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 Anjum Dhir Kulkarni

The more applications we add to our computers, the more convenient and fun our life becomes. But too many applications loaded on our machines drastically slow them down and inhibit their performances. Our computers need preventive maintenance to run smoothly and avoid major breakdowns. Here are some quick tips to get your computer running at its fastest and most efficient:

1. Erase Disk Errors: Every time a program crashes or you face power fluctuations, your computer may create errors on the hard disk which can slow it down. Windows has a Disk Check program to check and clean up such errors and speed up your computer. Ideally, run this program once a week.

2. Delete Temporary Files: Your computer stores temporary files when ever you look at web pages or work on files in programs like MS Word. The storage of such files adversely affects the speed of your machine. Run Windows Disk Cleanup once a week to rid your PC of these deadbeat files. You can even remove unnecessary software programs this way.

3. Reorganise Your Data: To speedily access files, your computer breaks them into parts. File updates are often saved on the largest space available on the hard drive, away from the adjacent sectors of the file. Such fragmented files slow down the computer. The Windows Disk Defragmenter run once a month will defragment the files and speed up your PC.

4. Automate Microsoft Update: Configure your computer to automatically download and install all the updates that Microsoft constantly releases for Windows, Office etc. These updates improve your computers performance in every way possible. With automated updates, your computer will always remain in top shape.

5. Install Antivirus And Antispyware Programs: Spyware entering one’s system drastically curtails performance and speed, in addition to exposing it to theft. Keep your computer protected with Norton and McAfee antivirus programs. Adaware, Spybot Search and Destroy, Giant Antispyware are all programs that rid your machine of malicious spyware and keep it running well.

Additionally, up your computer’s performance level by running Startup Delayer, turning off fancy visual effects in Windows and removing broken shortcuts from the registry. By removing unwanted pre-installed software, disabling unnecessary Windows services and reducing your web page history, you will have your computer working quickly and efficiently, effortlessly!

Over time, our PCs often become cluttered with unused software and files we never opened after they were created. Such clutter can slow down your PC and hamper your usability. Although you can manually run clean ups every once in a while, investing in a good freeware system optimization tool like CCleaner might be worth your time. Such software remove unused and temporary files from your system and allow your system to run faster, more efficiently, giving you more hard disk space. The best part is that most of them are fast and free to download and contain no spy ware.

System Optimization Tools Clean Up:
  • Internet Explorer Cache, history, cookies, recycle bin, temporary files and log files
  • Recently opened URLs and files
  • Third-party application temp files and recent file lists (MRUs)
  • Software such as Media Player, eMule, Kazaa, Google Toolbar, Netscape, Office XP, Nero, Adobe Acrobat, WinRAR, WinAce and more
  • Advanced registry scanner and cleaner to remove unused and old entries
  • File extensions, ActiveX controls, ClassIDs, ProgIDs, shared DLLs, icons, invalid shortcuts and more

    Are you tired of waiting for your computer guy to come add an extra hard drive to your computer? Wait no more! Just follow these 5 simple tips to install the drive yourself.
    1) Switch off the power: No need to see if you can withstand an electric shock. It won’t be strong but it will still do enough harm. So switch off all power before you start your work. Also, remove the casing on your CPU to expose the drive slots.
    2) Unplug the existing drive: Unplugging the existing drive involves removing the cables connected to the drive. There are usually two sets of cables connected to the drive. Carefully pull these out.
    3) Unscrew the drive: Now that you have unplugged the drive, remove it from the slot by unscrewing it from its slot. There are usually four screws holding the drive in place. Remove these and slide the drive out of its slot.
    4) Jumper settings: Jumpers are metal pins that have small black plastic sleeves that slot on them; they are used to configure hard drives. Check the manufacturer’s handbook to confirm the settings. Shift the jumpers to ‘master’ or ‘single/drive’ position. If you are using two drives, set one of them as the ‘slave’ and the other as the ‘master’, depending on your use.
    5) Fix the new drive: Now connect all the cables on the new drive, slide it into place, and screw it in. Make sure you have not loosened any other connections in the process. Reboot your computer and you can see the new drive being displayed in the ‘My Computer’ section.

    So, there you go! A new drive installed without any hassles and ready to use!


    Want to leave your computer on but don't want to use all that extra electricity? Windows provides an easy way to reduce the power your system consumes when you are not using it. This is especially handy for laptop users.

