Computer Guy Home
Computer Terms
Win XP Tips
Windows Tips
Win 95/98 Tips
Misc Tips
Windows Update
Viruses
NOD 32 Anti-Virus
Spy Ware
Spy Sweeper
WINDOWS TIPS 2

REGULAR Win95/98/ME HOUSEKEEPING TASKS:

If your PC runs Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows ME it is recommended that you routinely undertake the Regular Housekeeping Tasks detailed here. Performing the following tasks on your PC once a month will go a long way towards maintaining the general good health of your PC. A summary of these regular housekeeping tasks follows :

  • Reboot your PC
  • Run a Standard ScanDisk each month and a Thorough ScanDisk every 3 months
  • Delete any .TMP, ~*.*, *.CHK, and MSCREATE.DIR files
  • Delete files in the C:\Windows\Temporary Internet Files folder via the Control Panel
  • If you use Netscape, clear Memory and Disk Caches in Netscape
  • Empty the Windows 95/98/ME Recycle Bin
  • If applicable, Empty the Deleted Items Folder in Microsoft Exchange/Outlook 97/2000
  • If applicable, compact the Message Database in Microsoft Exchange/Outlook 97/2000
  • If applicable, run the Inbox Repair Tool in Microsoft Exchange/Outlook 97/2000
  • Run a Defrag

NOTE

  • When you install certain pieces of software, or merely do some on-line shopping over the Internet (you don't even have to buy anything), some of them install third party software that sends information about your Internet behaviour (specifically what sites you visit), to specific marketing companies, without you even knowing.  Even if you uninstall the software, the spyware still remains on your PC, sending information out every time you connect to the Internet.  The spyware robs your computer of resources and if there are enough of them running slows your computer down significantly. There are several companies that offer software that detect spyware, and allow you to delete it from your PC. Some of these spyware removal tools are shareware and work very well. Here is a link to one of them:
  • http://www.safer-networking.org/index.php?page=home
  • Additionally, if you want a software tool that will remove the spyware as well as cleaning up your temporary internet files, cookies, history files and much more than take a look at Internet Cleanup by Ontrack. This product really works. We use it because it is less time consuming and very efficient.

REBOOT YOUR PC:

First things first, we need to restart the PC. The reason is simple: there is no better state in which to perform our Regular Housekeeping Tasks than a Clean State. Restarting the PC is the closest we can get to having a clean state of operation.

    1. Close any programs that are open.

    2. Click on Start Button\ Shut Down \ Restart the computer? \ Yes

    3. On restart, if any programs open automatically, close them

SCANDISK:

Running a ScanDisk is a vital housekeeping task as it detects and fixes errors in your PC's filing system, which, if left undetected for too long, could contribute to software installation problems, possible malfunctioning of your existing software, and eventually potential data corruption .

Additionally, when run in its thorough mode, a ScanDisk can alert you ahead of time of impending serious problems with your hard disk, the type of problems that could lead to total failure of the hard disk and, thus, complete loss of data.

    1. Click on Start Button \ Explorer or Start \ Programs \ Windows Explorer

    2. On the left hand side of the Windows Explorer screen, do a right-click on your C: Drive icon

    3. Select Properties from the shortcut menu that appears

    4. Position the cursor arrow on the Tools Tab of the Properties window that comes up

    5. Click on Check Now

    6. You will now be prompted with the ScanDisk dialog box. Make sure that:

      a. Standard option is bulleted.

      b. Automatically fix errors box is checked

    7. Click on the Advanced Button

    8. Set the ScanDisk Advanced Options dialog box as follows:

      a. Always under Display Summary is Selected

      b. Replace Log under Log file is Selected

      c. Make copies under Cross-linked files is Selected

      d. Free under Lost file fragments is Selected

      e. Invalid file names under Check files for is Checked

      f. Check host drive first is Checked

    9. Click the OK Button

    10. Start ScanDisk by clicking on the Start Button

    11. After 1 to 10 minutes, depending on the size of your Hard Disk Drive, and the number of files it holds, ScanDisk will stop and you will be shown a ScanDisk results window. The results window will either state that it found errors and fixed them all, or that it did not find any errors.

