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2 Minute Tutes - Maintenance

In 2 minutes, you should know:


Hard Drive

Why maintain your computer

Everyone knows that a car needs oil, water and other key components checked periodically or else it will lead to a major problem down the track.  Your computer also needs maintenance to keep it running at it's best & prevent major problems.

The single most important component of your computer would have to be the hard drive because this stores all your information.  The hard drive is a metal box (a bit smaller than a video tape) inside your computer that most people never see. 

Clean up your hard drive

Whenever you use your computer, temporary files are created.  They could be frequently used web pages to speed up their display or your document's auto-save feature protecting your work against power failure.  Ideally, these files should be removed when no longer needed, however in reality, they build up and should be 'cleaned up' periodically.

To do this, follow these steps: (Windows 98, 2000, Me & XP only)

  • Click Start, My Computer or Double-click My Computer
  • Right-click drive C, click Properties
  • Click Disk Cleanup...
  • Click OK
How to check your drive for errors

This procedure varies depending on your operating system.  For most versions of Windows:

  • From the Drive C Properties window (opened above), click Tools
  • Click Check Now
  • For Windows 95, 98 & Me, click Thorough (but do not select "Fix errors automatically" or you won't know when there are errors)
  • Click Start (this could take an hour or more)
  • If this procedure keeps restarting, try this


How to optimise (Defrag) your hard drive

You might think that your document is stored all together on your hard drive.  What actually happens is that as files are created & deleted, small unused areas are left behind.  When you save your document, if the next available area is not big enough, part of it is stored in a different location.  To read that file, the hard drive head must read from two different locations, taking twice as long.  The file is said to be fragmented.  In order to optimise your drive and restore file access to full speed, you need to defragment your hard drive periodically.

To do this:

  • From the Drive C Properties window (opened above), click Defragment Now

Note: Defragmenting your drive does not fix errors.  If you have a hard drive error when you defragment, you can lose access to many files.


It is important to keep an off-site copy of anything that you cannot afford to lose.  Click here for further details.


These days, your computer is under threat from many different sources, including viruses, hackers, spyware, program bugs & user error.  Click here for further details.