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Spring cleaning: part two

In part two of spring-cleaning the PC, we look at cleaning the software. Activities include removing unused programs, cleaning out the temp files, scanning the file system and checking updates.

Removing unwanted programs used to be pretty important due to the space they took up on the hard drive. Computers today have loads of hard drive space so space is less of an issue. But if the program starts automatically when Windows starts up and you never use it, why keep it around? Go into the Control Panel, find the option to remove programs, go through the list and remove things you are not using.

Next thing to do is to run the Disk Cleanup program which guides the user through the removal of temporary files. Click Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, and Disk Cleanup. Follow through the prompts to remove unnecessary files.

With unnecessary files gone, we can scan C: for disk errors. Do this by opening My Computer, right-clicking the C: drive and selecting properties. Select the Tools tab then click the "Check Now" button within Error-checking. Select both options within Check Disk and know that Windows is usually unable to do this right away because C: is in use. Schedule it to run, reboot the system and be patient as the procedure runs.

Running the disk defragmenter program is analogous to straightening out the filing cabinet. Click Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, and Disk Defragmenter. Select the option to analyze and go from there.

Lastly, check the status of all updates to ensure Windows and supporting utilities like malware programs are running properly. This type of maintenance doesn't have to wait until spring each year. Keep the system up on a monthly basis and the odds all better of the reward of better service.

Ron Poland is a professor in the Computer Information Systems AAS program at Clinton Community College. Poland is certified in company repair and networking by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). He is also a Cisco certified network assistant. Questions may be sent to him via e-mail at ron@ronpoland.com.

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