Quick Tip:
Regular Disk Maintenance

Doing regular maintenance on your hard drive improves your computer’s performance. But do the suggested maintenance only if you understand the instructions provided. If in doubt, contact a local computer professional to do it for you.

Create More Disk Space (Do as needed)

  • Remove temporary Internet files
  • Remove downloaded program files (such as Microsoft ActiveX controls and Java applets).
  • Empty the Recycle Bin/Trash.
  • Remove temporary files.
  • Remove optional Windows or Mac components you don’t use.
  • Remove installed programs you no longer use.

There are a number of reliable free and for-pay programs for both Windows and Macs that simplify this task. Do an Internet search on your system – “Windows” or “Mac”– and the term “disk maintenance.” Choose a company with a name you recognize and respect.

Defragment Your Hard Drive (Windows: Do monthly)

When you delete files or uninstall programs, gaps are created on your hard drive. When you save files, they’re fractured and stored in non-sequential areas of the drive. This can cause the computer to take more time to find and reassemble files for use.

Use the Windows Disk Defragmenter to reorganize your hard drive to improve performance.

Repair Permissions (Mac OS X: Do monthly)

Open Disk Utility. Select your boot drive. On the bottom of the big window on the right, click “Repair Disk Permission.”

Mac OS X regularly does daily, weekly, and monthly file maintenance by running Unix cron scripts. (Don’t worry about what they are). If your computer is shut down when they’re scheduled, you might have missed some.

MainMenu from Santa Software (www.santasw.com) is a free utility that lets you run cron scripts, repair disk permissions, and do a lot more right from your menu bar.

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Published: May 17, 2007

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