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  1. #1
    Roses's Avatar
    Roses is offline Member
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    Make That PC Like New

    Exclusive from: PCWORLD.com Thu Mar 9, 3:00 AM ET


    Laurianne McLaughlin

    Martha Stewart's spring cleaning probably involves homemade lemon-scented beeswax and complex polishing rituals. For me, it's time to open the windows, clear my desk, and get rid of the keyboard crunchies. You know what I'm talking about: the remains of every muffin, cookie, and Pop Tart you've eaten over your computer's keyboard.

    Yes, your average PC-beautification project typically involves system-optimization tasks--drive defragmentation, spyware sweeps, and the like. This story includes those, too. But let's face it: The outside of a computer can get as nasty as the inside.

    When the tax man cometh and leaves start to appear again on the trees outside, it's a good time to give your PC a thorough cleaning, inside and out. Perhaps you live somewhere that requires you to run the heat and keep the windows closed all winter, and now your home's dust quotient has hit its peak. Once summer hits, you're not going to want to park in front of the PC for an afternoon of cleanup chores. So, from dusty monitors to disorganized hard drives, it's time to get your PC in order--before the mess catches up with you.

    Bust the dust. PC cases can get truly dusty, which is a risk to the long-term well-being of your computer. First, make sure to turn off the PC before doing any cleaning tasks. Then look at the fan on the back of your system: If it's fuzzy, use a can of compressed air (sold at hardware stores for less than $10) to spray off the dust in a sideways direction. Dust other case surfaces with a disposable dusting cloth, like Swiffer-brand cloths. If there's other gunk on the case (maybe a late-night coffee stain) a slightly damp paper towel will do the trick. Note: While dust lurks inside, too, don't go there unless you're very familiar with the PC's internal organs.

    Detail your printer. To prevent printer jams and other foul-ups, give a small burst of compressed air to the printer mechanism that rolls in the paper. With an inkjet printer, make sure to print at least a page once a week in order to avoid cartridge clogs. To clean the outside of the printer case (usually unnecessary, unless the printer lives in a kitchen and has a close encounter with flying food), use a slightly damp cloth. Check out PCWorld.com for more printer-cleaning tips.

    Kill keyboard crud. More goodies may lurk in your keyboard than live under your couch. (Unless you're the parent of a small child--in that case, the keyboard is one of the only surfaces beneath which you'll never find Cheerios.) Unplug the keyboard, and then turn it upside down to shake out the cookie crumbs and edible artifacts. If you want to take the keyboard apart and do some surgical cleaning--say, between the keys--you can. But remember: You could buy a new, clean one for between $10 and $20.

    Improve your view. When was the last time you dusted your monitor? Unplug it and dust it with a disposable dusting cloth. If it's really dirty--say, with dirty fingerprints or a yogurt-covered handprint--unplug it and use a slightly damp cloth with water only. (Some monitor makers sell cleaning solutions, but you probably don't need one unless you have a fancy or expensive monitor.) Note: Do not use Windex-type glass cleaners or household detergents. And never spray water directly on the display.

    And Now, Your System's Innards...

    With the outside of your PC all clean and new, it's time to turn your attention to the insides, namely to the bits and bytes that can end up strewn everywhere after prolonged PC use. If it's springtime, and you haven't done any of these things, do them now. And try not to wait a whole year before taking some of these measures again.

    As always, before optimizing your PC, back up your important data.

    Update your Windows. If you have time for no other cleaning chores, make sure you keep your Windows operating system updated. Otherwise, invaders worse than bathroom mildew could take over your PC. In Windows XP's start menu, right-click on My Computer, then choose Properties, Automatic Updates, and choose a time for Windows to update itself daily.

