Clean, speed up your computer
For external computer care, a drawer on my desk has a standard air box for blowing out the keyboard and an alcohol pad for cleaning the keyboard and mouse. And NEVER use Windex or alcohol on your monitor. You will apply the optical coating and you will regret it forever. Use only water and a soft towel. Taking care of the internal computer is a little more intensive and takes more time and knowledge.
1. Uninstall any third-party “toolbars” and “extensions” such as Yahoo and Google search bars. They maintain their own history on the Internet.
– Click Start> Control Panel> Add / Remove Programs
– Find the program and mark it (ie AOL Toolbar)
– Click ‘Change / Remove’ or ‘Remove’ (depending on which option is displayed)
2. Run the Disk Cleanup Utility to get rid of unnecessary files that are cluttering your hard disk. (I never deleted a file I really needed.)
– Click Start> All Programs> Accessories> System Tools> Disk Cleanup
– It will start a calculation and show you the results
– Click OK to let it delete the files.
3. Keep your My Documents file system managed just like (hopefully) your paper file system.
– Open My Computer
– Create files and name them by topic (Right-click> select “New Folder”)
– Click and drag the files to the new folders
– There are programs that offer “free file management”, but just getting organized is the best way.
4. Download and run a spyware removal program. My favorite is AdAware from LavaSoft. Be sure to find the free download.
5. Download and run a virus protection program. I use the free version of AVG. It does a great job and doesn’t weigh down my computer system, unlike Norton and McAfee.
6. Probably the most important tool for “deep cleaning” is Registry Cleaner. Registers are like great big libraries, and when books fall out of place, error messages flash on your screen. If you ever see an a.dll error, it is a registry error. The registry cleaners organize everything back in order. Finding free is difficult, but I found CCleaner. The free cleaner will never be as thorough as the one you bought. They usually cost about $ 30.
Here are some cleaners to buy that get good reviews:
UniBlue Registry Booster
7. There are also programs that will offer “free erasure of Internet history”, but why download another program to do something easy yourself? Due to the many browsers available, I will not list them all here, but some of the most used browsers are:
Firefox – The best way to keep your hard drive clean is to install Firefox and leave Internet Explorer behind.
1. Open the FireFox web browser.
2. From the main menu, select Tools> Options> Privacy
Click “Clear All”
Internet Explore will allow you to manually remove some of your browsing history information, but there will still be traces of your browsing history that professionals can quickly find.
1. Click Tools> Internet Options> General
2. Click ‘Delete Files,’ then ‘OK,’ Click ‘Delete Cookies,’ then ‘OK.’
Click ‘Clear History,’ then ‘Yes.’
The America Online browser is based on Microsoft Internet Explorer. In addition to the above information, here are specific steps to clear your AOL browsing history:
1. Click “settings” from the set of buttons at the top of the AOL window.
2. Click ‘Preferences.’
3. Click ‘Toolbar and Sounds.’
4. Click ‘clear history now.’
Other browsers offer similar features; study their menus carefully.
How to back up computer files
Your computer seems to be the most important tool until you lose your files and realize that the computer is just the box that contains the important things. You MUST back up your computer files regularly. And there are many methods to achieve this. I will list them here, you choose 1, 2 or more and then we will make it a priority to put your choice into action!
1a) Manually back up your files to an external USB flash drive. They are cheap, come with many concerts and the best of them is SanDisk, as it has a “built-in backup program” as a service for you.
In the NewEgg.com search box, type SanDisk USB Flash Drive. Find one with the approximate gigabytes you need and buy it.
1b) When you insert SanDisk into your computer, notice a program that will try to open called “CruzerSync”. Click on it, enter your username and password, and now choose which files you want to back up regularly.
2) Buy an external hard drive that usually comes with TONY spaces. (Also at NewEgg or a local store.) This is the method I use. I paid about $ 150 for it 3 years ago and it works like a charm. I plug it into my computer. The My Computer tab sees it, and I just click and drag My Documents, My Photos, My Music to an external hard drive. It’s quick, easy and simple. And I still have a lot of room to keep adding more files.
3) Buy an online data backup tool that will automatically securely back up your computer’s archives every day. They usually cost approximately $ 50 a year. You won’t even know that backup is happening, and you can tell if a file has been selected for backup by using a handy little check mark icon that appears next to the file name.
One of the most popular on the market is Carbonite and I highly recommend it if online secure data backup is your method of choice.
Windows System Restore, how to
Here’s a computer secret I use from time to time – but it’s a big one:
System Restore – The Best Thing Microsoft Has Done For Its Customers This will save you huge hours of heart pain by reconfiguring everything that has FREAK happened to your computer. I am a strong consumer; I know what I’m doing and I still have to restore the system every two months. Inexplicable things happen, here’s how to fix them:
Windows XP users:
1. Click Start
2. All programs
4. System tools
5. System recovery
6. Click Next
Windows users on Windows:
1. Just type “Recovery” in the search box on the Start menu and you’ll immediately see “System Restore” at the top of the Start menu
Bold dates are the most recent restore points that are set automatically each time you turn off. (Another good reason to turn off the system every night.)
1. Choose a date that is very close to when you found the problem.
2. Click Next
3. Read the screen, click Next, and trust it. Everything must be fine.
If the problem persists, select another date a little later. (You can go back two months, but I don’t recommend this. Make your way back with a bold date until the problem is fixed.) Warning: Sometimes restoring the system does not solve the problem. At this point, you will have to correct it through trial and error. Of all the times I’ve used it, it has worked 98% of the time.