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*Computer Cleanup on WinXP, WinVista & Win7

 
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*Computer Cleanup on WinXP, WinVista & Win7 - 6/3/2007 3:06:41 PM   
Brandy redux


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Joined: 2/7/2007
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Many WinXP, WinVista & Win7 problems can be corrected by performing a Computer Cleanup, as described below. And, since a Computer Cleanup can also prevent computer problems, it's always a good idea to perform a Computer Cleanup on a regular basis.

Just to be on the safe side, I ALWAYS perform Steps 1 thru 5 before I install software. I don't know if it is actually necessary to do so, but I can't remember the last time I experienced an installation failure.

Although it is also a good idea to regularly perform a Computer Cleanup on Win98/Me/2000, I am not sure of the correct steps for those Operating Systems. So, I won't be providing instructions for those Operating Systems here.

NOTE: Before doing ANY computer maintenance on WinXP or WinVista or Windows 7 (and, even on Win2000), it is EXTREMELY important to make sure you are logged onto the computer with a Computer Administrator account (and NOT with a Limited User Account).

If you don't know whether or not your normal account is an Administrator account, do this:

A. If you don't know your user name, click on 'Start'. Then, look for your user name at the top or bottom of the Start menu.

B. Go to 'Control Panel', then open 'User Accounts'.

C. When the 'User Accounts' window opens, look under your user name. If you DO NOT see the word 'Administrator' under your user name, you should either log onto the computer with a Computer Administrator account or find someone who can log onto your computer with an Administrator account and ask them for assistance.

1. Delete Prefetch Files:

Open Windows Explorer, then go to the C:\Windows\Prefetch folder. Delete all of the files in that folder.

One quick way to do this with Vista & Windows 7 would be to do this:

1. Click on 'Start'.

2. Type prefetch.

3. When the prefetch item appears in the search window, click on that item.

4. When the list of files appears, hold down the CTRL key while pressing the A key, then, hold down the CTRL key while pressing the D key.

5. If you receive an error message which says this:

"You don't currently have permission to access this folder,"

click on the 'Continue' button. If the list of files in the Prefetch folder is not displayed, it will be necessary for you to go to Control Panel | User Accounts to temporarily turn OFF User Account Control.

NOTE: It is extremely important to delete the Prefetch files after uninstalling software and while performing a computer cleanup - because the Prefetch files will often contain information about the program that was just uninstalled. And, the primary purpose of the computer cleanup is to remove all remaining remnants of the program that was just uninstalled. The only purpose of the Prefetch files is to speed up the boot process. And, the next time the computer is restarted, some (but not all) of the Prefetch files will be rebuilt. So, it is completely safe to delete the Prefetch files during any computer cleanup.

2. Delete Personal Temp files:

1. Click on 'Start', then click on 'Run'.

2. Type %temp% in the box, then click on OK.

3. When the list of temp files is displayed, hold down the CTRL key while pressing the A key (to select all Files), then, hold down the CTRL key while pressing the D key (to delete all selected Files). If a window pops up during the deletion process telling you that the process cannot be completed, click on the 'Skip' button to move on to the next file. DO NOT click on either the 'Try Again' button or the 'Cancel' button.

One quick way to do this with Vista & Windows 7 would be to do this:

1. Click on 'Start'.

2. Type %temp%

3. When the temp item appears in the search window, click on that item.

4. When the list of files appears, hold down the CTRL key while pressing the A key (to select all Files), then, hold down the CTRL key while pressing the D key (to delete all selected Files).

3. Disk Cleanup:

1. Go to 'My Computer' ('Computer' for Vista & Windows 7)

2. Right click on the C:\ drive, then select 'Properties' in the menu that drops down.

3. When the 'Properties' window opens, click on the 'Disk Cleanup' button, then follow through with the Disk Cleanup process.

NOTE: When the Disk Cleanup window opens (with the list of items to be deleted), make sure that there are checkmarks next to 'Temporary Internet Files', 'Recycle Bin' and 'Temporary Files' before you click on OK.

4. Run Registry Cleaner:

One very important point to keep in mind is that installing and uninstalling software can cause invalid registry entries to be placed in the registry. If the registry is not cleaned after installing and uninstalling software - and on a regular basis during normal software activities (which can also cause invalid registry entries to be placed in the registry) - invalid registry entries in the registry can cause any number of problems on the computer. So, it is extremely important to NOT skip this step.

Restart the computer. Then, run a registry cleaner (i.e. Norton WinDoctor, CCleaner, RegClean, Registry Fix, etc.) to clean out any invalid registry entries. If invalid registry entries are found, clean out those invalid registry entries, then restart the computer and run the registry cleaner again. Run the registry cleaner repeatedly (ALWAYS restart the computer before running the registry cleaner) until the registry cleaner indicates that there are no invalid registry entries (Running the registry cleaner repeatedly is VERY important because fixing one invalid registry entry can often cause other registry entries to become invalid).

NOTE: If you don't have a registry cleaner installed on your computer, you can download the free CCleaner from

http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download/standard

When you use Ccleaner, you must remember to click on the 'Registry' button on the left side of the window before you can click on the 'Scan for Issues' button at the bottom of the window. And, with CCleaner, running the registry cleaner repeatedly will sometimes cause the same invalid registry entries to be displayed over and over. If that happens more than twice, the only option is to allow those invalid registry entries to remain - because indications are that those invalid registry entries are not truly invalid at all.

If you would like to use CCleaner to remove unnecessary files from your hard drive, the first thing you will want to do is to click on the 'Options' button on the left side of the window, then set the desired options for Settings, Cookies, Include, Exclude and Advanced. Then click on the 'Cleaner' button on the left side of the window and the 'Analyze' button at the bottom of the window. When the analysis is complete, click on the 'Run Cleaner' button. It is also a good idea to run the Analyzer repeatedly until everything that should be cleaned has been found.

5. Scan for Malware:

Restart the computer. Then, do a full scan of all drives for viruses, worms, adware, spyware and other malware.


6. Run Check Disk:

1. Go to My Computer, right click on the C:\ drive, then select 'Properties' in the menu that drops down.

2. When the 'Properties' window opens, click on the 'Tools' tab.

3. On the 'Tools' tab, click on the 'Check Now' button.

4. When the 'Check' window opens, click in the boxes next to 'Automatically fix file system errors' and 'Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors' - to place check marks in those boxes.

5. Click on the 'Start' button.

6. At this point, you will receive a message asking you if you want to schedule the disk check to occur the next time you restart the computer. Click on 'Yes', then restart the computer to start the disk check.

7. Defragment all drives:

Although it is not necessary to include this step in every computer cleanup, it couldn't hurt to do it every month or so.

1. Go to My Computer, right click on the C:\ drive, then select 'Properties' in the menu that drops down.

2. When the 'Properties' window opens, click on the 'Tools' tab.

3. On the 'Tools' tab, click on 'Defragment Now'

4. When the 'Disk Defragmenter' window opens, select whatever options are provided with your Operating System for defragmenting all of the drives on your computer.

< Message edited by Brandy redux -- 5/28/2011 9:59:44 PM >


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