    Check antivirus protection. Antivirus software does you no good unless you keep the definitions up to date. The software can't protect you if it doesn't know what's on the latest watch list. If you own Norton Anti-Virus, for example, you must pay yearly for access to updated definitions. Not sure if your definitions are up to date? Click on your antivirus software, and it will tell you if you need to renew, or the date on which you're going to need to renew (most programs will hound you for weeks leading up to the expiration date).

    Play "I spy." Spyware programs, those devious little applets that camp out in your PC after you open a malicious e-mail or visit a rogue Web page, can be tough to find. You're wise to check for them regularly. If your system's running slowly, your Web browser settings seem to change automatically, or you have strange icons in your system tray, it's definitely time to check for spyware. Try SpySweeper 4.5, $30 at webroot.com. Also check out Process Explorer, a free utility that will tell you if strange things are happening in the background.

    Defrag the hard drive. Your PC's hard drive needs help to stay in tip-top shape. If you regularly defragment your hard drive, your reward will be quick access to files and software programs. Windows XP will do the work for you: From the Start menu, go to Accessories, System Tools, Disk Defragmenter. Got an older version of Windows? Try this.

    Stop file mayhem. If you don't organize your PC files once in a while, your hard drive starts to resemble the junk drawer in your kitchen. First, clean out your temporary files: From My Computer, right click the C: drive, then select Properties and Disk Cleanup. Check Temp Files and Recycle Bin and click OK. Next, in order to get rid of duplicate files, try a free utility such as Duplicate File Finder.

    More Spring-Cleaning Tools

    You've done the bare minimum it takes to gear up your system for another 12 months of action (and remember, some of these maintenance chores shouldn't wait another 12 months). Now you're really in the spring-cleaning spirit, correct?

    Here are some handy utilities (most are free) to help you clean up even more messes lurking inside your PC. One can even help you recover from accidental deletions.

    RegSeeker: Warning: Messing with the Windows Registry is not for novices, or the faint of heart, and it can seriously impact your PC. However, if you're the tinkering type who wants to clean up the crud lying around in the Windows Registry, consider RegSeeker. It's free.

    IE Privacy Keeper: Keep your Web-browsing tracks clean with this free tool, which lets you schedule regular cookie, history, and cache cleanups.

    ScrubXP: Not only can Windows and your browser reveal plenty about you, so can your programs--they can give away things like what documents you've recently viewed. Scrub XP gets rid of temporary files, plus any auto-complete and document lists that may reside in your apps. The cost? Can you say "free"?

    Sandra 2005 Lite: This combination pack of testing and tune-up tools will help you diagnose and address issues affecting different parts of your computer, from hard drive to memory. This handy program will help you maximize performance and spot problems early. The trial period is free, but it costs $35 to keep.

    Restoration: In case you accidentally delete a file or two while you're doing all your spring cleaning, check out this free utility. It can find what you tossed.

    Laurianne McLaughlin is a freelance technology writer based near Boston.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ttpcworld/20...BhBHNlYwM5NjQ-

    Copyright © 2006 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.
    Last edited by Roses; 04-10-06 at 12:25 AM.
    http://img455.imageshack.us/img455/1369/rosekdrosetransp9fk2eb.gif

    A Smile

    A smile cost nothing, but gives so much.

    It enriches those who receive it,
    without making poorer those who give.
    It takes but a moment, but the memory
    of it sometimes lasts forever.

    None is so rich or mighty that he
    can get along without it,
    and none is so poor but that
    he can be made rich by it.

    A smile creates happiness in the home,
    fosters goodwill in business,
    and is the countersign of friendship.

    It brings rest to the weary,
    cheer to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad,
    and it is nature's best antidote for trouble.

    Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed,
    or stolen, for it is something that is of no
    value to anyone until it is given away.

    Some people are too tired to give you a smile.
    Give them one of yours, as none needs a smile
    so much as he who has no more to give.

    - author unknown

  2. #2
    jmur5074's Avatar
    jmur5074 is offline Moderator
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    I wanna be so bold as to say this deserves a sticky!
    No one has greater love than this, to lay down ones life for ones friends - John 15:13

    "The Wicked Flee When No Man Pursueth: But The Righteous Are Bold As A Lion".

