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System maintenance is a catchall term used to describe various forms of computer or server maintenance required to keep a computer system running properly. It can describe network maintenance, which could mean that servers are being physically repaired, replaced, or moved. Network maintenance can also mean that the software for a server is being updated, changed, or repaired. This sort of maintenance is typically performed on a regular or semi-regular schedule, often during non-peak usage hours, and keeps servers running smoothly.
Preventative maintenance is often performed by IT professionals, usually because a potential problem or security threat has been recognized with a computer or server, and the system administrators are working to deal with the issue before it becomes a true problem. This sort of maintenance is often seen as unnecessary or inconvenient by users who find work interrupted by the sudden need to fix an issue that has not yet affected the user. Preventative maintenance keeps users from encountering far more serious problems and therefore is essential to continued system reliability.