    The easiest way to get to these options is to right click an empty space on the desktop and select Properties in the menu that appears. This takes you to the "Display Properties" window. From here, click on the "Screen Saver" tab. On the bottom of the window there should be a button labeled "Power". Click this button and a new window opens up with the header "Power Options Properties".

    The first option tells the computer to turn off the monitor after a set period of inactivity. You can set the time period by clicking the arrow in the drop down box and choosing the time you want from the ones listed. This time should be the shortest of the four options. This way if you leave your computer the monitor will turn off after say, 10 minutes. and when you return and move the mouse or hit a key it will turn on again.

    The next option allows the computer to turn off the hard drives after a certain period of inactivity. You can set the time in the same way you did for the monitor. Again, after you return the computer will turn everything back on again.

    The third option will put the system in a Standby mode designed to use a small amount of power. Set the required inactivity time in the same way as before. If you use this option you will have to press the power button on your computer to "revive it". It should come back pretty quickly. This is probably the best option because it will save a lot of power while still providing relatively short start up time.

    The final option, Hibernation, actually turns the computer off after saving all of your information to the hard drive. The time you set here should be the longest time. When you come back to use the computer again you will have to turn it on and give it a bit of time to turn on and load the information it saved. The advantage this has over shutting down your machine is that your desktop and programs will be restored exactly how you left them, and the startup process is a little faster.

    You can use any or all of these options and save power.

    When you use a laptop computer, you probably try to keep your battery power usage to a minimum. You may also want to cut down on the energy consumption of your desktop computer. One way to save power is to turn the computer off when you're not using it. If you’d like to save power but do not want to wait for Windows to shut down and restart, you can use the Microsoft Windows XP hibernation capability. Hibernation saves your open windows to your computer's hard disk and shuts the computer down within a few seconds. The next time you start your computer, all of your windows open exactly where you left them.

    Hibernation is an alternative to the standby capability and saves your programs and shuts your computer down completely. Hibernation uses no power, and it takes your computer just several seconds to recover from hibernation when you want to use it again. Standby reduces power usage when your computer is not in use by turning off the parts of your computer that use the most energy. Standby uses more power than hibernation, but it takes less time to start a computer from standby than from hibernation.

    To put your computer into hibernation, Click Start and then click Turn Off Computer. Click Hibernate. If Hibernate is not an option, read Configure Windows XP power management for instructions on how to enable hibernation. Your computer goes into hibernation—a state in which it consumes no power. To wake your computer from hibernation, press the power button. If you like using hibernation, you can configure your computer's power button to automatically put your computer into hibernation.
    Tips on Removing Unnecessary Files 

    You may wish to clear out some unnecessary files in Windows 98 or NT 4.0 to save the disk space or for any other reason. But before you do, make sure to be very cautious while in the root folder (Usually C:\). There may be vital information, if deleted, may cause problems for your system.

    Deleting unnecessary temp files

    Very often you will find a number of unnecessary temp files on your computer. This may be due to an abnormal system shutdown. You might want to delete these files since they may cause problems somewhere down the road. Before deleting them, however, you should copy the temp files to a floppy and go ahead and delete them. After making copies, it will be safe to delete them. To delete these files:

    • From the desktop press F3.
    • This will open the Find: All Files dialog box.
    • In the Named field type *.tmp.
    • In the Look in field, click the down arrow and select the drive you want to search.
    • Click Find Now.
    • When the search results appear, from the View menu select Arrange Icons, and click by Date.
    • Select all of the temp files that are not dated to the current day and hit the Delete button.

    Copying a large number of files and folders instantaneously.
    The quickest way to copy files or folders from your hard drive to a floppy is by using Send To. First you need to:

    • Select the file(s) or folder(s) you want to copy and right-click them.
    • Then you select on the menu.
    • Choose the floppy drive in the pop-up menu.

    Your files will now be copied.

    Dragging and dropping files.

    In Windows 98, if you are dragging a file to another location, there is an easy way to tell what the file will do when you let it go. Before you release the mouse when dragging, look in the lower-right corner of the file’s icon.
    • An arrow means that your file will become a shortcut.
    • A plus sign (+) means that your file will be copied.
    If you can’t see anything, your file will be moved to a new location.
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