Computer is like an automobile it has to have regular maintenance and
upkeep otherwise don't expect it to function properly for any extended
period of time. Following are some tips to help maintain your computer.
A good Antivirus Program is essential to the health of your PC. I recommend
Norton Antivirus and you
can download a free trial ware version that will work for 30 days here
Load Norton . There is also Pc-Cillin, Mcafee, Command, and
a host of many others. Odds are your PC came with AntiVirus Software.But
if for some reason it did not, find one that you like and go from there.
Why AniVirus software you ask? Last count since 12/20/00 was 48,240
virus's and it climbs exponentially every year. There are a lot of talented
(I use that term loosely) antisocial bored people out there what can
I say?!! So please protect yourself. The best way to protect yourself
and not endow your computer with some destructive little program (a
virus) is DO NOT OPEN E-MAIL ATTACHMENTS it is by far the number
one way computer viruses are spread. They can be hidden in email
attachments any number of ways. Do not ever click on a .exe file that
is sent to you or if you do not know where what or how it got to you.
But for those of you who insist on sending and receiving email attachments
run a virus scan check on them before opening them. "I once got
a virus sent to me by a High School Math/computer Teacher". It
was disguised as links to porno sites and embedded within it was an
.exe file that if I would had been foolish enough to click on I promptly
would have installed it onto my computer. Which then would have sent
it out to anyone that was in my address book of outlook express. Which
is what happened to the poor unsuspecting teacher whom I am sure felt
pretty bad and foolish. But hey it can happen to the best. Fortunately
for myself I looked at the source code and immediately discovered it.
But the moral of the story is. It could be your best friend or your
worst enemy it does not matter, any one can bite or be bitten when you
are messing with attachments. Be sure to update your virus definitions
on a regular basis. Weekly is a good rule to live by or if by some chance
you hear of a new virus. "Some are more publicized then others
remember the Melissa Virus?"
By Defragmenting your hard drive you rearrange unused space and
files to optimize the performance of your computer. It should be done
on at least a monthly basis I recommend weekly depending on how much
you use your computer, install and uninstall programs and how many crashes
you have etc. All of this is a factor on how defragmented your hard
drive may become.You can start Disk Defragmenter by clicking Start/Programs/Accessories/System
Tools, and then clicking Disk Defragmenter.
checks your hard drive for errors along with your files and folders.
If it finds any it will prompt you to ignore resume or repair. Doing
a thorough scan once a month or every other month is a good idea. It
can tell you if your HD has been damaged and is a indicator of a failing
HD. Hard drives do and will fail they are far and few in between but
it does happen. It is nice to have some type of advance warning so you
can save your data for transfer to a new HD. "I've had one fail
several years ago and wish someone would have told me this then"
I did however have backups of my email addresses and favorites but for
the most part I was out of luck". Live and Learn!
can run ScanDisk by clicking Start/ Programs/ Accessories/ System Tools,
and then clicking ScanDisk.
up unwanted files and folders:
Windows has the tendency to create
files and save files that are not always necessary to the functionality
of itself. The trick is figuring out which ones it needs and which ones
Ones Not To Touch
and user.dat (The .dat is short for database.) Absolutely under
no circumstances should you ever touch or meddle with these two files.
They contain your registry settings for windows and if they become corrupted
your windows will behave erratically or cease to function at all. Your
registry holds all the settings for your software, hardware and user
preferences. Another key file that must never be deleted is Win.com.
Win.com loads the core components of Windows, so without it Windows
cannot and will not load. Leave it alone. Rather than enumerating all
the files that you should not mess with or delete, let's just set a
general guideline. Don't delete anything in the C:/Windows folder unless
you absolutely know what you are doing! This is the very same folder
that contains System.dat, User.dat, and Win.com. It also contains most
other crucial files on your system, such as all the Windows system files
that make your computer do its thing.
you can delete, are any files with a .tmp for an extension.
When you install a program it uses and creates many temporary files
which end in the .tmp extension. Normally you can safely delete these
files. In order to do this just click on them once highlighting them
then press your delete button on your keyboard. Other files you can
safely delete providing programs are not or do not use them when running
bak which are backup files from various applications.
.bmp - picture files and wallpaper files. Don't delete your current
wallpaper if you like it.
.mov - movie files.
.mp3 - MP3 music files.
.avi - another movie file format.
.wav - sound files. If you're done listening to them and have your cd
burned, say bye.
.jpg - picture files.
.tiff - massive, pristine picture files that don't use compression
These are files that can be safely deleted from you PC without doing
any harm but! Use your discretion don't go into programs and start deleting
out all the .jpg or .wav files because they probably are needed by that
particular program. We are talking about these files in the context
of (you created them). Like a word document .doc if you wrote something
and saved it somewhere and no longer need it then get rid of it.Or a
picture that you may have scanned .jpg and no longer want or use. Wav
files that you have converted from .Mp3 files to burn a CD for music
that you no longer use (which take up a tremendous amount of space I
may add) get rid of them. You can fill up a 30 G hardrive in no time
at all if you are an avid music aficionado and don't know how to get
rid of the .wav files after burning a CD. To check how much available
space is on your hard drive follow these instructions.
