1. Back up your PC.
It's essential to
perform regular backups of your PC, particularly if you'll be using
utilities and tools that make software changes. Unfortunately, Windows
XP Home Edition doesn't come with a backup utility. See Utilities To Back Up Your Data
for downloads that will do the job.
The built-in backup utility in Windows XP Pro is more robust than
earlier versions, but it won't back up to a CD-R. It does work with
CD-RWs, hard drives, and removable storage.
Log in to XP Pro with Administrator privileges, select Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Backup
. Step through the various dialog boxes and follow all directions. In the 'What to Back Up' dialog box, choose the All information on this computer
option if you haven't done a backup before. This will create a floppy
that you can use to boot your PC and to restore the backup after a
2. Check hard drives for errors.
It's wise to do a thorough check on the status of your hard drives occasionally. Go to Start, My Computer
, right-click the icon for your C: drive, and choose Properties
. Then choose the Tools
tab and click the Check Now
button. Repeat this step for your other hard drives.
and files must be closed in order for error checking to fix the
problems it finds, so XP will often report that the disk check will run
the next time you restart your system if you've checked 'Automatically
fix file system errors' on the next screen.
Note: Finding and recovering bad sectors can take hours if you have a large drive.
3. Defragment hard drives.
The more you use your PC, the more some files become broken into
disparate parts scattered around your hard drive. Defragmenting
rearranges each file's pieces into a single continuous block for faster
You'll need to be logged in as the Administrator to run XP's Disk Defragmenter. First select Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Disk Defragmenter
. Highlight the drive that you want to check, and press the Analyze
button. XP will tell you whether the drive needs to be defragmented. If XP does recommend defragging, click the Defragment
4. Sack any spyware.
A free program like Spybot Search & Destroy
can get rid of any freeloading spyware that makes its way onto your system.
5. Clean out unneeded files.
Go to Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Disk Cleanup
and select the drive you want to clean. XP will analyze your files and
show a list of which ones can be removed. Check the boxes next to the
categories you want to discard.
The More Options
tab offers you several more cleanup choices. The System Restore cleanup
option, in particular, can clear lots of disk space by erasing old
6. Back up again.
finished tweaking your system and you're sure that everything is running
well, it's a good idea to back up everything once again. That way,
you'll always have a clean, fully optimized starting point that you can
return to in case a disaster befalls your system.
Any doubts you can contact a technician through the website
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