News Letter 3

How To Tune Up Your Computer

This month’s tip covers the two basic tools that are used to keep your computer from crashing.

I will describe each for the two general Windows operating systems*.

Windows XP, Windows 2000 and soon to be Windows Vista* Users
The first tune up that should be done is called Check disk, which is a poorly know but very important tune up that should be done every 2 to 3 months. The Scandisk utility of Windows ME has been replaced with Check disk. You can use this errror-checking tool in Windows XP to check the integrity of your hard disk and to check for file system errors and bad sectors* on your hard disk. Just follow these steps:

1. Double-click My Computer, and then right-click the local disk that you want to check.

2. Click Properties, and then click Tools.

3. Under Error-checking, click Check Now.

4. Under Check disk options, select the Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors check box. 

5. Click Start. You will be prompted to restart your computer.

The Check Disk utility occurs before the operating system starts.

The next tune up tool is called Disk Defrag. When files are stored on a hard disk, they are stored in pieces called sectors and could be scattered all over the hard disk. The first part of a file could be on the inner ring, the next could be on the outer and the next somewhere in between, and so on. De-fragmenting is nothing more than rearranging the pieces of every file so that they are physically in order on the disk - in other words they're very near each other, and getting information off the hard drive requires little or no movement and can happen at maximum speed. Here are the steps:

1.

Open My Computer.

2.

Right-click the local disk volume that you want to defragment, and then click Properties.

3.

On the Tools tab, click Defragment Now.

4.

Click Defragment.

You can click the Analyze button to see if you need to perform the defrag or just click Defragment.

Windows ME, Windows 98 and Windows 95
The first tool to keep you old operating system running better is called Scandisk, which should be done every 2 to 3 months or more frequently if the computer gets heavy use. Running Scandisk can take a long time depending on the size and speed of your hard drive so it’s best to start this process and leave the PC scanning itself for a while, especially if you select “Thorough” in the type of test box.

Here’ s how to run Scandisk:

1. Click Start 

2. Click Run and type scandisk in the run box

3. Click OK

4. Within the scandisk window select the drive that you wish to be checked.

5. Choose the option between standard and through. It is recommended you run standard first, if you encounter issues with scandisk then run the through scan.

6. Finally click start to begin scandisk.

The second tool to keep you old operating system running better is called Disk Defrag, which should be done every 2 to 3 months. The one thing that really slows your PC is file fragmentation. Files are often stored in pieces all over your hard drive, which causes the disk reader to travel great distances to seek, retrieve, and reassemble the file for use. Here’s how to run Disk Defrag:

1. Click Start

2. Point to Programs

3. Point to Accessories

4. Point to System Tools

5. Click Disk Defragmenter. If your disk is in good shape, this only takes a few seconds. On the other hand, if your disk is badly fragmented it can take up to several hours. I like to Click on “Show Details” to watch it chug along.

Error Message

Sometimes a you get an error message that says:

“ScanDisk has restarted 10 times because Windows or another program has been writing to this drive. Quitting some running programs may enable ScanDisk to finish sooner. Do you want to continue receiving this warning?”

The best thing to do is to start your computer in Safe Mode and run it again.

MAC Users
You don’t really need to do any tune ups to your computer if you have OS X. Here’s a link to why.http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=25668

Thanks for reading!

* An operating system is a computer's primary software program, and it controls all basic operations of the computer. MS Windows and Linux are examples of operating systems.

* On 30 Jan 07-ish there will be Windows Vista,http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/getready/editions/default.mspx

* A sector is a portion or section of a disk that cannot be used because it is flawed.

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