In order to keep your computer system running smoothly, there are a few easy maintenance items that should be performed on a regular basis. These actions should be performed at least once per month, however, heavy
internet usage dictates that they be done once a week. Performing these maintenance items can help keep your system running at optimum speed and performance level.
RUN "SCAN DISK"
Basically, the Scan disk operation checks your hard drive for errors and offers to fix any errors it might find. NOTE: Scan Disk can take a long time to run - don't start it when you have something else that you need to use the computer for; run it when you're doing laundry or some other task where you can be near your computer, but that doesn't involve using the computer.
To perform a "Scan Disk" - "Click on the "Start Button", highlight "Programs", then highlight "Accessories", then highlight "System Tools" and click on "Scan Disk". Highlight the location of your hard drive (usually C:), select "Thorough" as the type of test, and check the "automatically fix errors" box. Then click on the "Start" button. If you have more than one hard drive, make sure to repeat the Scan Disk operation for each hard drive.
"RUN DISK DEFRAGMENTER"
Your computer sometimes spreads the files needed to run different programs across the hard drive instead of leaving them arranged neatly. Your programs still run with the files spread out, it just takes longer for your computer to find all the files. Performing a Disk Defragmenter reorganizes the hard drive, making sure that all the files pieces are next to each other.
To perform a "Disk Defragmenter" - "Click on the "Start Button", highlight "Programs", then highlight "Accessories", then highlight "System Tools" and click on "DISK Defragmenter". A window should come up asking you to select which drive you want to defragment. If you only have one hard drive, select the name of that drive (usually C;). If you have more than one hard drive, select "All Hard Drives". Click OK. The defragmenter will tell you whether or not your drive(s) need to be defragmented. If it recommends that you should defragment a drive, you should do so. You may continue to use your computer while your drive is being defragmented, however it may run more slowly than usual.
HARD DRIVE CLEAN-UP
You are probably aware that your computer has a set amount of space on its hard drive. Each time you use the internet or run certain programs, you use up a little piece of your hard drive space. Those of you fortunate enough to have a newer system may have enough space on your hard drive that you may never have to worry about it becoming filled. People with older systems, however, may need to keep an eye on their hard drive space. These are a few easy steps to take to eliminate unnecessary items on your hard drive.
Delete your ".tmp" (temporary or temp) files.
Like children, Windows 95 doesn't always put everything away when its done with it. The things it leaves lying around are called "temp files" - they are secret files that Windows 95 creates to store stuff in while its running. Temp files are supposed to be closed out when you shut down your computer, however, sometimes, Windows leaves a few behind.
To get rid of your computer's temp files, you need to click on your "Start" button, highlight "Find", then click on "files or folders". Type "*.tmp" (note - do NOT type in the quotation marks) in the space where it says "Named". Make sure that the letter that indicates your hard drive (usually C:) is showing in the "Look in" window. Make sure that the "Include Subfolders" box is checked. Then click on "Find Now"
All of the files you find that have the extension of "tmp" may be deleted. From your "Find" window, highlight the file name, then right click on it and select "delete". If you are asked to verify that you want to send that file to the recycle bin, click on yes.
For those of you who have more than one hard drive on your system, make sure to repeat this action on all of your hard drives.
- Delete old E-mail and e-mail attachments
Most of us save old e-mail letters thinking that they are too important to throw away. Six months later, if you re-read them, they no longer seem so important. They also take up hard drive space. Once you are totally positive that you can live without certain old e-mails, you should delete them. Each mail program is a bit different so we won't go into a lot of detail on this, but if you're unsure how to delete your e-mails, check your mail programs help files.
If your mail program allows you to accept mail "attachments" (extra files that are sent along with the regular e-mail message), you should determine where your mail program keeps them and delete the files you no longer need as well. Graphics and sounds in particular take up large amounts of space.
- Delete your "Temporary Internet Files" or "Cache Files"
The entire contents of every page you look at on the internet, including ALL the graphics, is stored on your hard drive. Even if you don't spend a lot of time web surfing, this can amount a lot of hard drive space. Internet Explorer and Netscape store these files in different places (naturally; it would be much too easy for them to operate the same way), so if you use both browsers, you may need to delete files from 2 different places.
- For Internet Explorer
Click on the "Start Button", highlight "Settings", then click on "Control Panel". From the "Control Panel" window, double click on the "Internet" Icon. A window with 6 tabs along the top should come up.
Click on the "General" tab (this should be the one on the far left hand side). The middle section is called "Temporary Internet Files"; click on the button marked "Delete Files". You will be asked to verify that you wish to delete the files, click on OK. NOTE: For older versions of Internet Explorer, the "Temporary Internet Files" section may be found under the "Advanced" tab.
- For Netscape 3
Open your Netscape Program (it is NOT necessary to be online while doing this). On the top menu bar, click on "Options" and then click on "network Preferences" A window with 5 tabs along the top should come up. Click on the "Cache" tab (this should be the one on the far left hand side). Then click on both the "Clear memory cache now" and the "Clear disk cache now" buttons. When you are asked if you want to continue, click OK.
- For Netscape 4 (Netscape Communicator)
Open your Netscape Program (it is NOT necessary to be online while doing this). On the top menu bar, click on "Edit" and then click on "Preferences" A window with a listing of choices in the left hand side should come up. Click on the little plus sign in front of the word "Advanced" choice. Then click on the word "cache". Then click on both the "Clear memory cache now" and the "Clear disk cache now" buttons. When you are asked if you want to continue, click OK.
- Empty your "Recycle Bin"
When you delete files, they are often times not actually removed from your hard drive; they are instead sent to the "recycle bin". This is so that in case you accidentally delete something important you are able to retrieve it. The "recycle bin" can use up 10 percent of your hard drive space, so its important to empty it out. Most of the things in your recycle bin have been there for quite some time now, especially if you haven't emptied it in awhile, and are probably safe to get rid of.
To empty your entire "recycle bin", double click on the recycle bin icon (this should be on your desktop. Once it opens up, click on "File" and then on "Empty Recycle Bin". A window will pop up asking you if you are sure you want to delete these items. Click on "yes" ONLY if you are 100 percent sure that you will not need anything that is contained in your "recycle bin" again.
To empty just certain files within your "recycle bin", double click on the recycle bin icon (this should be on your desktop. Once it opens up, highlight the files you want to delete, right click, and then click on delete.
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