How to spring clean your computer _ Part 2

PC Clean Up and Maintenance Techniques

Delete all old programs

Go to "Start > Programs" and use the "uninstall" tools on any old applications that you or your family no longer needs.

If a program doesn't have an uninstall program, then go to "Start > Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs". Remove any programs here in the dropdown menu. But be careful…"when in doubt…leave it the heck alone." If you are not sure what a program does, look it up online.

Run Microsoft's Disk Cleanup

Your computer routinely creates little files that are either unnecessary or temporary. Often applications leave these orphan files just lying around taking up valuable disk space and hogging resources. . It's your job, as a computer power user to clean out those cyber "cobwebs" in the corners of your system.

You can regain your lost disk space my using a Windows utility called Disk Cleanup. The program Disk Cleanup comes with the Win98/Me/2000/XP/Vista operating systems. It was designed to remove unnecessary files from your system.

Use Scandisk to detect potential hard drive errors.

Scandisk is one of the built in Windows utilities that can help you maintain a tidy hard drive. Scandisk detects and repairs minor hard disk errors. To use Scandisk click on "START/Accessories/System Tools/Scan Disk.

Use Disk Defragmenter to Get Organized Internally

Disk defragmenter (Defrag) is another Windows utility. The Defrag's job is to rearrange and reorganize your hard disk by putting all files together in contiguous sectors. When a program is installed, your operating system plops the resulting files into the first empty sectors (pre-sized spaces) it finds on your disk. Some files are stored close together while others are not.

Defragging a hard drive forces the operating system collect all the relevant files together and lay them down in adjacent sectors. This makes for faster file storage and retrieval.

Update Your Antivirus and or Firewall software.

Make sure that your have installed the latest updates. Trying to get updated AFTER you've been attacked is often too little too late.

Update Your Operating system and Applications

Install the latest service packs, patches and updates. Security patches for Windows can be found online at Windows update support page. Or better yet turn on the Auto Update tool in the Control Panel..

Update your device drivers

Check online for any updated device drivers for your printers, monitor etc. Update if needed but be careful because installing new drivers can often cause as many problems as they cure. Is this new driver a more secure and stable application or just the latest "bignew" thing?

This whole monthly PM check should take no more than 1 - 3 hours in one day. And since you will automate it using Task Scheduler you won't even know its working until You notice your computer humming right along.

To read the rest of this series, click