BOOT CAMP ARCHIVE 2000

  

 

BOOT CAMP 120

SPRING CLEANING YOUR PC, PART 2

Remember when you first brought your PC, all those months ago? Those were the days, when you switched it on the virginal Windows desktop appeared in less than a minute. The disc usage pie chart in My Computer was mostly purple, applications and files opened faster, Windows shut down in a tenth of the time it takes now and it never crashed, well, hardly ever. If that sounds familiar then it’s time to clear out the clutter!

There is actually a good argument for starting over once a year, by backing up all non-replaceable files and data and reformatting your PC’s hard disc drive. It’s not that difficult (see Boot Camp 54, January 7th 1999), it’s a tedious business though and it can take ages to get Windows and your reinstalled applications back to how you like them but it’s the only way you’ll restore your machine to anything like its original performance. Nevertheless a thorough spring clean can work wonders, but you’ve got to be ruthless, and systematic, and once you’ve done it invest in a good disc housekeeping program, like CleanSweep, Nuts & Bolts or McAfee Utilities etc., to keep your system running smoothly.

Before you begin make sure that all of your backups are up to date, just in case. Start by removing any programs that you no longer use, especially all those demos and magazine cover disc freebies. If you haven’t got an uninstaller utility on your PC there are only two ways to do it safely, either from Add/Remove Programs in Control Panel, or by using the program’s own uninstaller; if it has one you’ll find in the program’s folder on Start > Programs. Never delete program folders from Windows Explorer, as this will not remove the multitude of files and Registry entries that most applications write to your hard disc during installation.

Only remove one or two programs at a time, afterwards exit Windows and re-boot the PC every time. If a problem occurs try reinstalling the last program you’ve deleted. You may find that some desktop shortcuts remain; they can be deleted by right clicking on them. Some programs may still be listed in Add/Remove programs. It does no harm but they can be zapped with the Windows user’s friend Tweak UI. It is included on the first release of the Windows 98 CD ROM (Tools > Reskit > PowerToy). The Windows 95 version can be downloaded from the Microsoft web site.

Tweak UI is also included with all of the other PowerToys utilities on a lot of PC magazine cover mount discs. The Windows 95 version of Tweak does work on Windows 98, apparently there can be problems but we’ve never had any difficulties with it.

Windows 98 it has it’s own rudimentary disc cleaner utility. Go to Start > Programs > System Tools > Disc Cleanup and click OK to select Drive C. Select the Disc Cleanup tab. This will give you the option to empty Recycle Bin and folders that Windows and your Internet browser uses to temporarily store information. If you’ve upgraded from Windows 95 make a point of selecting the item ‘Windows 98 Uninstall Information’ as this can recover up to 80Mb of wasted hard disc space. This is supposed to let you revert back to Windows 95, but if you upgraded to the FAT 32 filing system (as you should have done) then it no longer serves any purpose since it is impossible to go back.

If you are using Windows 95 you’ll have to clear out those Temporary folders manually. Shut down all running applications and use Explorer to open Windows and look for a folder called Temp or Temporary. You can safely delete all files with the extension *.tmp, anything you’re not absolutely sure about leave alone. Remember, one step at a time, so carry out another shut down and re-boot to make sure you haven’t removed anything vital. If something does go wrong you can use Undo Delete in Recycle Bin.

Temporary Internet files can be emptied from within Internet Explorer. Go to the View or Tools menu (depending which version you are using) and select Internet Options. On the General tab look for the item Temporary Internet Files and click on Delete, while you are there you can reduce the amount of space used by clicking on Settings and moving the slider to the left – 100Mb is about right unless you rely on cached Internet pages. Personally I’m happy to clear this folder out completely, including Cookies, little files that contain information about sites you’ve visited. You can do this from Windows Explorer. If you want to keep any, for sites that you visit frequently, or may contain passwords etc., click Select All on Explorer’s Edit menu hold down the Ctrl key and work your way down the list and deselect those you’re not certain about or want to keep, then click on Delete.

Now for all those email messages. On Outlook Express the option to ‘compact’ all of the messages in your inbox and outbox folders, to free up some space, is on the File menu under Folder. If you want to make a clean start you can use Select All on the Edit menu and hold down Ctrl to deselect any that you want to hang on to. Don’t forget to right click on the Deleted Items folder and select Empty Folder to remove the files to make the freed up space available.

Finally, you should consolidate all of that free space by defragging the disc. Exit Windows and re-boot and do a final check on your key applications to make sure they’re all still working properly. Close all running applications, switch off any screensavers and virus checkers and empty the Recycle Bin. Now go to Start > Programs > Accessories and System Tools. Click first on ScanDisk, to give your hard disc a quick health check then if all’s well select Disk Defragmenter. If you are using Windows 95 click Settings and check the item ‘Rearrange program files so my programs start faster’; this will take a little longer but it’s usually worth it.

Next week – booklet printing

 

JARGON FILTER

DEFRAGGING

Over time the files on a PC's hard disc drive become disorganised, 'defragging' the drive restores order and speeds up reading and writing data

SCANDISK

A Windows utility that checks the integrity of data stored on a hard disc drive, identifies problems, and where possible, puts them right

TEMP FILES

Temporary files, ending in '.tmp' are created by Windows and other programs and normally deleted automatically though some will remain if Windows crashes or is not shut down properly

 

TOP TIP

Windows 98 users, if Dial Up Networking (DUN) won’t save your password every time you log on to the Internet or access your email here’s a couple of things to try. You may not be properly logged onto Windows. You can confirm this by clicking on the Start button, if you don’t see ‘Log off ….’  go to Passwords in Control Panel, on the Change Passwords tab click on Change Windows Password. If you want to use a ‘null password’ leave the Change Windows Password and Confirm New Password fields blank and click OK.

Removing and reinstalling Dial Up Networking is also worth trying. Go to Add/Remove Programs in Control Panel, select the Windows Set Up tab, double click Communications, check Dial Up Networking and click OK to remove, then go back and check DUN to re-install.

Search PCTopTips 


Web

PCTopTips

Boot Camp Index

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

1998

 

Top Tips Index

Windows XP

Windows Vista

Internet & Email

Microsoft Word

Folders & Files

Desktop Mouse & Keyboard

Crash Bang Wallop!

Privacy & Security

Imaging Scanning & Printing

Power, Safety & Comfort

Tools & Utilities

Sound Advice

Display & screen

Fun & Games

Windows 95/98/SE/ME

 

 

 

 

 

 Copyright 2006-2009 PCTOPTIPS UK.

All information on this web site is provided as-is without warranty of any kind. Neither PCTOPTIPS nor its employees nor contributors are responsible for any loss, injury, or damage, direct or consequential, resulting from your choosing to use any of the information contained herein.