Keeping Your Computer Running Smooth

If you have a vehicle, you generally follow a maintenance schedule. Not following your maintenance schedule can result in major mechanical problems. In the same fashion, you should do the same for your computer. At least once a month, run Scandisk & Defrag. Once a week delete your Temporary Internet files. Check daily for updates for your virus scanner. Just following a routine should keep your computer in great shape.


Scandisk or Error-Checking

Computers need to be tuned up from time to time for best performance, just like cars. Over time all hard drives start becoming flaky and will slow down if you don't keep it maintained. An easy way to check for problems and correct them is to use the Scandisk utility, which is already on your system.

Go to Start/ Programs/ Accessories/ System Tools/ Scan Disk.

** Termed as “end of life” by Microsoft; support officially ended back on July 11, 2006 for Windows 98, 98SE and ME (Millennium) by Microsoft.

System Defragmentation

Files and folders on your computer can become fragmented (broken up into separate pieces and scattered in different places on your disk), as a result of the normal process of saving and deleting files and folders. When there are a lot of fragmented files and folders on your disk, your computer takes longer to access files and create new ones. The overall performance of disk operations suffers.

Go to Start/ Programs/ Accessories/ System Tools/ Disk Defragmenter

Cookies and Temporary Internet files

As you surf the Internet, files and cookies are being stored in your Temporary Internet Files folder on your hard drive. This allows previously viewed pages to load more quickly the next time you view them. Also, shortcuts to the pages you have viewed on the Internet are stored in your History folder. If a large amount of files, cookies and shortcuts are allowed to build up in these folders, your systems speed and functionality can be affected. In addition, storing large amounts of these items simply uses up a lot of your computer’s disk space. Most browsers let you refuse cookies, which are bits of information that keep track of your actions.

Disk Cleanup

Disk Cleanup can eliminate some performance and disk space problems. The feature frees up space on your hard drive by eliminating unnecessary program files (it won’t delete data files) and clearing out your Recycle Bin. Some of the files it deletes are temporary files (including temporary Internet files). If these files are allowed to accumulate, it will actually slow down the performance of your computer…so deleting them on a regular basis (at least monthly) is a good idea.

· Click Start
· Click Programs
· Click Accessories
· Click System Tools
· Click Disk Cleanup
· Select the drive you want to cleanup. (It should default to the C: drive)
· The next screen will show the folders/files to be cleaned up, click OK
· You will be prompted “Are you sure you want to delete files?”
· Click OK

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IMPORTANT NOTE: There are other options available on this tab. Use discretion as to what you change and choose to delete!

Check your Disk Space

Have you ever been asked, "How large is your hard drive?" Or "Is there enough space on this floppy disk to copy a file to it?" To check the capacity of a disk and see how much has been used and is still available follow the steps below:

· Double-click the My Computer icon on your desktop.
· Click on the disk you want to check
· Click File
· Click Properties

The disk will be shown graphically as a pie shape, with a blue wedge representing used space and the remaining pink wedge as available space. The total capacity will also be indicated. Note: Disk space is measured in bytes. MB stands for megabyte, which is equal to 1,000,000 bytes. GB stands for gigabyte, which is equal to 1,000,000,000 bytes.

Regular Windows Updates

Finally the most important item is regular Windows Updates. For more information go to the following web links.

http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com

Backup

Never forget of the importance of backup. Your data backup is your insurance!

A&L Computer Software Limited assumes no responsibility for damage or loss resulting from the use of third party information or any third party application, as these links listed are not under the control of A&L Computers Software Limited.