    We lucky few, we band of brothers. For he who today sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~
    The opinions, beliefs, and ideas expressed in this post are mine, and mine alone. They are NOT the opinions, beliefs, ideas, or policies of my Agency, Police Chief, City Council, or any member of my department.

  3. #3
    lepdford's Avatar
    lepdford is offline K-9 Officer
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    Good Info!
    K-9 When the door pops...The bullshit stops!

    Go ahead run...I'll even give you a head start!

    When the public needs help, they call the Police.
    When the Police needs help, they call SWAT.
    When SWAT needs help, they call K-9!

    Duty not Reward

  4. #4
    Daynathepayna is offline bad to the bone
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmur5074
    I wanna be so bold as to say this deserves a sticky!
    I was thinkin' the same thing.

  5. #5
    chris2001's Avatar
    chris2001 is offline Captain
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    Done
    Being the best is not what always counts. What counts is always trying your best.

    Remember who you are, and where you came from. That way you never get a big head.


    May those that lost their lives in 9-11 RIP, for the things you did not many could do. You left so many behind so that you could save so few. For now we stand strong as one, and will not look back till the fight is done. (me)

    http://www.danasoft.com/sig/Nowwhat%...5Csuphomey.jpg

    The opinions given in my posts DO NOT reflect the opinions, views, policies, and/or procedures of my employing agency. They are MY PERSONAL OPINIONS only.

  6. #6
    TXCharlie's Avatar
    TXCharlie is offline Former & Future Reserve Officer
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    When my PC gets dirty I just put it in the closet and build another one

    (\__/)
    (='.'=) This is Bunny. Copy and paste Bunny into your
    (")_(") signature to help him gain world domination.

  7. #7
    Roses's Avatar
    Roses is offline Member
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    This article is from PCWORLD.com and just has some basic information. You might want to browse that site for further information.

    There are other spyware remover programs available and I'm not sure which is better. This article mentioned Spysweeper, which I have used during a free trial period. I thought it did a very good job and if your going to buy one I would recommend it but there are other programs that include several options. So as always do some research before you invest.

    You can also use free spyware remover programs for personal use such as Adaware, Spybot Search and Destroy, or Spyware Doctor. I found all three of these to be good. As the article said updating the definitions is your best defense.

    There are several anti-virus software that are available for a free trial period. Some include a firewall. Zone alarm has a free firewall for personal use. Again update the definitions to defend against new viruses.

    System Mechanic is another good program to clean up your hard drive but it is a bit pricey. They do have a free trial period that you can use to determine if it's worth it for you to invest in.

    This article is more geared towards Window's XP, if you have an older version of Windows you'll need to click on Tools, then Internet Options, and from there you can delete your cookies, files, and history. There are other areas on your computer that store temporary files. So depending on your personal knowledge you can clean those out or invest in one of the programs that will do it for you.
    Last edited by Roses; 04-10-06 at 12:34 AM.
    http://img455.imageshack.us/img455/1369/rosekdrosetransp9fk2eb.gif

    A Smile

    A smile cost nothing, but gives so much.

    It enriches those who receive it,
    without making poorer those who give.
    It takes but a moment, but the memory
    of it sometimes lasts forever.

    None is so rich or mighty that he
    can get along without it,
    and none is so poor but that
    he can be made rich by it.

    A smile creates happiness in the home,
    fosters goodwill in business,
    and is the countersign of friendship.

    It brings rest to the weary,
    cheer to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad,
    and it is nature's best antidote for trouble.

    Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed,
    or stolen, for it is something that is of no
    value to anyone until it is given away.

    Some people are too tired to give you a smile.
    Give them one of yours, as none needs a smile
    so much as he who has no more to give.

    - author unknown

 

 

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