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The tip...

Technical tip #48: The Maintenance Wizard

Has it been there all the time, right under my nose or did it come along with one of the many updates to Windows 98 that I’ve installed?

Just the other day a client encountered some sort of disaster involving the Recycle Bin, part of which was that the Bin was gone from the desktop.

I checked the Microsoft Knowledge Base to see what to do to restore the Recycle Bin.  It was there, I found it and it worked, sort of, but what it led me to was a little gem I have never noticed before, the “Maintenance Wizard”.

On my Windows 98 system and, I trust, yours, go to START >> PROGRAMS >>ACCESSORIES >> SYSTEM TOOLS and right there you will find the MAINTENACE WIZARD.  Launch (start) it and it will take you through automatic scheduling of three of the four things you should do to keep you system healthy: Cleanup, Defrag and Scandisk.

If you find doing these things inconvenient and, mostly, don’t want to get up at 3 in the morning to do them, this is the way out.  You just need to leave your computer on for the night(s) you wish to do these tasks.


  1. Most computers will not complete defrag unless nothing else is running.  I usually boot to safe mode to do it.  Will it work this way?  I don’t know, I haven’t tried it.  If you use the tool and you get up in the morning and Defrag says, “Restarting because the disk contents have changed”, you will have the answer to that.
  1. What is the fourth thing?  Windows Update, and you can select to run that almost automatically anytime you are connected to the Internet.

  1. There is no Maintenance Wizard in Windows 2000 or XP.  Why, Bill, why?

How do you get the Recycle Bin back?  Create a file (using WORD or Notepad or whatever) and then delete the file.  When asked if you want to send the file to the Recycle Bin, say yes.  Reboot.  The Recycle Bin should be back.  Why the Recycle Bin instructions send you to the Maintenance Wizard is still a bit of a mystery to me but if they hadn’t I might never have found this little beauty.


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