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Recommended routine maintenance for Windows NT, 2000 and XP

The frequency of different maintenance activities will vary between sites and application areas. Please regard the following as a starting point (or as a check list) and make your own decisions.

The maintenance activities listed here have been divided into the following groups:

Daily Maintenance Activities

  1. Ensure that server is up and running.
  2. Check that the nightly backup has successfully run.

Weekly Maintenance Activities

  1. Check the NT event log (application, system and security). Try to resolve any warnings or errors reported there.
  2. Check free disk space. Identify if free space will become a problem. Purge temporary and old files as necessary.
  3. Disable or delete old accounts.
  4. Ensure that anti-virus software is up to date.

Monthly Maintenance Activities

  1. Perform a scandisk on all drives. Note:
    • Running 'chkdsk /f' on each drive seems to be more thorough, but does necessitate a reboot.
    • Hans Schönwälder has contributed the tip that using 'chkdsk /r' is better still, although it may take a little longer to run.
  2. If a defragmenter is available then defragment the hard disks.
  3. If suitable software available, then defragment the registry.
  4. Reboot the pc/server.
  5. Review backup – to ensure that nothing has changed that necessitates new things being backed up or some things removed from the backup.

These notes have been tested with Windows NT4, W2K and XP.

About the author: is a dedicated software developer and webmaster. For his day job he develops websites and desktop applications as well as providing IT services. He moonlights as a technical author and consultant.