helpful

Helpful Tips for keeping your system running more efficiently and longer . . .





















This page is more or less devoted to the practical aspects of computing,
and is dedicated to those who have taken on the challenge of learning how to use their PCs,
not without some frustration, while their problem may be something as simple as disk errors.

Scandisk


One very often overlooked but critical step necessary for proper computer maintenance is regular use of the 'scandisk' utility. Many computer users have either never heard of it, or, at best, know very little of its use.

However, if scandisk is not performed on a regular basis (once a week for a regular scandisk, and about once a month for a thorough, it can very possibly ruin the hard drive after a while.

To run scandisk:
  1. Double click on the "My computer" icon on the desktop
  2. RIGHT click on the "C" drive icon (or whatever disk it is you want to run scandisk on)
  3. Move the cursor down to 'properties' in the drop down context menu and click on it.
  4. When the 'properties' dialogue box opens, click on the 'tools'tab.
  5. Under the 'error checking status' option, click on the 'check now' button.
  6. You will be offered a choice of 'regular' or 'thorough' mode of scandisk.
  7. Choose either the 'regular' or 'thorough' button, depending on which type of scandisk you want to perform.
  8. Click on "OKAY"
  9. When Windows is finished running scandisk, a "Scandisk Results" window will open, and you will want to note the number of bad sectors on the disk, if any.
  10. Click on 'close'
  11. Click on 'close'

As I stated, a regular scandisk should be performed about once a week, and a thorough scandisk about once a month. A thorough scandisk checks the disk surface area as well as files and so forth, and will find and mark any bad sectors on your disk.

Hit Any key to Continue

Defragment

As you use your computer, installing new programs, deleting files, or just accessing the internet, your files will become fragmented, which means that the read/write heads on your hard drive have to do a lot more 'running to and fro' on your hard drive to locate all the files your system needs to run a program or load a file. Defragmenting your hard drive places all parts of a file or program in one contiguous section, and eliminates excessive searching for those file 'fragments'.

To run the defragmentation utility, you follow the same steps as you do to run scandisk, but when you get to the "tools" dialogue box, instead of selecting the error checking status tool, you go to the bottom of the box and click on the 'defragment now' button under 'defragmentation status'. There will be a prompt telling the user just how long it has been since the last defrag.

ONE IMPORTANT NOTE!

When you run scandisk and defragmentation utilities, it is a very good idea to disable or close down any other programs that are running. This includes the screensaver. Failure to do so may result in the inability of the utilities to properly complete their job.



To disable the screensaver, just perform the following steps:

  1. RIGHT click on any open space on your desktop (make sure your cursor is not on or near an icon
  2. Move the cursor down to 'properties' in the drop down context menu and click on it.
  3. When the 'properties' dialogue box opens, click on the 'screensaver'tab.
  4. Under the monitor in the screensaver dialog box, is a window with the current screensaver listed. Click on the down arrow by the window, select 'none' at the top of the window.
  5. Click on the 'apply' button
  6. Click on "OKAY"

Failure to perform a regular defrag will simply slow down your system. Your hard drive(s) should be defragmented on a regular basic to ensure optimum efficiency and speed.

...In closing

Scandisk and Defrag are two very basic, but useful, tools that should be a regular part of normal maintenance for every computer user.



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kitts@barbsbitsnbytes.com