Optimizing Your Computer’s Performance

Optimizing Your Computer’s Performance

By the End of This Tutorial, You’ll Be Able To:

Ø Remove programs from your hard drive

Ø Remove Windows features that you don’t use

Ø Double your hard disk storage for free

Ø Give your programs more memory without installing more RAM

Ø Make your CD-ROM drive run faster in Windows 95

Your computer is like a car. You might be able to use it without ever tuning it up or changing the oil, but it probably won’t last as long or run as well. In this tutorial, you will learn some basic computer maintenance that will help keep your computer running trouble-free and at peak performance.To place an order for the Complete Project Material, pay N5,000 to
GTBank (Guaranty Trust Bank)
Account Name – Chudi-Oji Chukwuka
Account No – 0044157183
Then text the name of the Project topic, email address and your names to 08060565721.  

If you don’t feel comfortable with some of the performance-boosting tips covered in this tutorial, just skip them. The tips aren’t mandatory, but they will help you squeeze the maximum performance out of your PC.

Uninstalling Programs That You Don’t Use

When you buy a new computer, it seems as though it has an endless supply of hard disk space. A 540 megabyte hard drive seems big until you install a few programs that take up 80 megabytes each. It’s easy to stick programs on your hard drive. You install the program, use it for a few months, lose interest, and find a new program to install. Pretty soon, your disk is full.

It’s tempting to just delete the folder that contains the program’s files. That gets rid of the program, right? Well, not entirely, especially if the program you’re trying to get rid of is a Windows program. When you install a Windows program, it commonly installs files not only to the program’s folder, but also to WINDOWS, WINDOWS SYSTEM, and other folders, remove it entirely. The following sections explain how to uninstall a program to

Removing DOS Programs

dos programs are easy to remove. Simply delete the program’s directory and all the files in it. You can do this in File Manager, Windows Explorer, or with the DELETE command at the DOS prompt. See “Mak­ing and Deleting Directories (or Folders),” for details.

Remove Windows 95 Programs

When you install a program that’s designed to work under Windows 95, it typically adds its name to a list of programs you can remove (however, not all Windows 95 programs dothis). If you have a Windows 95 program that is on the list of programs you can uninstall or if you’re not sure, take the following steps:

1.        Click the Start button.

2.        Rest the mouse pointer on Settings and then click Control Panel. The Control Panel window appears.

3.        Double-click the Add/Remove Programs icon. The Add/Remove Programs Properties dialog box appears.

4.        Click the Install/Uninstall tab, if it is not already selected. At the bottom of the screen is a list of programs you can have Windows uninstall.

5.        Click the name of the program you want to remove.

6.        Click the Remove button. A series of dialog boxes will lead you through the uninstall process, asking for your confirmation.

7.        Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process.

Uninstall a Program Using Its Setup Utility

If you don’t have Windows 95, or if the name of the program you want to install doesn’t appear in the list of programs you can remove, you may be able to use the program’s own setup utility to remove the program. Take one of the following steps:

Ø In Windows 95, use My Computer or Windows Explorer to display the contents of the folder for the program you want to remove. If you see a Setup or Install icon, double-click it, and follow the on-screen instructions to remove the program.

Ø In Windows 3.1, open the program’s program-group window. If you see a Setup or Install icon, double-click it, and follow the instructions to remove the program.

If you don’t see a Setup or Install button, the best thing to do is to obtain a program that’s designed especially to help you remove other programs from your hard drive. Uninstaller and Clean Sweep are two of the more popular programs. The other option is to remove the program manually, as explained in the following section.

Remove Programs Manually (Only If You Must)

If you have a Windows program that can’t uninstall itself, you can remove it by deleting its directory (or folder). However, deleting the program’s files leaves a lot of other garbage that you have to clean up. After deleting the program’s directory or folder, take the following steps to remove anything the program left behind:

Ø In Windows 95, the program’s name will still appear on the Start, Program menu. To remove the program, right-click on a blank area of the taskbar, and click Proper­ties. Click the Start Menu Programs tab, click the Remove button, and use the dialog box that appears to remove the program from the Start menu.

