Computer Maintenance Tips

Heat Protection:
The greatest enemy to your computer is heat. It causes the internal components and chips to wear out. Heat also lowers the performance of your system.

The first thing to check is the ventilation around your system. Many of the standard computer desks force you to place your computer in an enclosed cabinet. If your system is in an enclosed space, cut a hole in the back of the cabinet behind your cooling fan. This will allow it to draw cool air into the system. Your system should have at least 4 inches of space to the rear with no clutter, loose paper, etc., to block the flow of air into the computer.

Using a Surge Protector:
Most people understand that they should use a surge protector to reduce the risk of their computer being damaged by power surges. However, the most prevalent source of computer hardware damage is NOT from the power outlet. The most prevalent source of damage is from the phone outlet. For a few dollars more, you can buy a surge protector that also has phone jacks to protect against surges through your phone line. Moreover, buy a surge protector that has an indicator light that shows that your surge protector is functioning properly. Once a surge protector is damaged, it provides no surge protection. Unless it has an indicator light, you wonít know whether or not it's working.

Disk Cleanup:
Deletes unnecessary files from your disk, including the contents of the Recycle Bin, the Temporary Internet Files folder, general temporary files made by programs, web pages which you specified as being available offline and downloaded program files from the Internet (all or some of these files can be deleted depending on which options you choose).† To run Disk Cleanup click Start, point to Programs, then to Accessories, System Tools, and finally click Disk Cleanup.

Correctly Uninstalling Software:
To remove a program from your computer open the Add/Remove Programs Properties dialog box by clicking Start, poining to Settings, clicking Control Panel, and then double-clicking Add/Remove Programs. Only programs that were designed for Windows can be removed by using the Add/Remove Programs Properties dialog box. Highlight the program that you wish to remove and click on the Add/Remove button. For all other programs, check that program documentation to determine which files should be removed.

Run ScanDisk about once per month to evaluate and, if necessary, repair your hard-drive. You can start ScanDisk by clicking Start, pointing to Programs, pointing to Accessories, pointing to System Tools, and then clicking ScanDisk. Make sure that the type of test is "Thorough" and the "Automatically Fix Errors" box is checked. ScanDisk is called Error Checking in Windows NT, 2000, and XP.† Error Checking can be run by double clicking My Computer, then right clicking the C: drive and choosing the tools tab.

Disk Defragmenter:
Run Disk Defragmenter every two weeks to optimize the speed with which your programs load and run. Disk Defragmenter rearranges files and unused space on your hard disk so that programs run faster. You can start Disk Defragmenter by clicking Start, pointing to Programs, pointing to Accessories, pointing to System Tools, and then clicking Disk Defragmenter.

Note: If your computer fails to completely run ScanDisk or Defrag, temporarily turn off your screen saver. If that doesn't work, reboot to Safe Mode and run the programs. To start Windows in safe mode, Click Start, and then click Shut down. Click Restart, click OK, and then press and hold the CTRL key until the Microsoft Windows 98 Startup Menu appears. For some machines, you can use F8 instead of CTRL to bring up the Microsoft Windows 98 Startup Menu. Enter the number for Safe mode, and then press ENTER. In safe mode, Windows uses default settings (VGA monitor, no network, Microsoft mouse driver, and the minimum device drivers required to start Windows). You will not have access to CD-ROM drives, printers, or other devices. More importantly, it does not automatically load many of the programs that interfere with ScanDisk and Disk Defragmenter.

Routinely Updating Anti-virus Signature Files:
New computer viruses are released everyday. To effectively combat new viruses, you must update your anti-virus signature files at least every two weeks. This can be done via the Internet. To do so, follow the instructions contained in your anti-viral program user's manual.

Maintenance Wizard:
In Windows 98, the Maintenance Wizard automates some of the maintenance tasks such as Disk Cleanup, Defrag and ScanDisk, and is available under the System Tools folder in the Start Menu.

Microsoft Windows Update:
Windows Update helps you keep your computer secure by providing the latest Critical Updates in the Product Updates Catalog. Consumers, IT Administrators, and Developers can find more information about security issues on the Microsoft Security Web Site.†† Begin by going to the website:

Or you may be able to click your Windows Start button and go to Windows Update (must already have Internet Connection established.)

What do I need to do?

Product Updates makes it easy to download updates and enhancements to the software on your computer

  1. First, browse the catalog.
  2. When you decide you want a certain component, click the box next to it. A check mark appears in the box. Before you choose to download a component, click the "Read this first" link for important information, including:
    • A more detailed description of the component
    • How to begin using the component
    • Instructions for uninstalling
    • Support policy
  3. If you decide you don't want a product you've already selected, just click the box again to remove the check mark.
  4. When you have selected all the components you want, click the Download button.
  5. A page appears. Make sure that all the components you want are in the list. To make a change, click the Back button.
  6. Click the Start Download button. All the components you selected will be downloaded, then installed. Some components may ask you for additional information during installation.

When you see the Installation Complete message, you're done! Some components may require you to shut down and restart your computer after installation of all components is complete.

Most components can be uninstalled right from Product Updates page. To uninstall:

  1. Go to the Product Updates page. When the dialog box appears, click Yes.
  2. When the Product Updates page appears, click the Show Installed Updates button at the top of the page.
  3. Click the Uninstall button to the right of the component you want to uninstall.

Updating device drivers

You can now download device drivers from the Product Updates catalog.

A device driver is a program that controls a piece of hardware (such as a printer, monitor, disk drive, or video card) that is attached to your computer. Many device drivers come installed with Windows, but in some cases (for example, when you buy a new piece of hardware) you may need a driver that was not available when you installed Windows. To keep up with the newest hardware, we are constantly adding new drivers to the Product Updates site.

Screen Resolution:
Screen Resolution is the amount of pixels wide by the amount of pixels high that are viewed on your monitor.† This affects the size of your icons and the amount of scrolling you may need to do when viewing documents or web pages.† Since most web sites are built with the default 800x600 resolution in mind, you would have to scroll horizontally to be able to see most of the content if you were set to view 640x480.

To change your resolution under Windows 95/98/NT/2000/Me:

  1. From the Start menu, select Settings, and then choose Control Panel. The Control Panel window will appear.
  2.  Open the Display icon. The Display Properties window will appear.
  3. Select the Settings tab
  4. Ensure the Desktop Area is set to 800 by 600 (or higher).  Note: If it is available press the Test button. If the screen appears blank, it will return to normal in 5 to 15 seconds. You will then need to contact your computer manufacturer or vendor for assistance in changing the screen resolution setting.
  5. Choose the OK button. Note: You may be prompted to reboot your computer. Choose OK button to restart.


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