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Windows Maintenance:
Check Disk, Defrag, Clean Up,
System Restore, Edit Registry

Windows has always come with a number of built-in maintenance tools that can help keep your computer running smoothly and free of costly repairs.

ChkDsk (Check Disk) is a utility that will scan your hard drive and fix a variety of problems, some of which you don't even know you have. Click on Start>My Computer. Then, right-click on C-Drive (or any drive that needs maintenance) and choose Properties>Tools>Check Now. Next, checkmark "Automatically Fix File System Errors" and "Scan for and Attempt Recovery of Bad Sectors." Finally, click Start.

ChkDsk may require two to four hours and the computer will be unusable while running. I usually do it at night or when out of the house for a while.

Defragment Your Hard Disk

Also under Tools, look for Defragment Now. New files are normally added to your hard drive in sequence, and without spaces between them. However, moving or deleting files can leave gaps that make your hard drive resemble Swiss cheese. Defragmenting will rearrange the files in a logical sequence that makes them easier to access. The process usually takes less than an hour, and you can continue working during defragmenting. However, doing so will slow things down.

Disk Cleanup

Also under Start>My Computer, right-clicking C and choosing Properties>General will display Disk Cleanup, which shows options for deleting unneeded files and recovering disk space.

System Restore

If you encounter a problem that appears to be system-related, things can often be fixed by restoring your system to a previous date. Click on Start>All Programs>Accessories>System Tools>System Restore. Click Next when you see "Restore My Computer to an Earlier Time," whereupon a calendar will be displayed with certain dates shown in bold type. Choose any bold-face date that precedes the date on which your problem began. Finally, click Next and follow the prompts to restore your settings to what they were on that date.

The list of things that can go awry in your system settings is too long to itemize here, but I have used System Restore to fix all kinds of problems.

Removing Unwanted Files from the Windows Registry

Another problem is getting stuck with unwanted files in your Windows Registry. For example, if you download and install RealPlayer, and later decide you don't want it, using the normal Start>Control Panel>Add/Remove Programs>Remove may appear to uninstall the program; however, many files will be left in your Registry that can give you all kinds of grief.

Such files can often be deleted as follows: Click Start>Run, and type REGEDIT (Registry Edit) into the Run box. Click OK and use Edit>Find (Ctrl+F) to look for entries bearing the word REAL. (This will display phrases such as RealPlayer and RealAudio.) Right-click the icon to the left of each entry and choose DELETE. Repeat this process until no more are found. Finally exit the Registry Editor.

    The Registry is a complex area that is usually best left to a technician.
    I recommend contacting Mike Scheer at 949-891-1731 if you suspect that your PC has Registry issues.

© Donald Ray Edrington - All Rights Reserved
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