Jump-Start Your Older Computer - Tips to Helping Aging PCs Run Faster Session 1: Has your computer slowed down dramatically over the past year or two? Don't assume you need a new computer. These sessions will help you squeeze more speed and horsepower from your aging computer. In Session 1 we'll cover: cleaning up garbage files to free up space, dealing with & protecting against power-sapping spyware, viruses, worms/ Trojans, recognizing urban legends & hoaxes, where to find & how to use FREE PC Diagnostic Resources/Tools/Utilities. 1. Delete garbage/ temporary files to free-up space Hard drives need at least 10-15% of your total hard drive space to run correctly; check your hard drive free space amount routinely (open My Computer, right-click C drive>Properties>General tab shows Used space and Free space). - use Disk Clean-up (Start>Programs>Accessories>System Tools>Disk Cleanup) for quick and easy clean-up - try Windows Washer (3rd party software) offers very thorough cleaning for privacy/ security issues as well. 2. Run Scan Disk & Disk Defragmenter monthly; all disks get fragmented over time and need to be defrag’d in order to keep running smoothly and efficiently. Heavily fragmented systems have frequent lock-ups, blue-screens, even random shutdowns. Should do step 1. above before this step each time (both utilities are under Start>Programs>Accessories>System Tools> in Windows 9X, ME). Note: in Windows XP, Scandisk is called Error Checking; open My Computer, then right-click the drive you want to check, then Properties>Tools>Error Checking, click the Check Now button. - Use Diskeeper for full-featured, higher-level defragging than the built-in Windows defrag utility. 3. Clean-up your computers’ system Registry After installing/ uninstalling lots of different programs over the years your system registry gets loaded down with lots of junk which can slow things down considerably. See the Resource Guide for an article by Microsoft on this topic and for some free registry cleaning tools. Note: The system registry is where very critical data is stored and if incorrectly modified can render your computer unbootable; always backup your registry before modifying it and be extremely careful as well. 4. Windows Start-up/ Shut-down problems? There’s a list of tweaks and utilities on this page that could help you speed up this process on an older, slower computer: http://www.winguides.com/registry/category.php/17/ - be sure and check the Startup folder in your Programs directory for unnecessary programs launching (or trying to launch) at startup (right-click Start>Open All Users>Programs>Startup; remove anything in this folder that is related to the problem program). 5. Dealing with & protecting against power-sapping spyware, viruses, worms/ Trojans In order to keep your older system running as fast as possible DON’T use “security suites” or bundled software for anti-virus/ anti-spyware/ firewall, etc. Install and keep up-to-date separate anti-virus software, anti-spyware, firewall software (see Resource Guide for recommended programs). 6. Recognizing urban legends & hoaxes Keep your inbox a little freer of clutter and do your research before passing along an urban legend or hoax or convincing email chain letter. See the Resource Guide for links to the better places to quickly determine the authenticity of anything you receive via email or the water cooler. Also, be sure and remind your friends to not ever send chain emails with your email address exposed (use BCC if you must with large groups of recipients to protect the privacy of your friends/ family, to keep your email short and to protect against spammer robots).