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Disk Cleanup, Scan Disk and Disk Defragmenter.

You may already know how to do this but just incase you don't I've included it. If you do this maintenance about every four to six weeks your computer should work efficiently. Close all programs. You should be offline before starting. If you are going to do all 3 steps below during the same session then do them in the order listed. Depending on your Windows operating system these instructions may vary a bit.

Important: You may find that your computer starts the Scan Disk and Disk Defrag over again while running them. If this happens then you should close all your applications EXCEPT Internet Explorer or Explorer. To do this;

If you are using Zone Alarm, right click the Zone Alarm icon on the bottom right of your screen, click Shutdown ZoneAlarm and proceed with the following.

Close all your programs or applications that you know are opened. Press the keys Control, Alt and Delete together. A Close Program dialogue box will open showing all your open programs or applications. Highlight each program by clicking on it and click End Task, EXCEPT Internet Explorer or Explorer. When you click End Task that program will be deleted from the list but another dialogue box may come up asking you to confirm that you want to close that application/program, so wait 10 seconds to see if the box comes up. If the box comes up click Yes or End Task. If the box doesn't come up you should be able to move your cursor over the icons on the bottom right of your computer and one icon should disappear. Do the same for all the programs EXCEPT Internet Explorer or Explorer. Once you have closed all the programs in the Close Programs dialogue box EXCEPT Internet Explorer or Explorer click Cancel to close the box. You will be able to run both Scan Disk and Disk Defrag without them trying to start over again now. After doing your computer maintenance you will have to restart or reboot your computer. All the necessary programs you closed will launch on reboot.

Step 1. Disk Cleanup (takes a couple minutes)
The path is Start - Programs - Accessories - System Tools - click Disk Cleanup. If the C drive is your main hard drive (usual) click OK. A Disk Cleanup For C window will open. Get familiar with this area so you know what you are deleting. Click OK at the bottom.

Step 2. Scan Disk (can take up to 3 to 4 hours)
The path is Start - Programs - Accessories - System Tools - click ScanDisk. The window that opens should have your C drive highlighted. Put a dot in Thorough and a check mark in Automatically Fix Errors. Click Options, put a dot in System and Data Areas and click OK. Click Advanced, put dots in Always, Replace Log, Delete and Free and put check marks in Invalid File Names and Check Host Drive First and click OK. Click Start to start Scan Disk. Close Scan Disk when it has finished.

Step 3. Disk Defragmenter (takes 30 minutes to an hour)
The path is Start - Programs - Accessories - System Tools - click Disk Defragmenter. Drive C Physical Drive should be selected. If C is your main drive (usual) then click OK. Defrag will start. If you want to see what's happening you can click Details. When Defrag has finish click Yes.

Clearing cookies, temps and temporary internet files.

You should follow the steps below to clear your computer of the added cookies, temps and temporary internet files. If you are low on hard drive space they may slow your computer down a bit. If you haven't done this before you may be surprised at the amount of cookies, temps and temporary internet files you have accumulated over time. These steps will only take a couple minutes once you've done it once or twice.

If you are using an Internet Explorer browser
Click Tools - Internet Options
Click Delete Cookies
Click Delete Files (might take a couple of seconds)
Click Clear History (might take a couple of seconds)
Click OK then close your IE browser

If you are using a Mozilla Firefox browser (recommended)
Click Tools - Options - Privacy tab
Under the Privacy tab click Settings (near the bottom)
From Settings you can choose to have everything that you select cleared automatically every time you close your Firefox browser.

If you are using a Netscape browser
Click Tools - Options - Privacy tab
Click Clear to the right of Cookies
At the top of the Privacy window you can also put a check mark in Clear My Tracks on Exit to have your Page History, Search History, Download Manager History, Cookies and Cache cleared when you close your Netscape browser.

(These following steps may or may not be needed if you are using Windows XP)
Right click on the Start button and click Explore
Scroll down and click on Temporary Internet Files in left column
If you don't see Temporary Internet Files click the + sign beside Windows
The files and some folders will show in the right column
Delete all the files in all the folders (click the + signs)
Don't delete any folder
(index.dat may be in one of the folders, you won't be able to delete it)
(Edit-Select will make this a shorter process)
Then go to the Temp folder and do the same
(if you use Zone Alarm there will be a zlt temp you cannot delete, that's ok)
Then scroll up to the Recent folder and do the same (Recent might be empty)
Check the History folder (it should just have a file called today)
Check Cookies folder (it should just have a file called index.dat)

Then close the Explorer window, clear your recycle bin & reboot. You may find your computer works better.

Note; some online games or other programs may use cookies or temporary internet files to keep track of the score between sessions. If you use online games you will eventually realize what the cookie or temporary internet file looks like for the game so you can avoid deleting it in the future.

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