• Computer

    Optimized Hard Drive

    Partition your hard drive

    It’s perhaps one of the most useful tweaks you can to a hard drive but still most people are not doing it. Perhaps they just want the maintenance simplicity of having a single volume when they open the Windows Explorer.

    Dividing the hard drive into multiple partitions has quite a few benefits and one of the obvious is keeping the OS and application files separate from other data. This makes installs and uninstalls a lot safer and cleaner because it poses less risk to the stored data files. Partitioning also keeps your page file (also called a swap file) separate from the other files, increases the reliability by reducing the chance of file system corruption affecting other partitions, and allowing you to boot from multiple operating systems and versions.

    There are quite a few free and paid partitioning applications out there. Windows has its own built-in tools too.

    Regularly defragment

    A single file can have pieces of it scattered all over a hard drive’s physical surface. And when a lot of files are stored this way, excessive fragmentation can occur. This slows down access to the fragmented files as the hard disk head had to move to across different locations to access each of the file’s fragments.

    You can easily prevent file fragmentation by using a defragmenter tool. The purpose of the application is to put the pieces of the fragmented files by copying each part and moving them to a solid or contiguous block on the surface of the hard drive. This makes accessing the files faster and also more efficient.

    Windows has a default defragmenting tool that can be accessed by right clicking on the drive in Explorer, clicking the Properties, selecting the Tools tab, and clicking on the Defragment button. You can then choose a drive to analyze and defragment. You can also opt to have your hard drive defragment automatically on a preset time.

    Regularly empty the browser cache and Recycle Bin

    Deleted files are stored in the Recycle Bin, allowing Windows to recover accidentally deleted files. But it can get big after a while so it’s a good practice to regularly check and empty this folder in case you don’t really need the files anymore. This frees up disk space that you can use for other storage purposes. You can also press and hold the Shift key and press the Delete button to permanently delete files instead of storing them on the Recycle Bin.

    To free up even more disk space, you can also regularly empty the Temporary Internet Files and also other cache-type folders that applications (like browsers) use to store temporary browsing history and information. These cache files may speed up browsing but it can also fill up the hard drive if not emptied regularly. This can be done automatically through the browser settings.

    Leave some space for your Pagefile

    In Windows, the Pagefile or the swap file is a type of a virtual memory used to store data from an idle application so that more physical memory or RAM can be freed up for other important purposes. Although the size can be set manually, it is advised that this be left for the OS to decide. Putting the Pagefile in a different partition ensures that data and applications won’t have to compete for the space that the Pagefile needs to use.

    Move the Pagefile for better performance

    For even better performance, put the Pagefile on a partition on a separate physical drive than the boot drive. This makes access to the Pagefile.sys much faster. Doing this will require a little bit more work but the improved performance can be worth the effort. This procedure also requires administrator privileges on the computer.

  • Computer

    Fix Windows System Errors

    Cool Down Your Computer

    Your computer’s hard drive, as well as many of its other components, is sensitive to temperature. Extended periods of use or a faulty cooling fan can cause overheating, which will, in turn, wreak havoc on the circuits. Errors may be solved if you simply turn off your PC and let it rest for a while. Cleaning the cooling fan with light, pressurized air (never vacuum your PC’s internals) is also advisable so that dirt doesn’t build up and interfere with its operation.

    Clean Your Registry

    A damaged registry can cause fatal errors, as this is where a lot of system information and settings are stored. Cleaning your registry of unnecessary or corrupted data can thus fix problems, or even prevent them from happening if it is performed regularly. It is possible to repair and clean your registry using any of a number of cleaning programs that can be downloaded for free. The user interfaces of this type of software are usually friendly and unintimidating, so you should have no trouble putting them into operation.

    Be Aware of Your Programs

    It will help a lot if you make yourself aware of the programs that are running on your computer. These aren’t necessarily limited to the ones that you opened during a particular session: a lot of software, particularly freeware that you download from the Net, perform background operations that could be clogging up your computer’s RAM and causing performance issues. Be sure to remove programs that you no longer use, and properly shut down software once you’re finished with it.

    Check for Malware

    It is easy to point the finger at malware when something goes wrong with your PC, and, in a lot of cases, you wouldn’t be wrong to put the blame on a virus, Trojan, or spyware that somehow slipped past your defenses. When you see a system error, run a full virus scan with your anti-malware program to see if it can pick up anything. If you have neglected to install an antivirus, remedy the problem immediately: many of the most reliable brands offer trials or free versions of their programs that offer adequate protection.

    Defragment Your Hard Drive

    As your hard drive fills up, it will begin to have a little more difficulty finding space on which to store your programs and files. It often happens that the data for a certain file or software gets spread out over several different locations on the drive, and this can cause problems when you call that particular information up. If you are using versions of Windows earlier than Windows 7, you should perform defragmentation regularly to prevent this from happening. The option to defragment should present itself when you open “Properties” after right clicking on the drive in Windows Explorer.

    Restore Windows

    If all else fails, it may be time to restore or even reinstall your operating system. Restoration will take your system back to a point at which it was still functional, while reinstallation will give you a clean slate, so to speak. Both of these can be performed with your Windows Installation CD, though you should be warned that reinstallation is a lengthy and tedious process that will erase all your existing files and require you to reinstall all your other programs. Only do this if you are sure that you have no other option.