Tuesday, October 11, 2005

General Windows Maintenance (Part 1)

Its always a good idea to perform some basic system maintenance on your computer to keep it running in tip-top condition. If your computer is a few years old, it even becomes more important to perform these tasks on a semi-annual basis.

In most cases the techniques I am going to explain are safe. Although, you never know when you're going to do something that can accidentally break your computer. If something happens while performing these operations, then there was something wrong with your computer to begin with.

As always, I would highly recommend that you back up your computer's data before proceeding with any of the suggestions listed below. Also, proceed with these actions at your own risk.

Freeing Up Disk Space
Below is a list of suggestions to free up disk space on your computer. In order to perform these tasks, you need to have administrator rights to your your local system.
  • From the Start menu open the Control Panels folder, and then double-click the 'Add/Remove Programs' applet. From here you can remove all those programs that you downloaded a long time ago and have never used. There is a statistic that states that only a few of the programs installed on a computer are actually used. All you have to do is select the program you want to uninstall, and press the remove button.
  • Before you close this control panel, press the 'Add/Remove Windows Components' button to uninstall Windows application and services that you're not using.
  • From the Start menu open 'All Programs > Accessories > System Tools and select the 'Disk Clean' program. This program will remove unimportant application files from your computer. These files are created by different applications for different purposes, this program will only let you delete the ones that will not cause your computer to crash. For example, the Temporary Internet files are web pages, graphics, and other files stored on your local computer for use by the browser to load web pages more quickly.
  • From the Start menu open the 'Printers and Faxes' folder, and delete any printers installed on your computer that you're not using anymore. Some people especially with laptops in a corporate environment can literally have a dozen or more printers installed on their computer.
  • If you're desperate for disk space, you can recover a few hundred megabytes by turning off the hibernation feature on your computer. This feature allows you to save the current state of your computer and shut it down, then allows you to return to where you left off when you reboot it. From the Start menu open the Control Panels folder, and then double-click the 'Power Options' applet. Click on the Hibernate tab, and uncheck the 'Enable Hibernate' checkbox. Only disable this feature if you're not going to use it. Note: the amount of disk space you will recover is equal to the amount to RAM installed in your computer.

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