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Computer Corner: User Maintenance

by Mark Smith, Web and Opinion editor

 

Has your computer been running slow lately? Frustrated waiting for windows or programs to load? Ready to kick your PC to the curb or throw your laptop out the car window? Before you do something irrational or shell out hard earned cash for someone to fix your system, here are a few things you can do that may save time and money:

 

Check for spyware
Spyware is a common problem with computer performance and if you surf the Web on a regular basis, you will have plenty of spyware on your system. Whenever you visit a Web site, you are opening your system to the possibility of spyware that is used by organizations, shady and otherwise, to track your Internet habits. By automatically downloading a spyware file to your computer, organizations can send specialized pop-up ads and junk mail to your computer and e-mail accounts.

To rid yourself of spyware, you can download any one of several programs from the Internet. Ad-Aware, one the most popular programs, can be downloaded for free. It consolidates all the spyware on your computer into a single folder for deletion.

Recently, CNN.com ran an article for people experiencing problems while trying to download the recent “Microsoft Service Pack 2” update which helps protect computers from worms, viruses, and spyware. Many people have been experiencing lock ups and other failures during the download procedure. If spyware is currently present on your computer, it may interfere with the new service pack download. Microsoft suggests using programs like Ad-Aware to remove spyware before trying to download the new update.

To help keep your computer running smoothly, Ad-Aware should be run at least once a week. It’s easy to use and comes with simple step-by-step instructions.

Disk Cleanup
Disk cleanup is also an important element in computer maintenance.

When you remove a file from your computer, you are simply removing the file’s directory entry; the data still remains. Disk cleanup completely removes the contents of deleted files as well as temporary Internet files, downloaded program files, the contents of the recycling bin, and temporary folder files.

To run Disk Cleanup, first close all applications then go to the start key at the bottom left-hand side of your screen. From there go to programs, then accessories, and finally system tools. Select Disk Cleanup and follow the prompts.

Disk Defragmenter
When you install a program on your computer, its files can be stored over multiple locations on your computer’s hard drive. This is known as fragmentation and it can cause your programs to run slow. Disk Defragmenter reorganizes these files and brings their components together, allowing the program to run faster. It also frees up space on your hard drive.

Whenever you download or remove a program, you should always use Disk Defragmenter afterwards. This will ensure that the program runs at the best speed possible.

The Disk Defragmenter program is located under system tools and can be accessed the same way as Disk Cleanup. To make sure Disk Defragmenter runs properly, be sure to close all windows and shut off all applications, including programs at the bottom right-hand side of your screen near the clock.

Once Disk Defragmenter has completed its scan, restarting your computer will reactivate these programs. Remember to always restart your computer after defragmenting.

Spyware removal, Disk Cleanup, and Disk Defragmenter, along with virus protection programs, should be incorporated into a weekly computer maintenance schedule. They are easy to use and together usually take less than an hour to run.

By performing regular computer maintenance, you can avoid frustration and extend the life of your system.

 

2004, Kalamalama, the HPU Student Newspaper. All rights reserved.
 
This site is maintained by Mark Smith
Website done by Rick Bernico