Whether you’re taking an on-line college course, telecommuting, or only using your computer to check your e-mail or download tunes, there are certain routine practices you should follow to keep your PC running smoothly. These practices range from keeping the files and folders on your hard-drive organized to upgrading your RAM. Let’s begin by taking a look at your PC’s hard-drive.
“My Computer” and “Windows Explorer”: It’s easy to scatter files across your hard-drive over time. But in terms of accessing those files when you need them, and for ease of backing-up your drive, it’s important to keep those files organized. The best 2 tools for keeping files and folders organized are the applications “Windows Explorer” and “My Computer” (recently renamed to simply “Computer”) that come installed on your PC. Start either of those applications on your PC to take a look at your hard-drive and the locations of your files and folders. For more information about using files and folders in either of those applications, click the Help button in either “Computer” or “Windows Explorer” and read through the topics or perform a search for specific topics.
Start by keeping all your data under the “Documents” folder (recently renamed from”My Documents”). Create separate folders under Documents as needed to hold specific files. Once you have the appropriate folders created and named, you can begin moving them from errant locations on your hard-drive into these folders. If you’ve never spent any time working with My Computer or Windows Explorer and if you feel as if you could use some assistance in that area, I found a nice little Windows Explorer Tutorial you should check out.
Routinely Delete Cookies and Temporary Internet Files: Think of all the webs you surf daily. Every time you visit a website, that site writes cookies and files to your hard-drive. These files consume space, can slow down your hard-drive, and are notorious for harboring viruses. Start your web browser (let’s say you’re using “Internet Explorer”), select “Tools” from the top menu bar, then select “Internet Options” from the drop-down menu. You can delete your cookies and temporary internet files through the internet options dialogue box.
Uninstall Software You Do Not Use: Not only do we download a lot of freebies from the www, but our computer comes with a variety of software pre-installed – software we may never need or use. These applications can take up a lot of space on our hard-drives and perhaps help slow down our PC. Uninstall any unwanted programs through your PC’s Control Panel. Go to Start, Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs (or Start, Control Panel, Programs and Features).
Empty Your Recycle Bin: We sometimes tend to forget about all the files, folders and shortcuts we delete which pile up in the Recycle Bin (which is accessible from your desktop). Until the Recycle Bin is emptied, those files will continue to consume space on our hard-drive. We also want that bin emptied prior to virus scanning and backing up our files. It’s a waste of time and space to scan them and / or back them up.