Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Keeping Your Computer Clean
They may just be machines, but computers can get sick and lethargic just like us! If you've noticed that your home or work computer takes a lot longer to do simple things such as opening a program or a web browser window, you may want to follow these steps to try and remedy your slowness problem.
1. Free up disk space.
If you are running a Windows operating system, you will be able to clean up unnecessary files with a program (that's already installed) called the Disk Cleanup Tool. This program helps you to identify files that can be deleted safely from your computer. The types of files that you can delete with the Disk Cleanup Tool are: -Temporary internet files; -Downloaded program files; -Files in the Recycle Bin; -Windows temporary files; -Optional Windows components that you don't use; Installed programs that you don't use. FYI: Temporary internet files take up the most space on your computer because the browser saves a copy of each page your browser accesses for faster loading time later (called "caching").
2. Speed up access to data.
A computer phenomenon called "disk fragmenting" is a process that breaks up files needed to operate a computer program, storing them in varying places on the computer's hard drive. Each time the program is run, the computer has to take the time to find each and every scattered file so that it will operate correctly. Windows contains a useful tool called the "Disk Defragmenter" that consolidates related files and folders on your computer. You should run the Disk Defragmenter utility monthly to keep your computer operating at its optimal speed. If you don't think that you'll remember to run it every month, do so when the following occur: -Your computer's free hard drive space totals 15% or less; -You install new programs or a new version of Windows.
3. Protect your computer from spyware.
If you have never heard of spyware and you use a computer regularly, you can be sure that you've encountered it in some way. Spyware consists of programs and code developed specifically for the purpose of collecting personal information without letting you know and without asking your permission. Not only does spyware present security concerns, it can slow your computer down significantly. There are programs developed with the sole purpose of tracking and getting rid of spyware; some you pay for, and some are completey free. One free program offered by Microsoft is Windows Defender, which is installed as a part of Windows Vista. If you are running Windows XP, you will need to download Windows Defender from the Microsoft website by clicking here.
For help with learning how to find these utitilities on your computer, please visit the following website for step-by-step instructions: http://www.microsoft.com/atwork/maintenance/speed.aspx