It’s that time again. Rid yourself of all the old junk piling up on your hard drives and make sure your settings are where they belong.Follow these suggestions to keep the old trusty box in good shape and start the New Year off right.
1. Add remove programs: Unused programs waste resources and space, be sure to remove them using the Add/Remove Programs Utility. Start/Control Panel/Add Remove Programs/
2. Tray icons: Icons in the system tray signal programs that are open and running. Too many can slow your system to a crawl. Rt. Click, close, and remove from the msconfig. Start/run/type msconfig/enter//StartUp/ uncheck the unneeded programs/OK/reboot.
3. Junk mail: Use a spam filter to remove junk mail before it infects your system. Also remember to clear your deleted email items completely.
4. Remove video files: These are sometimes large files. How many times are you going to watch your neighbors new baby tumble to the floor. Remove these files when you’re finished.
5. Check running processes: Hold down Ctl+Alt+Delete and then click processes to see what’s running on your PC right now. Keeping your processes between 20 and 30 will assure that you’re not overloading your PC.
6. Back up my documents and email: Backing up your system doesn’t end with letters and pictures. Be sure to include copies of important emails and the documents folder.
7. Clean up your desktop: Stop wondering where everything went. Clean up old downloads and forgotten programs. Set up a file system and stick to it.
8. Clear your cookies: Nothing could be easier. In Internet Explorer open your browser and click Tools/Options/General/Delete Cookies/. It’s even easier in FireFox. You can set FireFox to delete your cookies each time you close your browser. Open Firefox and click Tools/Privacy/set to delete cookies each time you close FireFox.
9. Set browser security setting to default. It’s easy to forget that setting you changed last week. Periodically return your browsers security setting to defaults to ensure adequate protection.
10. Remove temporary files: An amazing amount of data and files can build up, taking space and slowing things down. Remove the junk with PC Pitstop Erase.
11. Empty recycle bin: Putting information is the recycle bin doe not remove it from your system. Take the trash out to keep things clean and tidy
12. Clear IE cache: Clearing your browser cookies insures that you are getting the latest information form the sites you visit. Use a program like PC Pitstop Erase to make it easy. You can also open you browser/select Tools/Options/General/and delete cookies, files, and clear your browsing history from there.
13. Optimize Internet connection: You pay for you bandwidth every month. Use Optimize 2.0 to automatically adjust your settings and increase your bandwidth in XP.
14. Use a registry cleaner: Clear the clutter from unseen areas. Use a Free registry cleaner like RegScrubXP, for safe and effective cleaning of broken and obsolete entries. PC Pitstop Optimize 2.0 does registry cleaning in addition to other tweaks. Try the Free Scan .
15. Make sure your drivers are up to date. Driver updates are extremely important to the smooth operation or your system. Use DriverAlert to get the latest driver updates.
16. Make sure your anti virus and anti spyware signatures are up to date. Signature files are the list of malware from which you are protected. Nothing can slow your computer like spyware. Outdated antivirus and spyware signatures are the same as no protection at all. Be sure you have the latest threats blocked and slated for discovery and removal. Update your Exterminate program now.
17. CPU benchmark: Many times your CPU will reset itself incorrectly. The PC Pitstop Full Test is an excellent way to insure your 2.4.Gig computer is set to give you 2.4Gig performance. http://www.pcpitstop.com/pcpitstop/default.asp
18. Disk benchmark: Your system is only as fast as it’s slowest part. Receive specific instructions on increasing your drive speed and note the remarkable difference “Raid” makes to drive performance. You can receive personal help raiding your drives in PC User to User Help section.
19. Graphics benchmark: After checking out your 2D performance with the video portion of our test, use a benchmark similar to the ones offered at FutureMark to see how your 3Dperformance rates
20. Make sure video acceleration is enabled. Today’s PCs offer even more control over your choices for a quality display or increased frame rates. Click your desktop/select settings/Advanced/Troubleshoot/. Full acceleration gives you the best performance while No acceleration gives you the best visual representation.
21. Set system restore for one month. All drives are not created equal. Adjust the space allotted to System Restore to 3%. This should allow for plenty of restore options.
22. Disable UAC in Vista: Safety is important but if you have work to do disable UAC. Go to Control Panel/Type your user account into the search box/Click the turn On/OFF UAC entry/Uncheck Use user Account Control/OK/.
23. Check Internet connection speed versus rated speed. Use our free test to compare what your ISP says you should receive against what you are really receiving.
24. Check Internet receive buffer: It’s your choice. You can use our Free test to check your receive buffer size and adjust it yourself, or you can use Optimize to make the adjustment for you. Vista users will not need to make this particular adjustment.
