Working on a slow, disorganized computer can be frustrating and it happens to the best of us. This article will give you some easy-to-follow guidelines on how to keep your computer on the right track using tools in Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Microsoft Office 2010.

1. Organize your folders

We all know how easy it is to dump files into the wrong folder when we’re in a hurry. But one way to make sure you keep your files organized is to remove the clutter with a filing system that makes sense for the way you use your computer. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Start clean : Begin by deciding which files you no longer need on your hard disk drive. More »

By following a few simple guidelines, you can maintain your computer and keep it running smoothly. This article discusses how to use the tools available in Windows 7, Vista, and XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) to more efficiently maintain your computer and safeguard your privacy when you’re online.

1. Free up disk space

The Disk Cleanup tool helps you free up space on your hard disk to improve the performance of your computer. The tool identifies files that you can safely delete, and then enables you to choose whether you want to delete some or all of the identified files.

Use Disk Cleanup to:

* Remove temporary Internet files.
* Remove downloaded program files (such as Microsoft ActiveX controls and Java applets).
* Empty the Recycle Bin.
* Remove Windows temporary files such as error reports.
* Remove optional Windows components that you don’t use.
* Remove installed programs that you no longer use.
* Remove unused restore points and shadow copies from System Restore. More »

One way to speed up your computer is to increase your hard drive’s performance. If you’ve been using your computer for a while, you’ve probably noticed that your computer is getting slower. One reason for this is that your hard drive has gotten more fragmented over time.

This means that as you install and delete things from your hard drive, holes are being created and filled randomly with other files so, say, your video of Madonna might be broken up into thirty pieces all over your hard drive, slowing down its playback.

Well, Windows XP has a Disk Defragmenter that will solve all your woes. It takes the pieces of each file and puts them together again so they can be read in one clean pass.

Be sure to run this program at night since it takes several hours and make sure to close any open programs. Go to Start->All Programs->Accessories->System Tools->Disk Defragmentor to access it.

Click the Analyze button. It’ll tell you if you need to defragment your hard drive.

A lot of red is a bad sign. If it says “You should defragment this volume”, click the Defragment button. Come back in a few hours, and your hard drive should be purring.

The Windows Vista Disk Defragmenter has been improved over the Windows XP version, but you can’t see or use all the best features unless you run it from the command line. By default the defrag tool only defragments files smaller than 64 MB, because according to Microsoft’s benchmarks, fragments of this size, which already consist of at least 16000 contiguous clusters, have a negligible impact on performance. If you still want to defrag files larger than 64 MB too, you need to use the -w switch mentioned below to defragment files of all size.

Disk Defragmenter does not defragment files in the Recycle Bin, or files which are in use. Disk Defragmenter will not degragment Bootsect dos, Safeboot fs, Safeboot csv, Safeboot rsv, Hiberfil sys, Memory dmp, or the Windows page file. Using the -b parameter will optimize these boot files. More »

The following tips can help improve your computer’s performance. These examples use Microsoft Windows XP. Some of the screens may differ from version to version, but overall you’ll find these tips work for all versions of Windows, including Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Millennium Edition (Me), Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Vista.

By the way, in no way can you blow up your computer or files with any of these procedures. These tasks use utilities provided within the Windows operating systems to aid you in achieving the best system performance. This article does not address tinkering with the registry files. More »

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