    12. When the ScanDisk results dialog box appears look for the figure against Bytes in Bad Sectors. If it shows anything other than 0 bytes, then you need to start thinking in terms of replacing your hard disk as that is as good a sign as you will get of an impending hard disk failure where you will lose all your programs and data

    13. Once you have read the ScanDisk results screen, click on Close Button

    14. Exit from the Properties dialog box by clicking on the OK Button

    15. Close Windows Explorer by clicking on the X in the top right-hand corner

    16. Run a ScanDisk on every Hard Disk Drive installed on your PC.

Delete All Unwanted Temporary Files

The following list will step you through deleting unwanted temporary files you have on your Hard Disk Drive(s). You should delete unwanted temporary files for one reason and one reason only, they take up unnecessary space. As their name indicates, these files are of a temporary nature, they get created by software programs while you are using them, and never get deleted after you have closed the program you were using. Additionally, they never get re-used either - all they do is take up valuable space on your hard disk. It is not uncommon for temporary files to take up to 300Mb-400Mb.

    1. Click on Start Button\ Find (or Search for Windows ME) \ For Files or Folders

    2. In the Named: box, type *.TMP, and make sure your C: Drive is selected in the Look In: box

    3. Click on the Find Now Button

    4. Once the search has finished, if you have any *.TMP files, you will see them appear in the results window. If that is the case, do a Ctrl+A (Select All) on your keyboard, and then press the Delete key

    5. When prompted to confirm the deletions, click on the Yes Button.

    6. Repeat  steps 1 thru 5 for ~*.*,  *.CHK, and  MSCREATE.DIR files

    7. Close the Find dialog box

    8. If you have a C:\TEMP folder, delete all the files in it

NOTE:

      Because of this housekeeping policy, as a general rule, never save any files in the C:\TEMP folder that you want to keep. Save them instead into a personal folder, i.e., C:\MARY, C:\MIKE etc., for instance.

  • 9. Delete all files in your C:\WINDOWS\TEMP folder, but do not delete any SUBDIRECTORIES. Again, as a general rule, never save any files in this folder.

NOTE:

      Clearing the C:\WINDOWS\TEMP folder is probably one of the most important housekeeping tasks you should undertake, particularly if you are on a network and receiving confidential e-mail attachments. In short, files in the C:\TEMP and specifically the C:\WINDOWS\TEMP folder can hold confidential data which you thought was held securely on your network. Why? Because a significant number of e-mail programs use the C:\WINDOWS\TEMP folder to unzip, unpack attachments before presenting them to you on the screen and then, crassly, never delete them from the hard disk after you have closed them. There is no excuse for this : Microsoft, Novell, and many others should have designed their software better, it is a massive security hole. Result : anyone browsing your C:\WINDOWS\TEMP folder would find in there copies of any attachment you viewed or printed directly from within an e-mail, hence the need to clear that folder as often as possible. For the same confidentiality reasons that apply to the C:\WINDOWS\TEMP folder, delete all files in the C:\WINDOWS\TEMP\GWPRINT , and the C:\WINDOWS\TEMP\GWVIEWER folder if it is present.