Double-click on the My Computer icon;
Right-click on the C: drive;
Select Properties by left clicking
While you have this open if you are running Windows 98 click on Disk
Cleanup it will clean out your recycle bin and temp Internet files among
others. A nifty little add on to win98. One more word of caution
you may delete the files and they go to your recycle bin which is where
they stay until you go and actually empty it. To empty your recycle
bin right click on the recycle bin once then left click on Empty your
Recycle bin. A nice program which I highly recommend for helping
you rid your PC of unwanted clutter and useless files is called Uninstaller
by McAfee and you can download a free 30 day trial version here.
Norton also makes a program called Cleansweep but at the time of this
writing their download site was down for maintenance.
rid of programs you don't or no longer use:
No sense having something on your computer that you do not use. To uninstall
an application or program you no longer use, follow these steps. Choose
Start Click Control Panel. Click on Add/Remove Programs. Select any
listed programs you no longer use. Click on the Add/Remove Button. Then
follow the instructions. On most new computers they come loaded with
about 1 to 8 different Internet service providers some are installed
directly onto your system. AOL is one of them if you are not using it
by all means get rid of it.
out your Intenet Explorer and Netscape:
Internet temp files are webpages stored on your hard drive that help
the pages load faster next time you visit them. Over time, these files
can consume a great deal of space, and are useless. To remove them:
Open Internet Explorer; Choose Tools; Internet Options; In the Temporary
Internet Files box, choose Delete Files; While you're there, click the
Settings button and tell your computer how much hard drive space to
reserve for Temporary Internet Files. The rule of thumb is 10 percent
of your hard drive space with a 40 G hard drive which is an incredible
amount of space. So use your own discretion and common sense when making
For Netscape go to Edit/preferences/advanced/cache then clear
both the memory and the disk cache out. While your there notice the
Document in cache is compared to that on network. If you ever have any
problems for instance you have a news site that you go to and its always
the same news every day never changing. It may be because this protocol
accidentally got changed to never. Therefore it constantly pulls the
page from your cache never giving you the updated one. Internet Explorer
has a similar setting and it can be found by going to Internet Explorer;
Choose Tools; Internet Options;Settings.
Cookies what are they and where are they:
A Cookie is a little piece of information that is installed in your
Windows Internet Explorer or Netscape Cache your C:\WINDOWS\Cookies
Or Programs\Netscape\Users\default (Press F3 do a search for cookie
or cookies) Cookies give you a unique identifier so when you revisit
the site or web page again it will recognize you and know who you are,
not literally so to speak. "It does not give the web server your
name or address and telephone number so relax". For Example if
you have a web page with Excite or Yahoo set up with certain criteria
or information specifically for you it will then retrieve that information.
For instance on Excite you can set up a favorites with TV guide, Sports
scores Stocks and many other bits of information that you can gear to
your own specific likes and tastes. Well in order for Excite to recognize
you every time you return to the web page so it can display that information
it installs a little cookie to tell the server what to display. Very
harmless to say the least. However as usual (yes you detect a little
cynicism) someone has figured out a way to exploit this. One company
in particular is called Double Click. They are an Internet Advertising
Agency and are most infamous or shall I say notorious for there ad banners
that put little cookies on your PC that will track you around the net
and tell them where you have been for advertising purposes. I call it
an invasion of privacy and violates your rights to privacy. Lets just
say it plain SUCKS!! And you can opt-out so they cannot do this to
you at their own Website. Please Click
Here to Do So Now be warned however they seem to do everything
to discourage you but unless you want someone tracking your moves around
the net Do It Now! Believe me odds are you have one on your Hard Drive
already, there are add banners everywhere!!
Software for helping you maintain a healthy PC:
One of the best programs I have found and use every time I open a browser
window to surf the web is called Cookie Pal its shareware free to try
and $15.00 US dollars to keep it and more then worth it. Very easy to
use and kind of cute to boot.It will manage all your cookies keeping
the ones you want and not letting the ones you don't want on your hard
drive from cluttering it up.(Like Double Clicks) You can down
load it at Cookie Pal I highly
recommend it! It won PC Magazine Editors' Choice Award September 1999
and September 1997.
Disk Cleanup urility:
You can run Disk Cleanup to help you free up space on your hard drive.
Disk Cleanup searches your drive, and then lists temporary files, Internet
cache files, and unnecessary program files that you can safely delete.
You can start Disk Cleanup by clicking Start, pointing to Programs,
pointing to Accessories, pointing to System Tools, and then clicking
a weekly monthly clean up:
Set a side one day a week for clean up and maintenance of
your PC and one day a month for intensive cleaning. Sometimes a thorough
Scan Disk can take a couple of hours or more, same with the defrag depending
on how bad it is. What ever works best for you as long as you have some
type of regular maintenance plan in place. "If you have
problems with the defrag or scan disk continually restarting because
a program keeps writing to it or interfering then try running it in
safe mode". For starting in safe mode see troubleshooting.
tips on troubleshooting your computer please see Troubleshooting