Good Computer Housekeeping

Five Steps to a neater, safer, more efficient computer

1. Many applications, particularly internet, accumulate loads of temporary files which clog up your hard drive. At least once per month (more frequently if you are a regular surfer) run Disk Cleanup by clicking Start>Programs (or All Programs)>Accessories>System Tools>Disk Cleanup. It may take a while to go beyond Compress Old Files (some systems hang here and you need a technician to edit the registry to work around this problem). After it does, you will see a list of tickboxes. Be sure Temporary Internet Files, Offline Web Pages, Recycle Bin, Temporary files and Web Clent/Publisher Temporary files are all ticked. Click OK at the bottom of the box, then YES on the next box. Depending on how many files, it will take several seconds to complete the operation. Every second or third time, before you click OK, click on the More Options tab at the top and select System Restore Clean Up to delete all but the most recent restore point.

2. Set your Email program (usually Outlook Express) to empty the Deleted folder each time you close the program. Do this by opening Outlook Express and selecting Tools>Options>Maintenance and then making sure the box “Empty messages from the ‘Deleted Items’ folder on exit” is ticked.

3. Once a month manually delete all Inbox and Sent messages over 2-3 months old (your choice). The quickest way is to click on the message from the earliest date, scroll to the last message you wish to delete. Hold down the SHIFT ket and click on that last message. This will highlight all messages in between. Then just hit the DELETE key or select Edit near the top of the screen and then select Delete.

4. About every 3 months run Disk Defragmenter - Start>Programs>Accessories>System Tools>Disk Defragmenter. This tool (which may take a while to run) rearranges files on your hard disk for optimum speed when in use. Often the best time to run this tool is overnight or during a time when you do not expect to use the computer for a couple of hours or so.

5. Regularly insure that Windows, Office, your anti virus and anti spyware programs are up to date. While online, go to Start>Programs>Windows Update and follow the onscreen prompts. At there is a similar function for Microsoft Office.

A clean machine is a lot more fun!