Windows has always been a user-friendly, easy to use operating system. Fortunately, with Windows 8, Microsoft has further enhanced the user experience since many features were introduced including speedy boot time, dynamic desktop, improved search functionality and enhanced Windows Maintenance. Windows Maintenance is a feature that automatically handles different day-to-day tasks and removes overhead for users. Some of the maintenance tasks performed include system diagnostics, software and system updates, security scans, and disk clean up and several more.
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The maintenance process in Windows 8 is carried out in the background with limited user interaction and minimum performance impact. In earlier versions of Windows, maintenance tasks had a huge impact on the performance and power efficiency. Responsiveness to user activities was affected while maintenance was being carried out. It required a lot of user interaction and apart from that, permissions were required by Windows maintenance like Task Scheduling, Windows Update, and Action Center.
The main purpose of maintenance activity in Windows 8 is to combine all the background maintenance and help without an adverse impact on the performance. The user can control the maintenance schedule and trigger it accordingly. In Windows 8, you cannot stop the maintenance process but can change the time and schedule of maintenance process.
Maintenance tasks are carried out in various modes in Windows 8. Since Windows 8 supports automatic maintenance, a user doesn’t need to be very involved in the process. Windows maintenance only deals with software and programs that are built-in. In addition, they don’t deal with any third party software maintenance. However, it provides an efficient policy that allows third party software to add their maintenance and updates without affecting the system performance.
Windows Maintenance increases efficiency by allowing maintenance tasks to be carried out during idle time. The activity is prioritized based on its critical importance for the system.
It works in various modes:
Full automatic mode
This is the default mode and it enables scheduling of maintenance when the system is idle. It is also carried out without any user intervention. The user has a choice to set the schedule maintenance daily or weekly. The computer resumes automatically and starts the process whenever the system is idle and stops when the system is being used. This helps in efficient power management, especially in case of laptops.
The user can control the maintenance process as per his requirements. Since the maintenance process utilizes CPU, the power and performance is comparatively affected and therefore, the user can stop the process from being carried out. Similarly, the user can resume with maintenance whenever he wants. In addition, the user also has the option to configure the ‘run’ schedule of the maintenance process.
Deadlines and notification:
Some important activities need to be completed before the default schedule maintenance. This critical maintenance process is carried out as soon as the system is idle. However, windows maintenance will inform the user to perform a manual check if the deadline crosses. For instance, one can see the Windows update prompts often. This task affects the system performance and responsiveness.
Windows maintenance works with a few key areas regularly and they are:
Windows Update: The Windows schedule updates important maintenance features. During this process, updates related to Windows software and system process are downloaded and installed. The user can disable the automatic update feature or can schedule it manually. Windows update is an important feature and generally deals with fixing issues related to Windows security including updates to the virus definition files for Microsoft Security essentials and the default antivirus program installed in windows 8.
Disk Clean Up: With this feature, Windows deletes all unwanted files and folders that were created as a result of some third-party vendor application. In addition, temporary files and folders and uninstalled software are removed efficiently. This process maintains hard disk space.
System Restore Point: This process is carried out by Windows maintenance whenever some third party software is installed on the system. As the name suggests, it makes a backup point to restore the system to a normal working condition if the third-party software causes any harm to the system. Users can also manually do this apart from the maintenance process. It is a type of a security measure taken by Windows to prevent complete system failure.
Disk Defragment: This is an efficient process of optimizing the hard disk. In Windows 8, it is carried out automatically every week but the user can change the schedule to daily basis.
Problems faced by Maintenance are:
• Deadline Scheduling
• Resource utilization conflicts
• Energy efficiency
• Transparency to the user.
Windows Maintenance Manually By User
The user can improve the performance of the system by manually maintaining the system. Generally, third-party software is not a part of the default automatic maintenance procedure and therefore, issues of poor performance cannot be resolved by Windows maintenance.
Maintenance tasks performed by users are:
• Removing unwanted and rarely used software. This helps for efficient utilization of RAM.
• Removing duplicate folders and files from the hard disk. This causes the system to slow down and space is wasted unnecessarily. Therefore, disk cleanup is an important process to be carried out frequently.
• Use the latest version of the operating system, because new versions generally solve the issues of performance and efficiency.
• Updating antivirus definitions, hardware drivers and other third-party software.
• Performing Disk checking for errors frequently is very important.
Steps to perform maintenance:
Click the flag icon on the taskbar and go to Open Action Center. In Action Center, under Maintenance tab, you have two options:
• Start Maintenance: This tab is used to start the maintenance process manually.
• Change Maintenance Settings: This tab is used to change the schedule of maintenance and other settings related to maintenance.