tip #59, April 23, 2004: A PC "tune up"
We received a call from a client the other day who asked us to come over
and "tune up" his PC.
We had to think for a few moments to decide what a PC tune up might
be but this is what we recommended (note: all these are for Windows 98.
They can all be done on 2000 and XP but the paths might be a bit
your computer's "Performance" tab. To do this right click
"My Computer" - this guy:
you will get this one:
Now left click "Properties" and you will get this
Now left click the "Performance" tab and you get:
"System Resources" should be at least 65% and
more is better. There are two approaches to getting to 65%: start up
fewer things and adding memory. While you are probably running lots
of thing you don't even know about (Realplayer is a classic example), it
is usually easier and not too expensive to add memory.
Run "Clean Up". To do this double left click My
Computer and you will see something like this:
Now right click your main drive
(usually "C") and from the pop up menu, select
"Properties" and you will see this:
Now left click "Disk
Cleanup" and you will see this:
We usually deselect the "Recycle Bin" - we like to look in it
first. The others are okay. Just click "OK".
You will then be asked if you really want to delete these files and the
answer is yes. All that junk goes away. You should do this
once a week or so.
"Defrag". Unfortunately, with Windows 98, you will have to
go to "Safe Mode" to run defrag successfully. To do this
"diddle" (press and release, press and release, etc., etc.) the
F8 key while rebooting the machine. If this does not work for you
(see tech tip #50, "The USB gotcha") you can run "MSCONFIG"
to set on the Startup Menu. To do this go to START>>RUN:
And then type in "msconfig" in the Run box:
You will then get this:
Now select "Advanced" and you get:
Select "Enable Startup Menu", OK, Apply, OK and reboot and that
will force on the menu that allows you to go to Safe Mode on
booting. To turn it off, just run msconfig again.
to actually run defrag, there are several paths but the easiest is to
double left click My Computer, right click the C drive icon, select
"Properties" from the pop up menu and you get this:
Select the "Tools" tab and you get:
From here select "Defragment Now" and follow the instructions.
Note: you can stop and exit from defrag any time you want. You
should run it once a month or so. Also note that with Windows XP not
only don't you have to go to Safe Mode to run defrag but you can actually
run it while using the machine!
Run Windows Update. This should appear somewhere
on your list of programs that show on the START button as here:
You can set Update to automatically notify you of critical updates and
then you need to run it only occasionally. If you don't go for
automatic notification you should run this twice a week a more.
Check that your virus definitions are up to date. If you have an
automatic system you probably only need do this once a week or so to
ensure it is working. Also note that, with Norton, automatic Live
Update only works for virus definitions. You will only get software
updates if you manually run Live Update. We do this once a week or
Run an on-line scan with a product different than the one you use.
If you use Norton, run a Trend Micro (PC-cillin) scan. Go to www.trendmicro.com
and select the "Personal" tab, then "HouseCall" as in:
And follow the directions.
Download and run "Spybot". Go to www.spybot.com
and you will see this screen:
Click the "Looking for Spybot..." button. The Spybot guy
asks for a donation and I give him $10 every time I use it on a
different machine or client. Don't be shocked if the first time you
run it it finds thousands of suspect files. We recommend doing
this once or month or so or if your machine slows suddenly, starts getting
many pop ups or just generally gets weird.
it! Not too bad, huh?