Ø In Windows 3.1, go to the Program Manager, and reduce the program’s group window to an icon. Press the Delete key, and then click Yes to confirm the deletion

When you install a program, the installation utility usually edits the Windows startup files (WIN.INI and SYSTEM.INI) for you, adding commands to help the program runefficiently. You should delete any command lines that refer to the program or itsdirectory. Take the following steps:

1.     Copy WIN.INI and SYSTEM.INI from the WINDOWS directory (or folder) to another directory on your hard disk. (If you run into problems after editing the files, you can copy the originals back to the WINDOWS directory.)

2.     Take one of the following steps to run System Editor:

In Windows 95, open the Start menu, click Run, type sysedit, and click


In Windows 3.1, open Program Manager’s File menu, click Run, type sysedit, and click OK.

3.     Change to the SYSTEM.INI window, and delete any text lines that refer to the program or its directory. (You can use the Search/Find option to help you find specific text.)

Caution: Delete only those lines that refer specifically to the program you removed. If you delete lines that other programs use, you may not be able to run those programs.

4.     When you are done editing SYSTEM.INI, open the File menu and select Saveto save your changes.

5.     Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the WIN.INI file.

6.     Open the File menu, and select Exit.

7.     Exit Windows and restart it.

Remove Windows Features You Don’t Use

When you (or the manufacturer) installed Windows, you probably chose to do a complete installation. This installs all the fonts, accessories, and games that come withWindows. However, if you’re strapped for disk space, you might want to consider remov­ing the parts of Windows you don’t use.

In Windows, 95, you can easily remove Windows components. Double-click My Com­puter, double-click the Control Panel icon, double-click the Add/Remove Programs icon, and click the Windows Setup tab. A list of all the components that make up Windows appears. To remove a component entirely, click its check box to remove the check mark. To remove only some parts of a component, double-click the component’s name. This displays a list of items that make up the component; click a check box to add or remove a check mark. When you’re done, click OK and follow the on-screen instructions.

Windows 3.1 also allows you to remove some of its components. Open the Main group window, and double-click the Windows Setup icon. Open the Options menu, and click on Add/Remove Windows Components. A dialog box appears, showing the names of the components that make up Windows. To remove an entire component, click its check box to remove the X. To remove parts of a component, click the Files button next to it, and use the dialog box that appears to deselect files you want to remove. When you’re done, click OK and follow the on-screen instructions.

Remove Useless Files from Your Hard Disk

Your hard disk probably contains temporary and backup files that your programs create without telling you. These files can quickly clutter your hard disk drive, taking room that you need for new programs or new data files you create. The following sections explain how to quickly find and remove these files in Windows 3.1 and Windows 95.

Deleting Backup Files

When you save a file you created, most programs create a backup file that contains the previous version of the file. If you mess up a file, you can open the backup file instead. Before deleting backup files, make sure that you don’t want the previous versions of your files.

Deleting Temporary and Backup Files in Windows 95

To find temporary files in Windows 95, open the Start menu, point to Find, and click Files or Folders. In the Named text box, type *.tmp, and then click the Find Now button. Wait until Windows is done finding all the temporary (.TMP) files. Open the Edit menu, and click Select All. Press the Delete key, answer a few confirmation messages, and the files are gone. (Remember to empty the Recycle Bin to permanently remove the files.)

Repeat the same steps to find and delete backup files. However, instead of typing *.tmp in the Named text box, type *.bak.Most programs give their backup files the extension *.BAK.

