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PC Maintenance Suggestions for Win XP Users
By Beth Lahickey
January 10, 2003

Start by removing unwanted files

1. Remove any unwanted shortcuts and files from your desk top and delete old email that you don't need.

2. Free up disk space on your hard drive by running Disk Cleanup:

All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup

3. Remove spyware from your system by running AdAware.

You can learn more about Ad-Aware and spyware and get a free download at

Organize your hard drive

Now that you computer is cleaned up and protected from the outside world, it's time to do a little housekeeping. By de-fragmenting your hard drive, you are removing fragmented files that use up your storage space. Think of de-fragmenting as putting everything back into its place. De-fragmenting can take a while.

Run Disk Defragmenter:
Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter

Note: You may need to disable your anti-virus software to get disk de-fragmenter to run.

Now that you have cleaned up your hard drive, scan it for viruses

You should always keep your anti-virus software up-to-date and you should schedule it to run on a regular basis.

You can download a free 15-day trail of Norton Anti-Virus 2003 at

Schedule maintenance tasks to run automatically:
All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Scheduled Tasks

Install a firewall

A firewall will protect your computer from outside intrusions. ZoneAlarm is a popular firewall and a free version is available to download at:

Create a restore point

Creating a restore point gives you a place to go back to if anything should go wrong. Think of using restore points like being able to travel back in time. Win XP will automatically create restore points, but you should always create one manually whenever you are making any changes to your system.

Create a Restore Point or to restore your computer to an earlier time:

Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Restore

Note: You can save storage space on your hard drive by removing all but the most recent restore point.

All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup > More Options

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