Basic Recommended Computer Maintenance
( Ritual ceremonies to prevent the computer from breaking down. By the way, there are more PC tribesmen than Mac tribesmen so everything here is aimed at Microsoft PC systems. Besides, we belong to the PC tribe. )
It is HIGHLY recommended that that you periodically run the following system
programs: ScanDisk and Disk Defragmenter.
*When using SCANDISK we suggest that you check off the block that says,
"Automatically Fix Errors".
2.MicroSoft System Updates.
It is HIGHLY recommended that you visit Microsoft Windows Update and download
and install the latest Windows Critical Updates for your system, no matter
which Operating System you use. Even new computers need updating. UPDATES
The installation of Microsoft Windows Critical Updates will also protect you from some common computer security risks and some viruses. But we also suggest that you run a good Virus Detection Program using the most recent updates. We will get to that.
After you run these programs, reboot before installing software. Reboot is an old DOS word meaning, " turn your computer off, wait a few minutes, and turn it back on."
3.The Golden Rule: When all else fails, REBOOT.
When the cursor quits cursing, the browser quits browsing or the system starts moving v.e.r.y s.l.o.w.l.y and you are annoyed with it, close down all the programs running (if you can) and press START/SHUTDOWN , then choose RESTART from the other options if you wish. If nothing will work, go to the back (or side or front) of the computer, use the OFF button, wait a few minutes, then turn it back on.
This clears your system of unwanted messes (not the technical term but good enough description) and often cures whatever problem was dragging the system down. For some reason occasionally a program may quit responding and that jams up the whole system. Sometimes the system is overworked and the swap memory is used up. A reboot refreshes the system. Operating Systems (OS) such as Windows 3.1 (anyone still have that?) 95, 98, and Millennium need to be rebooted at least once a day (sometimes more) if you use the computer. Windows 2000 was such a pain in the neck to configure hardware for, that I will not comment. Windows NT can run a long time between reboots as can XP, and Linux (which may never need a reboot). No matter what system, even a Mac, if it gets sluggish, or something isn't working quite right, reboot. This often straightens out small problems.
4.The Magic Native Ritual that often cures programs that are not responding.
The scenario: You press Start; Programs; and press the button to start the
program of your choice, but it does not pop up. You try it again, go get a cup
of coffee, come back and it is still grinding away, trying to open, but not
succeeding. Or maybe by accident you hit two buttons at the same time or the
wrong button and confused the darned thing. Whatever you did, you are faced
with a big half open window that will not finish its assigned task and that
will not close.
If we didn't take out the garbage every so often, we would soon find our house
crowded by the bags of accumulated trash.
This computer clutter needs to be cleaned up every now and then.
Did I mention that on the great island Internet there are two other, sometimes warring, factions? Many have been slain in the Browser Wars. There are natives who use something called MicroSoft Internet Explorer and others who use Netscape Communicator. Here and there you will find natives using Opera or other browsers, but the majority of them use MSIE or NC. Both are browsers and allow you to travel all over the internet and email your friends (although email systems are another subject).
You can make housekeeping a bit easier by setting your internet options. Open
your MSIE browser and choose the drop down menu called "TOOLS" at the top. Then
choose "Internet Options". Netscape users have similar options.
You can go to that storage folder (open My Computer/C Drive, then browse down to the folder where Temporary Internet Files are stored) to
find and delete "cookies" if you wish. Cookies will not be deleted any other
way automatically. Cookies do not take much space, but they do clutter up the
computer. They are used by those on the Internet who wish to know how many
times you visit a certain website or page. Having them is helpful if you like
some sites to recognize you, but mostly it doesn't matter.
Spring Cleaning: You can also press Start/Search (or Find) and type in *.TMP which will miraculously bring up a list of all the temporary files on your computer. This is the thorough way to remove all Temporary files that are left over from installing software and various other activities. These are files that were not automatically removed. You may safely delete them. You may wish to do this every few months.
If you use Outlook Express for email, occasionally go to FILE/Folder/Compact all Folders which compresses the space needed to store all your email. Most other email programs have the same type of option available. Even if you delete all email, email uses virtual space. Be neat, compact your folders.
Next: Dangerous Creatures
Graphics from public domain or from free
to use collections. Thanks Microsoft!
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