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Beginners Guides: Annual PC Checkup Checklist

Beginners Guides: Annual PC Checkup Checklist - PCSTATS
Abstract: A medical primer for your computer, from dust bunnies to defragging, keep your computer in good health by giving it a yearly checkup!
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PCSTATS Jun 29 2007   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCSTATS

Defragmenting the hard drive

Windows XP includes a disk defragmentation utility which you can use to re-arrange the files on the drive and eliminate fragmentation. This can have a significant affect on the speed of your computer.

To access this utility, go to 'start\programs\accessories\system tools\disk defragmenter.'

To begin with, you need to analyze your hard disk(s) to see if defragmentation is needed. Select a drive and hit the 'analyze' button. This could take a little while depending on the amount of data on the drive. Once the analysis is finished, you will have a graphical representation of your disk's level of fragmentation. See the pic below for an example of a highly fragmented drive.

Windows will also inform you if it recommends defragmenting the drive. You must have 15% of the drive free in order to fully defragment it. Anything less will result in only a partial re-ordering of the files.

You may need to delete a few things to obtain this free space. To defragment the drive, select it and hit the 'defragment' button. Note that depending on the size of the drive and the level of fragmentation, this can take a long time. It's a good thing to leave overnight, since you should not run anything else while doing the defrag.

Disabling auto-run programs

A common source of slowdown (especially while loading the operating system) is excessive software, specifically applications that run themselves automatically at startup.

If the notification area at the bottom right corner of your taskbar looks something like this (see right), y ou may well be slowing your system down unnecessarily, especially at startup when these programs are loaded. There is no need to have the majority of these applications load at startup, since you can easily run them from the start menu when they are needed.

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Contents of Article: PCSTATS
 Pg 1.  Beginners Guides: Annual PC Checkup Checklist
 Pg 2.  Cigarette Smoke and Computers
 Pg 3.  Cleaning and re-oiling fans.
 Pg 4.  Cleaning the inside of your PC
 Pg 5.  Software solutions
 Pg 6.  — Defragmenting the hard drive
 Pg 7.  Unnecessary startup programs
 Pg 8.  Disk cleanup utility

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