Running Clean Disk on your Hard Drive

Howdy one and all and a great big welcome back to another exciting edition of The Weekly Geek!

With a new computer comes excitement and performance both from the user and the machine itself. As the days turn to months and the months to years the performance of the machine slows and as a result the excitement of the user dwindles. To help keep your relationship with you computer as fresh as possible I am going to offer some basic steps to keep you computer as agile as possible. In this weeks tip we will clean up your hard drive through Windows automated commands.

Over time Windows creates temporary files for documents you create, Internet browsing pages and when you install a program “stuff” (a computer technical term for excess, unneeded files and programs) is left over. Microsoft created a way to conservatively clean up this mess and not damage existing programs or data. This week’s tip applies to Windows 98, ME, 2000 and both versions ox XP (sorry 95 and NT users Microsoft didn’t deem you worthy).

On the Desktop (which is the screen that come up when you first turn on your computer and it finishes booting) in the lower left hand corner is the Start button click one time on it with the left mouse button and choose Programs (All Programs in XP). Next you want to select Accessories and then select the System Tools. The final selection is Disk Cleanup. A new menu will appear that is a scanning of the primary hard drive which is usually referred to as the C drive. You may have to select the OK button to begin the scan. The first time you run this it may take several minutes. After Windows checks the selected drive a new screen will appear. Make sure the tab at the top is labeled Disk Cleanup. I recommend that you place a check mark in every box listed under Files to Delete. Depending on the version of Windows you have you will have anywhere from four to nine choices. After selecting all of the boxes choose OK at the bottom the menu, to begin. When the program is finished it will disappear and take you back to the desktop.

As a side note, Microsoft is very conservative in what it selects and does not remove anything less than a week old so you will want to run this program monthly.

In the weeks to come we will cover how to manually clean up what Microsoft missed and show the Windows 95 and NT users how to do the same so stayed tuned for next weeks exciting episode of The Weekly Geek.