Clear the Temporary Internet Files Folder:

    1. Click on Start Button\ Settings \ Control Panel \ Internet Options

    2. Under the Temporary Internet Files heading, click on Delete Files

    3. Put a Check in the Delete all offline content box

    4. Click on the OK Button

    5. If you are prompted to confirm the deletion, click on the Yes Button.

    6. Close the Internet Properties dialog box by clicking on the OK Button

    7. Close the Control Panel by clicking on the X in the top right hand corner

Clear The History Folder:

    1. Click on Start Button\ Settings \ Control Panel \ Internet Options

    2. Under the History heading, click on Clear History

    3. Confirm the deletion by clicking on the Yes Button

    4. Close the Internet Properties dialog box by clicking on the OK Button

    5. Close the Control Panel by clicking on the X in the top right hand corner

Clear Netscape Caches: If you have Netscape 4.x installed

    1. Start Netscape

    2. Click on Edit \ Preferences to open the Preferences dialog box.

    3. Under the Advanced \ Cache option in the left pane, click on the Clear Memory Cache and the Clear Disk Cache Buttons

    4. Click the OK Button

    5. Close Netscape

Empty the Windows Recycle Bin:

    1. Position mouse cursor arrow on Desktop to the Recycle Bin Icon

    2. Do a right-click on the Recycle Bin Icon

    3. Select Empty Recycle Bin from the shortcut menu that appears

    4. When you are prompted to confirm the deletion, click on theYes Button

Empty Microsoft Exchange/Messaging :

    1. Empty the Deleted Items Folder

      a. Open Microsoft Exchange

      b. Click on the View menu, and if there is no tick against the Folders option, click on Folders

      c. Do a right click on the Deleted Items folder, and select Empty Folder

      d. When you are prompted to confirm the deletion, click on the Yes Button

    2. Compacting the Message Database

      a. Click on Tools \ Services

      b. Click on Personal Folders so that it appears highlighted, and click on the Properties button

    NOTE:

If you have renamed your Personal Folders and you are not

100% certain that you are highlighting the right service see step 3

      c. Click on Compact Now

      d. Once Microsoft Exchange has finished compacting the database, you will be back at the Personal Folders dialog box

      e. Click on the OK Button until your back at the main Microsoft Exchange window

      f. If you use more than one e-mail profile, repeat this process for every profile that is set up on this PC

  • 3. If you have renamed your Personal Folders and you are not 100% certain that you are highlighting the right service do the following:
    • a. Highlight what you think may be your Personal Folders

      b. Click on the Properties button

      c. You should now be prompted with the Personal Folders dialog box

      d. If you are not prompted with this dialog box, you have highlighted the wrong option

      e. Try again until are prompted with the Personal Folders dialog box

      f. Click on Compact Now

      g. Once Microsoft Exchange has finished compacting the database, you will be back at the Personal Folders dialog box

      h. Click on the OK Button until your back at the main Microsoft Exchange window

      i. If you use more than one e-mail profile, repeat this process for every profile that is set up on this PC

  • 4. Running the Inbox Repair Tool:
    • a. Click on Start Button\ Programs \ Accessories \ System Tools \ Inbox Repair Tool

      b. You will be prompted with the Inbox Repair Tool dialog box

      c. Click on Browse and position yourself in the folder that contains your .PST file(s). if you do not know which folder contains your .PST files, click on Tools \ Services \ Personal Folders \ Properties, and the location will appear in the Path field

      d. Click on the .PST file so that it appears highlighted, and then click on Open

      e. Now back at the Inbox Repair Tool dialog box, click on Start. Your .PST file will now be scanned for errors, and once the scan is finished, you will be prompted with a log file

      f. The log will either state that it found errors and fixed them, or that it did not find any errors

      g. Repeat this process for every .PST file you have on your PC

      h. When you have completed scanning all of your .PST files, click on the Close Button

Outlook 97/2000 Clean-Up

    1. Empty the Deleted Items Folder

      a. Open Outlook 97/2000

      b. If you cannot see the folder list on the left-hand side of the Outlook screen, i.e. Inbox, Outbox, Sent Items, Calendar etc., etc., click on View \ Folder List

      c. Do a right click on the Deleted Items folder, and select Empty Deleted Items Folder

      d. When you are prompted to confirm the deletion, click on the Yes Button

    2. Compacting the Message Database

      a. Click on Tools \ Services

      b. Click on Personal Folders so that it appears highlighted, and click on the Properties Button.

