View Full Version : Basic System Maintenance

11-08-2000, 02:46 PM
As a new PC user, not yet worthy of the title aspiring geek, I would like some information on how often I should defrag. my hard disk, clear temporary internet files, etc. - if at all.

Which system maintenance checks should I make on a regular basis?

I use my PC every day, but my use is largely confined to word-processing and surfing the net (approx. 1-2 hours per day).

I would be grateful for any advice on what necessary disk/operating system maintenance I should carry out.

Also, any guidance on how often to update Windows 98.

11-08-2000, 04:27 PM
As far as regular maintenance goes, running Scandisk and Disk Defragmenter (both in Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools) should keep your hard drive tidy and your files in good repair. How often? Depends a lot on how much installing of programs and/or deletion of files you do. Since you mostly do word processing and net surfing, it doesn't sound like you would need to run them more often than once a month, unless you notice the fragmentation percentage in disk defrag is consistently high. I do a good many installs/deletions on a regular basis, and even so the fragmentation is rarely above 2% when I run defrag and scandisk once a month.

I usually run the programs separately - scandisk first, then defrag. When you open defrag, there should be a button for choosing options, one of which is something like "check the drive for errors before defragging". Since I always run scandisk first, having defrag run it again is redundant, so I turn that option off. Seems to make defrag run a bit faster as well.

Another maintenance utility available from Microsoft which helps keep the registry cleaned up is Regclean (http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q147/7/69.asp). Info about the program, installation, issues, and the download are at the link.

How often to update Win98 is a matter of opinion. I've been running Win98 FE since it was released a couple of years ago, and have had absolutely no problems at all with it. <knocking wood http://www.PCGuide.com/ubb/wink.gif> Every couple of months I run the Windows Update when I'm online to see if any new service packs or fixes have been released, then I install any that apply to my version and language to keep my Win98 up-to-date. Sometimes these fixes/service packs are the only difference between the Win98 versions, so instead of buying the "upgraded" version when it's released, I basically download it free. (Note: This applies to Win98 FE,SE, and possibly ME, but NOT to Win2K, which is a completely different platform as I understand it.) Reading about the various versions has convinced me I have no need to upgrade until something I really need comes along that's only available in a "new" version - sort of like, if it ain't broke.... Win2K is supposedly more robust and stable than Win98, but since I've had no stability problems whatsoever with FE, I have no incentive to pay for something I don't need.

Hope you find something useful in the above ramble! http://www.PCGuide.com/ubb/smile.gif

11-08-2000, 06:29 PM
First Charlie we can always use new geeks. I differ a bit with Jerkymom (Kim), I defrag every Friday night whether I need to or not as the saying goes. The 2% figure she quotes is actually a fairly high degree of fragmentation. I won't bore you with a lot of tech stuff why.

Since you say you are a new PC user I'll assume you have a fairly new machine so when you open defrag do you see the select drive window with a box for "settings"? If so there is a check box for rearranging your programs and you should check that box. It moves all of the actual programs to the head of the class so to speak so that the drive doesn't have to search (work) so hard to locate things. The fisrt time you use this it will take longer to defrag than subsequent defrags but I find it to be useful if you have a large HD and a lot of programs. You can use that setting just once or all the time. Your choice.

If you don't see it you have an older version of (defrag.exe). You can get the newest version released with the WindowsME OS and replace your old version if you like. It is much faster.

Temporary internet files can be a waste of space if you have a smaller drive but if you have something in the neighborhood of 10GB and a ton of free space it's nothing. I do think though that never cleaning up that bunch of files will do 2 things, one help create fragmentation and 2 eventually slow your internet surfing speed. Others may disagree with that last statement.

In short a clean machine is a mean machine. Nope can't say that it's too corny. A clean machine works better. My advice is why wait till you have a fragmented drive do it on a schedule and you won't forget and you won't have slowdowns.

11-08-2000, 10:44 PM
Just to add to the earlier posts...the Microsoft version of Defrag usually underreports the actual fragmentation of your HD by as much as 10% so defragging on a more frequent schedule can only help (plus it won't take as long each time if done more frequently). I still recommend Norton Utilities Disk Doctor and WinDoctor are more efficient diagnostic utilities. The Norton Speed Disk is also a more efficient defrag utility. I agree with Griffin about clearing the temporary internet files often because while surfing your system will first check those files for the website before going to the net to find it thus causing a slowdown...how much of a slowdown depends upon how large the temp internet folder is. I advise my friends to choose a night to leave their computer on overnight (turning off the screensaver and monitor) to schedule these tasks to run throughout the night and with all that time you can schedule full virus scans as well, but the order of the tasks would be better (IMHO) to be: Scandisk, Defrag, Virus Scan). My two cents... http://www.PCGuide.com/ubb/smile.gif


Paleo Pete
11-08-2000, 11:16 PM
I run defrag once a week, sometimes more often. Usually it says 2%, but as stated above, that's possibly lower than the actual amount. Helps keep the thing running right though.

You can also open your Internet Options and set the size of the Temporary Internet Files, I bring mine down as small as possible, 5MB is the smallest I think, but you can highlight it and type in a number. I type in 1 and leave it at 1MB. I clear them at least twice a week, sometimes more.

Turn off your virus scanner and anything else running in the background when running defrag, anything that tries to access the hard drive while it's running will cause it to start over, and in many cases it will never finish. I quit setting it up as a regular scheduled task for that reason, since I had something causing it to start over continually, and it was causing problems, since it kept trying to run, but was in the background. Took me 3 days to finally figure it out, and then it was by chance. I opened task manager and there sat defrag saying in progress...

Read through the PC Guide's System Care Guide (http://www.pcguide.com/care/index.htm) for lots of good info on keeping your system in top condition.

If you had everything...Where would you put it?

Computer Information Links (http://www.geocities.com/paleopete/)

11-09-2000, 02:26 PM
Many thanks for all the advice - if only I could defrag. my brain once a month! http://www.PCGuide.com/ubb/smile.gif

11-09-2000, 06:38 PM
I set scandisk and defrag to scheduled task for 1 a week after i've gone to bed and I do it my self about once or twice a month just to see what it says