Basic Computer Maintenance

Don Trauger – Kennett

I’ve written about this subject several times over the years and I feel it’s important enough to stress the fact that it needs to be done
on a regular basis, typically once a month. You can’t expect computers to run forever without some attention to maintenance. Even if you
never have performed this procedure, now is the time to do it. All the steps are safe and it will keep your computer in good shape. You
don’t have to understand the subject or even have much interest in it. If you can take the time to follow along and click the mouse, you
can perform the necessary maintenance.

Windows XP and Windows Vista provide a utility to clean up unneeded and unwanted files that are stored on your hard disk. It’s called
Disk Cleanup located in System Tools. To start this procedure click Start, move to All Programs, Accessories (click it for Vista),
System Tools (click it for Vista), click Disk Cleanup, and click OK (XP only). After a wait period (XP only) place a checkmark by clicking
on all the empty boxes without a checkmark. Next, click the More Options tab (XP only) and under System Restore, click Clean up, click Yes,
then click OK. Finally, click Yes again. For Vista users just click on OK. You now have completed a basic cleanup of your hard disk.

There’s another item that is part of basic maintenance. It’s called Disk Defragmenter and it is also located in System Tools. For Windows XP
users only, click on Disk Defragmenter and when the window opens click the (C:) disk, then click the Defragment button. The idea behind this
operation is to align the files on the hard disk so the computer will start up faster and open your programs more quickly. This will take a while
but you should end up with almost all blue at the left side of the graph. You may see some green bars mixed in and some white spaces which are fine.
You should not see red bars. I recommend that you run Disk Defragmenter twice in a row for the best results. Close the program when it completes.
Again, I’ll mention this is safe to do.

For Windows Vista users Disk Defragmenter is also in System Tools. Click Disk Defragmenter then uncheck (click) “Run on a schedule”. After
“Analyzing disks” completes click the Defragment now button. In the pop-up window place a checkmark, if necessary, in the box next to (C:) then
click OK. Lastly, click OK on the main Disk Defragment window when the program completes. For both XP and Vista users ignore messages that may say
you do not need to defragment the disk. These messages are misleading and really don’t indicate the true state of the hard disk.

Finally, to complete basic maintenance click Start, click Run (XP only) and in the Open: field type chkdsk C: /f Vista users should click Start,
click on Start Search then type chkdsk C: /f and press the Enter key. NOTE: there is a space between chkdsk and C: and between C: and /f.
Click OK (XP only) and you should see a window pop up. For both XP and Vista users type the letter y in the pop-up window and press the Enter key.
Next restart the computer and during the startup you will see a screen that indicates various tests and corrections. After it completes the computer
will start normally although this particular startup will be slower than normal. Subsequent starts should show a faster starting computer.

There you have it. Help in maintaining your computer is just around the corner at the PC Club meetings. We meet the second Tuesday of every month
at 7:00 PM upstairs in the Community Center.