How to Keep a Windows Computer Running Efficiently
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How to Keep a Windows Computer Running Efficiently

In a home computer there are two types of maintenance, the hardware side and the software side. In this article I am not going to be discussing the hardware side but I am going to list three software tips that come pre-installed with most versions of Windows. Read on if you want to keep your Windows computer running efficiently.

For those of you who are new to computers let us imagine our computer is a huge building, with thousands of rooms, thousands of filing cabinets and thousands of papers. For us to store all these papers we will have to:

  1. Keep some kind of system for us to be able to retrieve the papers we need.
  2. Pay attention of how we store these papers making sure they are not damaged.
  3. Dispose of old papers that are not needed any more to make room for new ones.

Computer preventive maintenance is very similar to this but in a digital virtual world.

Option 1: Defragmentation

Defragmentation is a very useful tool which when performed on a regular basis will help in the speed at which your PC loads files and programs. What defragmentation does is it deals with all your files and organises them in sequence so that the PC can find them in an easier and faster manner.

How to access defrag on Windows XP/Vista/7: open My Computer, right click on the C: drive, select Properties, go on the Tools tab and finally click Defragment Now...

Option 2: Disk Cleanup

As the name implies, this cleans up your PC from unwanted files. When a computer is loading a program it creates many small files which it needs only while the program is running. Once the program is closed these files are not needed any more, but they stay there, occupying important space. What this software does is it scans all your hard drive, identifies these files and deletes them all, saving on lots of storage space.

How to access Disk Cleanup on Windows XP/Vista/7: Click on the start button, choose All Programs, go to Accessories, then System Tools and finally click Disk Cleanup

Option 3: Task Scheduler

There are several other examples of preventive maintenance besides the two I mentioned, so sometimes making sure you do them all on a regular basis can be time consuming.

This is where Task Scheduler comes in handy, All you have to do is make a list of preventive maintenance software you need to run, add them all to the schedule with a time, day and order at which you need them to take place and that is it! Task Scheduler will take care of the rest. This is very useful, as some of the preventive maintenance software can use up quite a lot of processor power which can be quite annoying to have running while you are working as it slows down your PC. With scheduler you can set them even at night, just remember to leave the computer on.

How to access Task Scheduler on Windows XP/Vista/7: Click on the start button, choose All Programs, go to Accessories, then System Tools and finally click Task Scheduler

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Comments (3)

A more efficient way of de-fragging/optimizing involves moving oft-used files to the outer edges of the HDD, with first-load files (DLLs, etc.) nearer the hub. This reduces swing-arm latency and in so doing, increase apparent load-time often 300-400% (but we're talking milliseconds here, sacrcely noticeable in human perceptive terms.)

I forget the program name, but I had a shareware defragger that did this. It is available on TUCOWS I'm sure.

Windows' default defrager does not do this defrag/opti. It should!

Agreed. There are other optimizations which are better such as the one you described, although I doubt that people will go that far as this article covers only the basics with no third party software meant for those who lack computer skills. Maybe I'l write a more advanced one later.

Good info for those of us who know "just enough to be dangerous."