Delete Temporary and Backup Files in Windows 3.1

In Windows 3.1, use File Manager to locate temporary files. Open File Manager’s File menu, and click Search. In the Search For text box, type *.tmp.In the Start From text box, type c:. Make sure Search All Subdirectories is selected. Click OK. When Windows is done searching, it displays a window showing the names of all the files it found. Open the File menu, and click Select Files. In the dialog box that appears, click the Select button and then click Close. This selects all the temporary files. Now, open the File menu, select Delete, and respond to the confirmation warnings.

Repeat the steps to find and delete backup files. However, instead of typing *.tmp in the Search For text box, type *.bak.

Speeding Up Your Hard Drive

Whenever you delete a file from your hard disk, you leave a space where another file can be stored. When you save a file, your computer stores as much of the file as possible in that empty space, and the rest of the file in other empty spaces. The file is then said to be fragmented, because its parts are stored in different locations on the disk.

File fragmentation is a natural process that occurs as you delete files, install programs, and create new files. However, when a large percentage (ten percent or more) of your files becomes fragmented, your hard drive has to work harder to read all the file parts scattered around the disk. It’s also more likely that the file will be lost or damaged.

Caution   If you have Windows 95, never use the DOS Defragmenter program. It can’t handle the long file names that Windows 95 allows for. It might also destroy some of your files. Use only the Disk Defragmenter that comes with Windows 95.

Every month or so, you should run a defragmentation program to determine the frag­mentation percent and to defragment your files, if necessary. The following sections explain how to run Disk Defragmenter (in Windows 95), and Defragmenter (which comes with DOS version 6.0 and later).

Defragmenting files in Windows 95

Windows 95’s Disk Defragmenter performs a complete defragmentation operation. That is, Defragmenter shuffles the file pieces around to place each file’s parts in one place, and then moves all the files to one section of the disk, so any files you save in the future will not be fragmented. To defragment your files in this way, take the following steps:

1.        Click the Start button to open the Start menu.

2.        Move the mouse pointer over Programs, and then over Accessories.

3.        Move the mouse pointer over System Tools, and then click Disk Defragmenter. A dialog box appears, asking which disk drive you want to defragment.

4.        Open the Which drive do you want to defragment?drop-down list, and click the desired drive. You can defragment all your disks by clicking All Hard Drives. (There’s no need to defragment floppy disks.)

5.        Click OK. Another dialog box appears, indicating the percent of file fragmentation on the disk, and telling you whether or not you need to defragment the disk.

6.        Click the Start button. Defragmenter starts to defragment the files on the disk.

7.        Wait until the defragmentation is complete. It’s best to leave your computer alone during the process; don’t run any programs or play any computer games.

You may have noticed that the dialog box that appears after you select the drive you want to defragment has an Advanced button. You can click this button to specify how you want Defragmenter to proceed:

Ø Full defragmentation is the default setting. With this option on, Defrag­menter defragments existing files and consolidates free space to prevent future fragmentation.

Ø Defragment files only places all the pieces of each file together but leaves the files scattered over the disk. Because the disk’s free space is also scattered around the disk, this option promotes future fragmentation.

Ø Consolidate free space only does not defragment the files. It does consolidate the free space, so to reduce further file fragmentation.

Ø Check drive for errors tells Defragmenter to check the drive for any lost or missing file pieces or directories before continuing. If Defragmenter finds a problem on a disk, it will prompt you to run ScanDisk to correct the problem before proceeding. (See “Fixing Common Disk Problems with ScanDisk,” later in this Tutorial.)

Defragmenting Without Windows 95

If you don’t have Windows 95, use the DOS Defragmenter. If you’re using Windows 3.1, exit Windows before running Defragmenter. Windows might interfere with Defragmenter. Then, take the following steps to defragment your hard disk:

1.      At the DOS prompt, type defrag and press Enter. Defragmenter starts and displays a dialog box, asking you to select a drive.

2.      Click the letter of the drive you want to defragment, and then click OK. Defragmenter checks the disk and displays a dialog box suggesting the defragmentation technique you should use.

3.      To use the recommended defragmentation technique, click the Optimize button. To change the defragmentation technique, click Configure, and pick the desired technique.