25. Check browser cache size: Use the Pitstop Full Test to check your browser cache size and show you how to change it. http://www.pcpitstop.com/
26. Check browser cache overflow: Keep you web pages displaying current content and loading fast. Use a setting between 10 and 100 megabytes to get the best of both worlds.
27. Get a free battery if your system is under battery recall: Go to your manufacture and check to see if your battery has been recalled because of fire danger. Chances are it has. Do it now!
28. Check your DirectX installation: This collection of Microsoft applications has a direct effect on how your games and video content is handled. To view your video content correctly be sure it is up to date.
29. Look in Device Manager for Disabled Devices: Did you find one? It could be no driver, or it could be a device that needs to be removed from your device manager. Reboot your system to be sure it’s not from software problems and run your Add/Remove Hardware Wizard. Start/Control Panel/Add Hardware Wizard.
30. Run a periodic Disk Check: For a quick check just go to Start/run/type chkdsk/OK. To check your hard drives and recover bad sectors go to Start/My Computer/Rt click the drive/select Properties/Tools/Check Now/You can now select Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors. A reboot is required.
31. Use a memory-checking tool: Nothing can create unusual behavior in your PC like a bad stick of memory. Running a memory check is a must. I like the free Memtest86+. It does require making a floppy or cd but if you’re having weird errors there is no better way to check.
32. Clear you fans of any debris: Most desktop models give access to front intake fans that should be cleaned regularly. Turn off your computer and take a look. Canned air is the easiest way to clear these areas of dust and debris. Do this near your cat. It will love it.
33. Check your systems temperatures: Heat is the enemy of all computers. If your system does not have an included Temp Utility be sure to check your systems website for what they suggest. I’ve always liked SpeedFan.
34. Set your Receive Buffer Size: Safety is great but safe and fast is better. If you are using XP or earlier, your system is not optimized for broadband Internet access. Run the Pitstop Full test to learn how to set your Receive Buffer Size.
35. Defragment your hard drive: It doesn’t take long to scatter files through out your drive. The more fragmentation you have, the longer it takes for your PC to find data. Get into the habit of defragging on a schedule. While there are some excellent free programs out there like DisKeeper Lite, none of them go as far as Disk MD. In addition to being an excellent program that offers complete defragmentation, Disk MD even defrags your Windows XP restore points and organizes your information so it is more easily accessed. It’s my favorite Pitstop program.
36. Dust off the monitor:It produces heat and needs to breathe like the rest of your computer.
37. Check your UPS:Route all your connections though it, including your Internet connection. Get rid of the rats nest behind your desk.
38.Wipe down your keyboard and Mouse: Remove any batteries or connections and give them a good once over. Be sure they are completely dry before reconnecting.
39. Check your power supply: Always one of the first components to fail, check that the fans are clear and free spinning.
40. Check your cables:Plastic gets brittle so replace your Internet cables regularly.
41. Clean your peripherals: Clean your printer heads, check ink cartridges, dust off your router, and get them ready for another round.
42. Get those Microsoft Updates: If you don’t have your PC set to automatically update, now is the time.
43. Get a Firewall: There’s more to protection than virus and spyware removal. Prevention is the best cure.
44. Remove unused Windows Programs: You can use Add/Remove Programs to remove unused “Windows” programs like Windows Messenger. They are on the left side of the Add/Remove menu.
45. Turn off old Guest Accounts: Start/ Control panel/ User accounts/ Guest.
46. Change your passwords: Get into the habit of changing your passwords often and do not store them on a sticky note by your pc.
47. Compact your old Outlook Express emails: This is more about privacy than space. Deleted messages are never gone. Compacting before deleting makes them harder for hackers to recover.
48. Turn off your PC: Stop the increasing threat of worms and hackers. They can’t break into a pc while it’s turned off. Leaving it on 24/7 only makes your utility company happy and sucks more dust into your pc.
49. Reduce resources wasted on visual fluff. Increase virtual memory and get a huge increase in performance. Right-click My Computer/Properties/Advanced/Settings/Adjust for best performance.
50. Try one new program: Firefox, Thunderbird, or OpenOffice.
Since it’s the holiday season be sure to give everyone a smile, well at least most people. Some people will be cutting you off in traffic and being total jerks. I’m not sure I’ll be able to smile at those people. Oh yeah, and shopping is really busy now so I’m sure all the clerks are going to be stressed and grumpy. I’m getting a little tired of that. I’m not smiling at someone whose grumpy to begin with. The least they could do is smile, right?
Merry Christmas Everyone!