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 »
If you do not already know it, backups are the most important steps you must take to ensure that your data will not be lost. Despite all the trouble you go through to make sure that your computer is always clean and running at its peak performance, there comes a time when even the best storage solution fails.
What will you do now? There is nothing you can do about it but try to save as much as you can using data recovery tools that, at best, will manage to recover only a fraction of what you had on your hard drive.
The conclusion is that you should perform backups of your system on a regular basis and make sure you keep multiple backups of irreplaceable and important files. If you are as paranoid as me, you should also keep at least one backup copy of all your important files in a different physical location (an “offsite” location as experts call it).
There are many ways you can back up your data but the most popular ones are using the integrated Time Machine and Disk Utility tools. More »
Sometimes, problems can occur after the installation of a new program or device. You can use System Protection to restore your computer to a previous point in time when such problems do occur.
System Protection is enabled by default in Windows. Although not recommended, you can disable System Protection. Given that the restore points used to return your computer to a previous state consume disk space, some people may choose to turn the feature off.
If you decide to disable System Restore, you can do so using these steps:
1. Right click My Computer and click Properties.
2. From the System Properties window, click the System Protection tab.
3. Select the drive for which you want to disable System Protection and click Configure.
4. Click Turn off system protection.
5. Click OK.
To add Windows 7 to a system alongside an existing version of Window, you first need to make sure that you have an available partition (or unformatted disk space) separate from the partition that contains the system files for your current Windows installation.
The target partition can be a separate partition on the same physical disk, or it can be on a different hard disk. If your system contains a single disk with a single partition used as drive C, you cannot create a multiboot system unless you add a new disk or use software tools to shrink the existing partition and create a new partition from the free space. (The Windows 7 Disk Management console, Diskmgmt.msc, includes this capability; to shrink partitions on a system running an older Windows version, you’ll need third-party software.) The new partition does not need to be empty; however, it should not contain system files for another Windows installation. Run the setup program, choose the Custom (Advanced) option, and select the disk and partition you want to use for the new installation.
The setup program automatically handles details of adding the newly installed operating system to the Boot Configuration Data (BCD) store.
And how do you edit and configure the Boot Configuration Data store? Surprisingly, the only official tool is a command-line utility called Bcdedit. Bcdedit isn’t an interactive program; instead, you perform tasks by appending switches and parameters to the Bcdedit command line. More »