Friday, March 09, 2007

PC Troubleshooting Before You Need It!

Everyone knows the simple fact that it is not if your computer will fail, but when it will fail. It will creep up on you and before you know, all that information you worked so hard to create is gone. Following these rules might buy you some peace of mind (for awhile).

  • Rule 1 Always make a weekly backup or at least when you have added a large number of files to your system.
  • Rule 2 Empty the Trash/Recycle Bin -- It will free up some space on your hard drive. Note that deleting files actually does not remove them from your hard drive; it only removes location key to that file. If you have sensitive files, consider purchasing software such as "Sure Delete 'or 'Digital Shredder" that will remove the entire file.
  • Rule 3 Clean out your Internet cache -- Removing the files that are saved can speed up the reloading of future pages. Try to do it monthly or more if you are a heavy Internet searcher.
  • Rule 4 Clear your Web History -- Old information is stored here taking up room too! Your browser can be set to keep the history so many days and then it automatically deletes the oldest according to the rules you have chosen.
  • Rule 5 Make sure you have your AntiVirus program running -- also check to make sure it is uptodate either set it to automatically update or do it manually every week.
  • Rule 6 Defragging -- computers are kinda like people in that if a place where it is suppose to store something is all filled up and it can't fit the last piece in, it puts it in the first empty drawer it finds! You will know when your computer needs to be defragged. It takes forever to load a file. You have a handy tool in the "Accessories" group that will do the job for you.
  • Rule 7 System Updates -- make sure that you have your OS (operating system) set to receive automatic updates from your vendor (Apple, Microsoft, etc.)
  • Rule 8 Restart your computer occasionally if you leave it on all the time. It will clean out the old stuff stuck in memory.

Thanks to Jeffrey Branxburg for his article "Lean and Mean, Keeping your PC running smoothly with these tips" in "Teaching and Learning". You may catch the expanded version of this article at

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