    NOTE:

If you have renamed your Personal Folders and you are not

100% certain that you are highlighting the right service see step 3

      a. Click on Compact Now

      b. Once Microsoft Exchange has finished compacting the database, you will be back at the Personal Folders dialog box

      c. Click on the OK Button until your back at the main Microsoft Outlook window

      d. If you use more than one e-mail profile, repeat this process for every profile that is set up on this PC

  • 5. If you have renamed your Personal Folders and you are not 100% certain that you are highlighting the right service do the following:
    • a. Highlight what you think may be your Personal Folders

      b. Click on the Properties button

      c. You should now be prompted with the Personal Folders dialog box

      d. If you are not prompted with this dialog box, you have highlighted the wrong option

      e. Try again until are prompted with the Personal Folders dialog box

      f. Click on Compact Now

      g. Once Microsoft Exchange has finished compacting the database, you will be back at the Personal Folders dialog box

      h. Click on the OK Button until your back at the main Microsoft Outlook window

      i. If you use more than one e-mail profile, repeat this process for every profile that is set up on this PC

  • 6. Running the Inbox Repair Tool:
    • a. Click on Start Button\ Programs \ Accessories \ System Tools \ Inbox Repair Tool

      b. You will be prompted with the Inbox Repair Tool dialog box

      c. Click on Browse and position yourself in the folder that contains your .PST file(s). if you do not know which folder contains your .PST files, click on Tools \ Services \ Personal Folders \ Properties, and the location will appear in the Path field

      d. Click on the .PST file so that it appears highlighted, and then click on Open

      e. Now back at the Inbox Repair Tool dialog box, click on Start. Your .PST file will now be scanned for errors, and once the scan is finished, you will be prompted with a log file

      f. The log will either state that it found errors and fixed them, or that it did not find any errors

      g. Repeat this process for every .PST file you have on your PC

      h. When you have completed scanning all of your .PST files, click on the Close Button

Defragmenting Hard Drive:

Defrag is the Windows hard disk drive defragmentation tool. Explained in layman terms, Defrag optimises the way in which files are stored on your hard disk and often results in some improvement in the speed of your PC when it accesses files on your hard disk drive. Another benefit of regularly defragmenting your hard disk drive(s) is that it can significantly extend its life. A hard disk drive with an optimised filing system requires fewer head movements to access files and as a result suffers less long term wear and tear.

Defragmentation of a hard disk can take anything from 10 minutes to 30 minutes in Windows 95 or Windows ME. However, in Windows 98, it can take anything from 40 minutes to 4 hours, so do not run it if you are in a hurry to use your PC. If, like us, you fail to comprehend how a supposedly superior operating system like Windows 98 can take so much longer than Windows 95 for the same thing, e-mail Microsoft! To be fair, at least they realized their mistake and corrected the problem in Windows Millennium Edition (Windows ME).

    1. Open Windows Explorer

    2. On the left-hand side of the Explorer screen, do a right click on the C: Drive icon, and select Properties from the shortcut menu that appears

    3. Position the mouse cursor arrow on the Tools Tab, and click on Defragment Now

    4. Click on Advanced Button and configure the Advanced Options dialog box as follows:

      a. Select Full defragmentation (both files and freespace) under Defragmentation method

      b. Place checkmark at Check drive for errors box

      c. Select Save these options and use them every time under When do you want to use these options?

    5. Click on the OK Button

    6. Click on Start \ Show Details and wait until the defrag finishes. As mentioned earlier the average completion time is 20 minutes for Windows 95/ME, and 90 minutes for Windows 98

    7. Once the defrag has finished, you will be asked if you wish to quit defrag. If you have only one hard disk drive, click on the Yes Button

    8. However, if you have more than one hard disk drive, click on the No Button, and run a defrag on every other hard disk drive installed on your PC