December 15, 2008

Keep your computer running good

Filed under: Uncategorized — unwriter1 @ 10:42 am
Tags: , ,

Today’s post is a bit different. Most everyone reading this has a computer (there may be some that do this on a friends computer or some other way.) You know about disc cleanup and defragment, but I’m giving full instructions for keeping your computer running at its very best. Any questions, contact me via my email.

General Computer Cleanup Instructions
All parts of the screen that can be selected are called buttons and will be identified here with an underline, for example: Start. The underline is not displayed on the screen.

Prior to performing any of the tasks listed here, ensure your computer is turned on and is at the screen with all the pictures. This is called the desktop and the pictures are called icons.

The first step to ensuring your computer is operating at its best is to close down all background programs. Locate the following keys on your keyboard :Ctrl (control), Alt (alt), Del delete. Warning: Do not press the enter key until instructed to do so.

Prior to doing anything, shut down any screensavers you may have running.

Read through the following instructions prior to actually doing anything.

1. Press and hold down the control key Ctrl.
2. Press and hold down the alt key Alt.
3. Press the delete key Del once. Pressing this key more than once at this point will cause your computer to reset. When a box appears that is called Close Program, release all keys.

Each line shown in the close program box is a program running in the background. Locate the button labeled End Task.

The only program needed is: Explorer.
4. Use your pointing device, mouse or trackball (referred to as a mouse from here on), to highlight a line or program in the box.
5. Press the left mouse button once (this locks the highlight)
6. Press End Task.

When you do this, the close program window disappears. Repeat steps 1, 2, and 3 to bring the close program window back on the screen. If you see the same program that you attempted to eliminate, repeat steps 4, 5, and 6. At this point another box may appear on the screen that says “This program is not responding”. Locate and press End Task , located in the lower right corner of this box. Repeat steps 1 through 3, and steps 4 through 6, when necessary, until the only program displayed is: explorer.

This operation shuts down all programs that are running in the background. It is possible that the computer might suddenly freeze up or stop responding. That is not a problem! Press Ctrl, Alt, Del (twice) to reset the computer. When the computer resets, all programs closed by this operation will reappear.

Once all background programs have been closed, proceed to do scandisk and disk defragmentation.


Scandisk and Defragmentation

At least once a week, a thorough scandisk and de-fragmenting should be run.
1. Click on ‘Start’
2. Click on ‘programs’
3. Click on ‘accessories’
4. Click on ‘system tools’
5. Scroll down to ‘scandisk and click on it.
6. Click on ‘advanced’ in lower right corner.
7. Ensure the following are marked:
Display system summary: ‘all’
Log file: ‘no log’
Cross-linked files: ‘delete’
Lost file fragments: ‘free’
Check files for: all three boxes need to be checked
The bottom two boxes, ‘check host drive first’ and ‘report ms-dos mode file length errors’ need to be checked.
8. Click on ‘ok’
9. Click on ‘start’
Note: This procedure will run for a long time.

When this is finished,
1. Click on ‘start’
2. Click on ‘accessories’
3. Click on ‘system tools’
4. Scroll down and click on ‘disk defragmentor’
5. Click on ‘ok’
Setting up msconfig

Click on start/run
Type in msconfig then press enter
Click on the far right tab that says startup

There are several boxes that have check marks in them. The only ones that must stay checked are:
Avg (there may be two or more of these)
Yahoomessenger if you have it.

Click apply
Click ok
Restart the computer

When it comes back up, just click ok (if you have XP, click on exit without restart).

For any questions, contact me at: unwriter@yahoo.com

General Cleaning plus special XP instructions

This is a dual-purpose post. There are two sets of general cleanup instructions, one for XP and one for pre XP. These are where you do scandisk and defragmenation. However, scandisk is not an XP function so the second half of this post will cover another way to clean up your hard drive. But, to continue on from my last post and do general cleaning.

We have cleaned the keyboard, now we need to remove the dust from the rest of the system. To clean the screen, the best choice is a fabric sheet that has already been used. This will remove the static and the attendant dust. For truly dirty screens, WindexTM or the equivalent may be used prior to the fabric sheet.

Dust is the number one killer of computer systems. For those of us that have furkids the problem is compounded because fur gets on the fan as well and helps with the buildup of dust. Computer processors run very hot and when the fan cannot dissipate the heat, the chip or processor burns up.
To prevent early system damage, you need to actually go inside the computer housing.

1.Turn the computer off (and for safety, remove the power plug from the
back of the machine).

2. Use the compressed air can and thoroughly blow the dust from the motherboard (that’s the big thing with all the funny looking parts).

3. Locate the fan on top of the processor.

4. Use the compressed air to clean all the dust and dirt from this fan.

5. Locate the fan on the back of the machine.

6. Use the compressed air to clean the dust from this device.

Note: A vacuum hose may be substituted for the compressed air, but do so with caution.

7. Replace the cover.

8. Reinsert the power plug.

9. Turn system on.
Special instructions for XP

Users familiar with systems prior XP should be familiar with Scandisk. This option is not, however, available with Windows XP. To ensure a system that is free of errors, check disk should also be run. I recommend this once a month. The following instructions should be printed and left with your monthly logbook or whatever you use to maintain your records. After you have used it a few times, it will be second nature. But until then, unless you are familiar with DOS (Disk Operating system), it might be a good idea to have it right next to your computer.

To use it:

1. Click on Start
2. Scroll up to programs and over to Command Prompt (You may need to scroll up to accessories, then down to Command Prompt.)
3. Once the command prompt is open, type:
C:\ [enter] – this takes you back to the root directory.
4. Type: chkdsk c: /r [enter] – the /r is a switch that says to repair errors.

Note: If you have more than one hard drive, this step can be repeated after you’ve restarted windows but replace c: with the next letter used for hard drives (do not do this for cd or dvd units.)
5. When asked if you want to run this the next time the system restarts, press y.
6. Restart the system.
7. Once chkdsk is finished, and windows has started, proceed to run disk cleanup and disk defragmentation.


  1. Thanks, Ron. I’ve printed the instructions for further reference.

    Comment by Jean Henry Mead — December 15, 2008 @ 1:36 pm | Reply

  2. Ron, for those of us who are older than baby boomers and computer illiterates, this is wonderful. Now if you could just tell us how to back up everything everynight or get the elves to do it automatically. Oh yes, and how to get a PDF to Word program to work. How to get WordPerfect to not fight the rest of the stuff XP has on it, when a writer just wants to write a little “thing”…
    This should be more user friendly. You have made it more so.

    Comment by Betty Butler — December 15, 2008 @ 2:22 pm | Reply

  3. Good tutorial!

    Comment by Marvin D Wilson — December 15, 2008 @ 3:48 pm | Reply

  4. Well thank you very much for the tutorial. I’ve saved the link so I can print it from my mom’s (since my printer is on the fritz)

    Comment by Katrina Wampler — December 16, 2008 @ 12:11 pm | Reply

  5. Ron, this is like an early Christmas present. My computer’s running at a snail’s pace these days.

    Comment by jessi — December 16, 2008 @ 1:11 pm | Reply

  6. You’ve been awarded the Honest Scrap award. Please check out http;//joyceanthony.tripod.com/blog for details!

    Comment by Joyce A. Anthony — December 16, 2008 @ 7:21 pm | Reply

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