Tuesday, 14 April 2009

PC MAINTENANCE - EVERY WEEK (Windows XP)

Copyright Susie Jefferson

I was helping one of my neighbours, who was having trouble with her PC running slowly.

Turns out she had never done any computer maintenance in the entire time she'd had it (over 3 years). Because nobody had ever explained HOW!
Here's what you should be doing every single week, to help your computer to run smoothly.
Disk Cleanup
Click Start (bottom left-hand corner of your computer) then All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup
You'll see a little box come up, which will say
Disc Cleanup is calculating how much space you will be able to free on HD (C:). This may take a few minutes to complete.
This gets rid of tons of crap in your system, and the first time you run this it might take an hour or so! You need to do it every single week, so maybe make it a habit to run it on a Sunday when things tend to be quieter.

A quick shortcut once you have done it the first time is to right-click with your mouse on Disk Cleanup, then click Pin to Start Menu. So the next time you want it, click Start - and you'll see it in the left-hand column of the box (saves all that hunting around). If you don't want it there, right-click again to Unpin it.

Disk Defragmenter

Click Start (bottom left-hand corner of your computer) then All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup

You'll see a box come up with two buttons: Analyse and Defragment.

Click Defragment (it analyses anyway). It may take some time (especially the first time) for the programme to complete its analysis, and you will see blocks of blue, some white, some red and some green.

Blue is good, these are your files. As are green. White is free space. Red, however, shows all your fragmented files (this could be one document, spread into lots of little pieces, which your computer has to hunt for all over the place - hence it's been slowed down). Defragmenting sorts all this out.

Right, you've clicked Defragment. What happens now? Very often, a long wait, during which time you'll see the blocks of files moving around - the blue increasing, and the red lines disappearing. When it's finished, it will tell you (a little box will appear, so you can read & save a report if you want to). And you'll notice the computer skipping around like a new-born lamb!

If you have never Disk Cleaned and Defragmented, and your computer is a couple of years old - the first time you run these programmes could take most of an afternoon! So you can see why it's so important to run these regularly, then you never get the build-up.

Whilst you are at it, right-click with your mouse on Disk Defragmenter, then click Pin to Start Menu. So the next time you want it, it will be right there with your Disk Cleanup button, all ready to go!

Once these are finished, you might like to finish your housekeeping by running your virus checking programme - which you should also update at least once a week - more often if possible! Then you know you are all clean & clear. So you might as well create a System Restore Point as well... call it something like Alls Well, or All Clear.

You did a good job - now it's time for a stiff drink or strong cup of coffee!

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2 comments:

  1. Thank you!!!
    Whoa.. I've been pretty good at keeping up the housekeepin' on the different PC's and lappys through the last 12 years but it's easy to miss all those dust bunnies...
    After reading your article I realized I've NEVER done the disc clean-up on this 2 yr old lappy! I always defrag but totally forgot the other. It had started to run so slow and everything I tried wouldn't fix it - it wasn't a virus or any annoying spyware, I ran CC Cleaner, did a Registry scan, but your suggestions got me zooming thru the World Wide Web again!
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!! This huge electronic playground just isn't as fun when it's slow.
    XOX
    Celia

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  2. Thank you so much for your help Susie..
    I'm doing the computer clean up right now..I had forgotten how to do it..it's been so long!
    I'm going to put a link to you on my sidebar..
    Julia ♥

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