!

Welcome! For the physical side of cleaning, I do a thorough dusting every 3 or 4 months cuz I'm anal about that. It sortof depends on if you have a pet, smoke, leave windows open etc. Google 'positive case pressure' too for a look at further dust reduction, having a smidge more air pressure in the case than out will drastically reduce dust accumulation and not effect temperatures very much.

When removing dust from the computer don't use a vacuum cleaner.  As it will be ineffective and also possibly damage your components.  Use something that blows the dust out.  You can buy canned compressed air, however I prefer to use a little 1300w reverse vacuum cleaner that blows air out.  It is made by a German company called ShopVac.  A low (battery) powered leaf-blower also does a good job.

As Harabec said, 'SSDs don't need to be defragged like magnetic ones do', however they do need to be TRIM'd to prolong their lifespan.  I am not going to go into the process in this post, so just do a web search on it.  I have however found that Windows (8.1 at least) seems to do a poor job of doing this.  I actually have to regularly manually optimise the drive.  You can do this via Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Defragment and Optimise Drives, then clicking on 'optimise drive'.  I just created a shortcut for 'Defragment and Optimise Drives' on the task bar though.  If you have a SSD installed I would recommend also disabling drive indexing to prevent unnecessary writes.  My computer > right click on SSD drive, then click properties > untick 'Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed in addition to file properties'.

Back up, back up, back up.

Some good utilities: Windows Defender, Malwarebytes, Web of Trust, Unchecky, AdwCleaner, Junkware Removal Tool.

Utilising Windows' 'Libraries' feature may also help you keep your files in order.

If I think of anything else I will post it below.  Interested in seeing some tips from others too.

Unfortunately, I did have to cheap out a little bit with this build as I have been between jobs since last July and ended up using my tax refund towards the build.  Because of this, I wasn't able to get both an SSD and a HDD so opted for a 1TB HDD but I am curious to find out that when I upgrade my build and add an SSD, how easy would it be to re-install (or transfer) my OS from my HDD to the SSD. 

  As far as cooling goes, I have 3x 120mm fans (one bringing air into the case over the HDD and the other two extracting air from above and to the side of the CPU) but these were stock fans included with the case which is a cheap Gamescon case that had a 700W PSU included.  My first change to this build will be to downsize to a mATX case as the mobo stand-offs in this case were not very secure and I'm afraid that if I change the CPU cooler to a larger heatsink, the weight may cause stress on the board if not pull it off all together (I do move it around a lot and take it to friends places for LAN's/DJing/Production work).

  I did watch that latest episode, and I have always tried to be conscious of what I download, even to the point of arguing with friends that keep telling me "oh just DL it, you'll be sweet, it's fine etc." about links that I don't trust.  I have downloaded Comodo anti-virus because it is free and easy to use and I use it for scans every now and then.


Thank you all for your advice so far.

I have to agree with Wendell, definition based virus protection is no protection. I still run one , just because i am not perfect. Transferring os to ssd is rather easy but personally I recommend new install. As far as just a hdd i recommend smart defrag with file system optimizing for the best performance from your hdd. Welcome to the pc master race where we all have our ways of doing things. :) Most stock fans are okay. Means more if overclocking or striving for silence.

Okay, although it is possible to clone your hard drive to a SSD, it requires cloning software, which costs money.  It also requires you to properly re-align the drive partition, if the cloning software fails to do so.  There may be other issues you run it to also.  To a newcomer, and in general it is therefore highly advisable to perform a clean install of Windows on a SSD.

Remember! Keep your os seperate from data . :)