Pete's PC and Web Tips
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  => Backing Up and Restore
  => PC Information, Device Manager, Drivers
  => Performance and Maintenance
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Computer Maintenance
Computer Maintenance
Basic information about your PC such as the Operating System, Service Pack number, Chip speed, amount of RAM, computer name, Workgroup name may be obtained by clicking Start, right click on My Computer and click on Properties. The various tabs like General and Computer Name give you this information. If you go to the Hardware tab and click on Device Manager this will list information about your hardware. Something to look for here are any yellow exclamation marks which will indicate a problem with that particular hardware and often indicates a missing or incorrect driver. While here we can look at another common problem people have which is difficult to trace unless one knows what to look for i.e. USB controllers switching themselves off. By default these are set to switch off after a while to save power on laptops.
·         Some of the most common problems which cause the slowing down of computers are files becoming fragmented and the free space filling up with lots of temporary files and other clutter. In the next bullet, item 4 we will deal with Defrag and Clean-up. Part of the Clean-up is the emptying of what is called the Recycle Bin which is the “storage place” used for all the files which get deleted. The “deleted” files are actually not physically removed from the computer. All that happens is that the space they are occupying becomes “available to be used memory” again and at some stage is overwritten by other files. The first letter of the file-name is overwritten with a tilde”~” character and the recycle bin keeps a note of that letter and where the memory is and basically keeps this space reserved until either a clear recycle bin command or a recover file command in which case the file can be recovered.
·         Most of your maintenance can be carried out from within your Control Panel. To access, click Start, Control Panel and if this is in the classic view, click on “Switch to Category View”. The various options given are:
1.       Appearance and themes – also get by right clicking on an empty part of your desktop. Screensavers, desktop etc options here.
2.       Network and Internet connections. Also get by right-clicking network icon next to clock. Set IP addresses, ICS etc here.
3.       Add/Remove programs – includes Windows elements.
4.       Performance and Maintenance – this is the main one we are interested in for now. Some of the most common problems which cause the slowing down of computers are files becoming fragmented and the free space filling up with lots of temporary files and other clutter. Here I will show you how to Defrag + Clean-up + Empty Recycle Bin Of the various options we will choose 2 for now. The first, “->Free up space on your hard disk” – click this and wait some time for a report. Make your choices what you want done and then click OK to delete the various unwanted temp files etc which the pc found.                 The second, “->Rearrange items on your hard disk to make programs run faster” – click on this to open the disk defragmenter and select which disk to work with and then click on “Analyze” to see how bad your disk is fragmented. The pc will suggest to you whether to run the defragmenter or not.
5.       Printers and other hardware.
6.       User accounts.
7.       Date, Time, Language and Regional Settings. This is often why the clock time at the right bottom of the screen is wrong i.e. an incorrect time-zone is given as the computer tends to get the correct time from various servers on the internet. Another problem that often arises is that certain keys on the keyboard provide the wrong character on screen such as @ instead of “. This is usually caused by the incorrect Language being selected and is usually solved by selecting American English instead of English English or vice-versa.
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