4.      Wait until Defragmenter displays a dialog box indicating that the process is com­plete, and then click OK button. A dialog box appears, asking if you want to defragment another disk.

5.      Click Exit DEFRAG.

Fixing Common Disk Problems with ScanDisk

If you have Windows 95 or DOS 6.2 (or later), you have a program called ScanDisk that can test a disk (hard or floppy), and repair most problems on a disk. What kind of prob­lems? ScanDisk can find defective areas on a disk and block them out to prevent your computer from using defective storage areas. ScanDiskcan also find and delete misplaced file fragments that may be causing your computer to crash.

You should run ScanDisk regularly (at least once every month) and whenever your computer seems to be acting up (crashing for no apparent reason). Also, if you have a floppy disk that your computer cannot read, ScanDisk may be able to repair the disk and recover any data from it.

To run ScanDisk in Windows 95, click the Start button, point to Programs, Accessories, and System Tools; then click ScanDisk. The ScanDisk window appears. Click the letter of the drive you want to check. To check for and repair only file and folder errors, click the Standard option; to check the disk for defects (in addition to file and folder errors), click Thorough. If you want ScanDisk to fix any errors without asking for your confirmation, make sure there is a check mark next to Automatically fix errors. Click the Start button.

If you don’t have Windows 95, but you do have DOS 6.2, exit all programs (including Windows 3.1) before running ScanDisk. Otherwise, ScanDisk will only be able to check for errors, not repair them. At the DOS prompt, type scandisk and press Enter. Follow the on-screen instructions to check and repair a disk.


Fixing Disks with DOS 6.0 and Earlier

If you have a version of DOS before version 6.2, you don’t have ScanDisk. However, you do have a program called CheckDisk that can repair file and directory problems. At the DOS prompt, type chkdsk/f and press Enter.

Doubling Your Disk Space with DriveSpace

If you’re running out of disk space, and you don’t want to go through the trouble of installing another hard drive, consider using a disk compression program. Such a program doesn’t actually compress the disk; it compresses the files on the disk. Most compression programs can shrink a file’s size over 50 percent, doubling your drive space. If you compress a 250 megabyte drive, you’ll end up with over 500 megabytes of drive space!

Windows 95 comes with a disk compression program called DriveSpace. To run it, click the Start button, point to Programs, Accessories, and System Tools; then click DriveSpace. Click the letter of the drive you want to compress. Open the Drive menu and select Compress. In the Compress a Drive dialog box, click the Start button. Another dialog box appears, asking for your confirmation; click the Compress Now button. Wait until the compression operation is complete; depending on the size of your hard disk, this can take several hours.

If you have DOS 6.2 or later, you can run DriveSpace from the DOS prompt. However, if you have Windows 95, DO NOT run the DOS version of DriveSpace. The DOS version cannot handle long file names; if you run it, you’ll end up renaming several Windows folders and files, incapacitating Windows 95. To run DriveSpace from the DOS prompt, type drvspace c: (where c: is the letter of the drive you want to compress), and press Enter. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the operation.

Making the Most of Your Computer’s Memory

Your computer can’t do anything without memory. And it can’t do anything very well or .very quickly if it doesn’t have enough memory. There are two ways to wring more memory out of your system. One is to free up memory that your computer reserves for devices that you’re not using. The other way is to use disk space as memory. The follow­ing sections explain both ways to get more memory.

Pre-DOS 6.2 Disk Compression

If you have DOS 6.0 or 6.1, you have DriveSpace, but it’s called DoubleSpace. To run It, exit all your other programs, type dblspace c: and press Enter. Follow the instructions to complete the operation. Again, don’t run DoubleSpace if you have Windows 95.

Make Use of Reserved Memory

All computers, even the old ones, have at least 1 megabyte of memory (RAM). 640 kilobytes of that 1 megabyte is called conventional memory, the main memory that your programs use. The other 384 kilobytes make up what is called upper memory. This memory is typically reserved for DOS itself and for other sets of instructions that your system needs to operate.

