Think about how in-depth being a computer support specialist is and the number of different variables that can be faced on a daily basis! It’s quite a complex position, which is why we have compiled a list of five steps that any computer support specialist should know in order to be successful and efficient. This handy guide should help the support team get their customer devices back up and running at optimal performance in record time! Once you master the techniques, you’ll be able to adapt them into your own daily workflow with your own style.

The following steps are meant to be used in unison with a Windows based operating system:

Step 1 – Check and clean the startup programs

Did you know that a good majority of the user installed programs actually get tagged in the “startup with Windows” list even if the user did not allow it? One major reason why a computer might start taking longer to boot up to the desktop is because of unnecessary programs flooding the startup process. What can you do about that? One thing you can do within Windows itself is by checking what programs are starting with the computer by typing “msconfig.exe” into a command line. This command works on all current versions of Windows, which makes it a universal technique!

If you are on the newer versions of Windows, once the window pops up, you will just click the “Startup” tab and click “Open Task Manager“. You are then presented with a list of programs that startup with the computer, their current status, and how high their impact is on the overall startup process. Look over the list accordingly and disable all of the high and medium rated programs that you see fit, because in most cases, you really don’t need anything starting up with Windows. For optimal performance, you generally will only leave the essential programs on. Some of the best examples that should stay on would be a firewall or an antivirus program, as they are security measures and should be left alone.

Step 2 – Clean out the junk files and repair the registry

Another common issue that can lower computer performance are the general registry errors and junk files that bog the system down. Most users are unaware that the files they “delete” are not actually gone and still exist in some form on the hard drive. It might take some time, but these files and errors in the registry will begin slowing down the computer performance as more time passes without proper care. What should you do about it? The most optimal way is by downloading a registry cleaning tool and begin the cleaning process. We recommend the ever so popular “CCleaner” because it is a very well known program used by many over the years… plus it works like a charm!

When you get the program and open it you will want click on the “Cleaner” tab and hit the “Run Cleaner” button. It will properly clean up cached files, items in the recycle bin, and other junk files that are not necessary for the system to run. Then you will click the “Registry” tab and hit the “Scan For Issues” button. Before repairs can begin, it will be looking for any missing files, left over junk files, registry errors, etc. If the computer has been used for a long period of time and has never had a registry cleaning, you can almost expect thousands of items being listed as a result of the scan! You may also wish to use the “Tools” tab for checking out any unnecessary junk programs that are not needed or even use the “Startup” feature for replacing the previous step with. All situations are unique, thus the “Tools” section is full of extra features for the support technician to make use of if needed.

Step 3 – Scan for viruses, malware, and other infections

People can get themselves into a lot of trouble by getting their computers invaded with all sorts of nasty infections! That not only can wreak havoc on overall system performance, but may also have the potential for causing real damage by putting their personal data at risk. This step is crucial and is probably the most common problem that a support specialist might face. Most people do not know about preventing these infections in the first place, which is why they are so common. Most likely, the average user is not doing the required database updates on the virus scanners or they just forget about the security features entirely. Taking care of even the nastiest infections can be a tough job for anyone, but we recommend a program called “SuperAntiSpyware“. This program will make your life so much easier, we promise! It can take care of many of the major threats out there with an extremely high success rate.

Once you get the program up and running just make sure the database is updated with the most recent definitions, and then hit the “Scan This Computer” button. If you know the computer is highly infected then it is recommended that you use the “Complete Scan” button and let it do its thing. Otherwise, hitting a “Quick Scan” will work like a charm by identifying the most well known infections in a timely manner. Since the option “Scan for frequently unwanted programs” is checked by default, the scan will also reveal any possible junk programs that got installed by other programs and give you the option for removing them accordingly.

Step 4 – Check for Windows updates

This is extremely important because Microsoft constantly releases patches for repairing any back-doors, loopholes, and exploits that infections can possibly take advantage of. Many people will likely ignore Windows updates because they either take a lot of time for installation or they dislike the idea of constantly receiving the updates. Always make sure you hit that “Check for Updates” button and grab all the latest security patches and features. The two main security measures for Windows 10 are called “Windows Defender” and “Windows Firewall“. These programs are enabled by default and actually work so well together that there is no need for adding your own security programs. Always make sure both programs are working properly together and are fully updated in order for maximizing the security benefits! Windows 10 also makes it easier than ever to keep the system running with the latest updates at all times. Just let the customer know they should keep an eye on the updates every once in awhile so that they can keep everything in running order.

Step 5 – Optimize the hard drive

With more and more users and computers using SSDs by default, this step is obviously not as necessary as it once was in the past. If you know the system is running an SSD you can skip this step, but if the HDD has never been optimized before, it is a highly recommended that you do so. Windows 10 automatically optimizes the drives by default on a weekly basis, which makes having the latest version of Windows even more worthwhile. Defragging a hard drive was once known as a chore, a task, an annoyance. It pretty much takes care of itself now, which is amazing!

If the system does not have Windows 10 then we recommend using a program called “Defraggler“, which is also by the same developer of the “CCleaner” program we mentioned earlier.Once the program is open you can pick whichever drive you wish, and then hit the drop down arrow on the “Defrag” button to either do a full defrag or a quick defrag. If you are short on time then you should choose a quick defrag, which does a good job on its own for general optimization purposes.

This completes the guide about the five steps all computer support specialists should be aware of when dealing with customer computers. Following these basic principles that we have laid out for you should result in an overall increase in understanding the workflow on what should be expected from someone in this position. Being a computer support specialist is no small task, which is why you need as much knowledge and experience as possible!

Source: Self learned over the years. The writer is a computer support specialist and personally uses all of the techniques listed in this guide.