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If you just use your PC regularly, and have never done any maintenance, you will most likely run into many problems, computer slows down, you get a lot of freezes, files and programs take forever to open. Windows comes with a set of utilities to aid in the maintenance of your computer. Read more about them, and how to perform them here: Detailed instructions are offsite links to ctechie.com .
Your Hard Disk Drive (HDD) is used a lot during your computer sessions, a
lot of use can result in physical damage to the HDD, as well as other damage
such as file fragments becoming lost, unknown or unreadable. Do a thorough
scan disk at least once a month. Before doing a scan disk, close all
Ideally, file sectors should be on continuous locations on your hard disk,
this means to open a file, the Operating System does not have to do much file
processing work. But when you delete a program, or a file, it leaves a
gap, a new file may replace some of this gap, and replace another gap somewhere
else. When this file needs to be opened, more processing, taking much more
time is required. Disk Defragmenter takes this sectors and puts them back
together as best as it can, to make the process faster and more efficient.
Do this at least once every two weeks, close ALL programs, ALL internet
connections down. Turn off the screensaver, and don't interact with your
pc until complete. Perform a Scan Disk first.
This utility lets you do various things to check your pc's startup, process what starts up, and how the pc should start up next time, for purposes of tracing errors. Click Here to see full instructions on how to make use of Msconfig - http://www.redneckrepairs.com/~euchre/msconfig.shtml
It's important to keep as much free disk space as possible, a full HDD will run slow, and it will take longer to do the above processes as there are more files to scan. Virtual Memory requires large amounts of HDD space, if your HDD is full, the space is not available for Virtual Memory.