However, this 384 kilobytes is more than what is needed, so, DOS versions 5.0 and later started using upper memory for device drivers (such as the instructions that tell your mouse and monitor how to operate). By loading these instructions into upper memory (instead of into conven­tional memory), DOS can make more conventional memory available to your programs.

DOS versions 6.0 and later come with a program called MemMaker that can automatically edit the commands ir: your startup files, so your computer will take advantage :c upper memory. Simply exit any programs you’re running (including Windows). Type memmakerat the DOSprompt, and press Enter. Follow the on-screen instructions (select Express Setup to avoid complications). At the end of the process, MemMaker shows how much conventional memory you’ve reclaimed for your programs.

Undoing MemMaker’sChanges 

If your system doesn’t run properly after you tunMemMaker, go to the DOS prompt, type memmaker / undo and press Enter. MemMaker restores your original startup files and restarts your computer.

Give Your Computer More (Virtual) Memory

Windows 3.1 and Windows 95 can use space on your hard disk as memory (virtual memory). Although virtual memory is slower than real memory, it can help you avoid getting Insufficient Memory error messages when you try to load large programs or run several programs at one time.

If you have about 20 megabytes of free space on your hard drive, first, defragment your drive using the full defragmentation option, as explained earlier in this post. Then, try setting up a permanent swap file. Permanent swap files work faster, because Windows doesn’t have to poke around on the disk to find data.

In Windows 95, you don’t have to do too much with the swap file. Windows 95 manages the swap file just fine and uses any free space on the disk as memory. When Windows needs more memory, it increases the swap file size. When it needs less memory, it de­creases the size of the swap file. To make sure that Windows is in control of the swap file, open the Control Panel, and double-click the System icon. Click the Performance tab, and click the Virtual Memory button. Make sure to select Let Windows manage my virtual memory settings.

Speeding Up Your CD-ROM Drive and Hard Drive in Windows 95

Although your computer’s hard drive and CD-ROM drive are good at storing data perma­nently, they are slow compared to RAM. To help increase their speed, Windows 95 lets you use a read-ahead buffer. Windows reads data off the hard drive or CD and stores it in memory before that data is actually needed. When Windows needs the data, Windows can then access it quickly from RAM.

To increase the read-ahead buffer for your hard drive or CD-ROM drive, open the Control Panel, double-click the System icon, click on the Performance tab, and click on the File System button. Click the Hard Disk tab, and drag the Read-ahead optimization slider toFull.

Click the CD-ROM tab. Open the Optimize accesspattern for drop-down list, and click the speed of your CD-ROM drive. Drag the Supplemental cache size slider to the desired setting: increase the cache size if you frequently use the CD-ROM drive, or decrease the cache size if you rarely use it. Click OK when you’re done.

Insufficient Memory Still?!

If you run out of memory in Windows 95, you’re probably low on disk space. The first thing to do when this happens is empty the Recycle Bin. If that doesn’t give you the disk space you need, you’ll have to remove programs and files from your disk, and/or use DriveSpace to compress your disk, as instructed earlier in this tutorial.

The Least You Need To Know

As you can see, you can do a lot to keep your computer cleaned and tuned. However, if you like to do as little as necessary to keep your computer in shape, make sure you do the following regularly:

Ø Vacuum your work area monthly.

Ø Wipe your monitor with a damp cloth whenever it appears dusty.

Ø Extract fur balls from your mouse when the pointer starts to skip around the screen.

Ø Run ChkDsk or ScanDisk monthly.

Run Defrag every month or two.

To place an order for the Complete Project Material, pay N5,000 to
GTBank (Guaranty Trust Bank)
Account Name – Chudi-Oji Chukwuka
Account No – 0044157183
Then text the name of the Project topic, email address and your names to 08060565721.  

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