Jan 3, 2008

Hard Drive Clean Up

Make Your PC to be Clean and Lean. Not Mean...

Image from stockxpert - woodsy

Being the holidays, and the start of the New Year, most of us are in holiday mode. I guess to some extent our computer might be resting a bit. Maybe take advantage of your computer’s rest up. So maybe implement a new year’s resolution of a basic computer clean up of your resourceful, but sometimes overlooked computer’s hard drive. There are a couple of aspects to maintain Window’s functionality to keep your system running smoothly…

Standard utilities such as disk defragmenter, disk clean up, and check disc (error checking) help to achieve this. Some are accessed by, selecting start programs - accessories - system tools - then the relevant utility. Check disk is accessed by right clicking the C drive (or another drive if a separate partition) in the My computer folder. Then click on properties, tools, and then check disk. This operation may take a long time depending on the volume of information present - so patience is required.

Remember to delete or transfer (e.g. to USB drive, CD/DVD disc) unwanted files, e.g. executables, zip files, photos, documents, web templates, movies, mp3’s, and so on. Use Windows search to find where such files are residing. Maybe use a program like TreeSize to get an idea of the folder sizes on your PC to focus where most of unwanted programs are located.
You can also manually clean out the contents (keep the folder though) within a temporary or recent folder. This may be located under Documents and Settings - User Name - Recent, for example. There is also your browser’s temporary cache folder that you may want to empty to help save space. You may want to decease the total files to be saved within your browser and you might want to delete certain cookies and browser history. Also the recycle bin, where deleted files are stored, where you can view them. Then you can then manually delete them by closing the bin, right click the bin’s icon and select Empty Recycle Bin.

Use the uninstall program (
Start - Settings - Control Panel - Add/Remove Programs) to remove installed unwanted programs. Ideally use the program’s own install function if available. Associated with the programs, might be its reference or short cut on the Start menu, which also should be removed. This will help to reduce clutter.

As mentioned earlier, run defragmenter to reorder scattered files, which may take some time; you might have to defrag in safe mode, if defragging restarts continuously. Often the f8 key needs to be tapped say every 2 seconds to enter safe mode on a restart. When defrag is finished then reboot to normal mode. Then run check/scan disk from my computer (tick automatically fix errors) which will fix or remove bad clusters, fragmented files, and file system errors.

Also during boot up, many programs may be starting up which may not be always required (e.g. picture editors, PDF programs, music programs). You need to check the importance of these programs (Search on Google) to evaluate if they are required when booting up. Make sure your anti-virus, firewalls, and spyware start up - generally vital system programs. Perhaps use CCleaner and a stand alone registry cleaner to check the start up list, and for further hard drive optimization. Do use these programs carefully, to make sure you do not delete important programs, files, and registry entries. Search and learn about entries that you are unfamiliar with. Visit techspot for more on start up entries. The more advanced manual approach for cleaning up start up programs is the system configuration utility function…

Don’t forget the Windows update to download critical security files and programs, particularly for internet explorer. Then manually run your updated anti-virus and spyware programs to check for unwanted spyware, malware, and other unknown files that may be lurking about. It’s good practice to regularly clean up you hard drive to maximize it’s performance for trouble free operation - Do a little work now, to perhaps save a lot of work and possible problems later.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I tend to think of a badly fragmented and cluttered drive as a messy closet or desk where it takes double the time to find anything. In terms of its silent and prolific growth its like a disease which starts off harmlessly to aggaravte into serious problems like freezes, slowdowns and potential disk crashes.