Spring Cleaning: How to Streamline Computer Maintenance
You know you should digitally clean up your computer on a regular basis, but just like with your garage, you procrastinate. But the longer you wait, the slower your computer runs — boot-up time increases, programs take longer to launch and pages take longer to load.
If you're a Windows PC user, you can change your settings to allow Windows to perform maintenance on a prescribed schedule, including the removal of temporary files, defrag files stored on the hard drive and the inspection of your hard disk for errors.
You will set a maintenance schedule for three Windows tools: Disk Cleanup, Disk Defragmenter and Check Disk. Microsoft recommends a once-a-week maintenance schedule.
Open the Task Scheduler through the "Start" menu found by selecting the Windows button in the lower left-hand corner of your display.
Type "Task Scheduler" in the search box and select it when it appears in the result window.
Click on the "Action" menu at the top of the window and then select "Create Task…" Fill in the task name, which could be "Maintenance" and a brief description such as Disk Cleanup, Disk Defragmenter and Check Disk.
Click "Actions" tab and then "New" button. The action default is "Start a program,” which is the one you want. Click the "Browse" button and type cleanmgr.exe in the File name box, click "Open" and then "OK," which will take you back to the "Action" tab. Click "New" again and this time type "chkdsk.exe" to add Check Disk to the task list. Finally, repeat and type "dfrgui.exe" to access the Disk Defragmenter.
You should now have all three tasks listed in the Action window. Select the "Triggers" tab to select a weekly schedule and set the preferred time. Because Disk Cleanup will require your input, you will want to select a time when you are usually logged on to your computer. However, Windows will wait for you as long as you go to the "Settings" tab and check the box "Run task as soon as possible after a scheduled start is missed."
Disk Cleanup: Remove unneeded temporary files, which the hard disk collects while browsing the Internet and while using programs such as Microsoft Word. File: cleanmgr.exe
Disk Defragmenter: When Windows is unable to store whole files in one place on the hard drive, it breaks up the file and stores it in different, nonadjacent places on the hard drive. Defragmenting refers to the process of putting these pieces back together, which frees up contiguous space on your drive and speeds up performance. File: dfrgui.exe
Check Disk: Whenever a program crashes or you experience a power outage, your computer may create errors on the hard drive, which can slow performance. This tool will identify these types of errors and repair them. File: chkdsk.exe
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