Phil's How To Take Care of Windoze Page
As we all know, Windows is unfortunately a very widely used OS. I have spent many hours helping friends, customers, and co-workers do maintenance on their computers. So now I have put the information here on the web so I don't have to retype or say it anymore.
First and foremost, you need to have a virus scanner. The most common are McAfee AntiVirus and Symantec's Norton AntiVirus. You then need to make a directory on your computer where you will put stuff you download. For example:
C:\Phil\Download. If you use AOL there is a Download directory in the AOL directory. Newer versions of Windows have a
My Downloads directory. Any of these is fine.
Every time you download something, download it to THAT folder. Set AOL, netscape, IE, your download manager, your FTP programs, and whatever else to download there by default. Then, as soon as you download something scan that folder (make sure your scanner is set to scan ALL files, not just files of a certain extension). If what you've downloaded is clean, you can put it wherever you like. If it's infected, delete it.
You need to do this with pictures your friend's send you, their term papers they email you to proof-read, and EVERYTHING else you download.
So, now you have a virus scanner. If you got it more than a week ago, you're out of luck because 5 more viruses have been discovered! So what now? Well, there's where updates come into play. You need to update your virus scanner at least once a week. This is in the form of "DAT Files" or "Virus Signatures." You can find these here:
Most new scanners can be set to automatically update themselves on a regular basis. I recommend setting this up. Make sure it's a time your computer will be on!! This in combination with the above should ensure you never get infected by a computer virus.
This is what I've typed up for a million people a million times. Do the following once a month every month.
These should be done in that order. This will keep your machine running quickly and happily. Also, Gip writes in:
- Go to Windows Update (unfortunately, that requires Internet Explorer), and click "Product Updates." Download anything under "Critical Updates" and "Device Drivers." As for the other sections, that's up to your discretion, but those two sections are imperative.
- Do a FULL virus scan. Set your scanner to scan ALL files (as opposed to just certain extensions), and the ENTIRE computer. This usually takes a while, so you might want to start this and let it run overnight.
- Do a ScanDisk. In Windows 9x this is in Start -> Programms -> Accessories -> System Tools -> ScanDisk. In Windows 2000 (and XP I believe) you want to go to My Computer and right click the drive you want to scan, choose Properties, and go to Tools, and then Scan. You do *not* need to do a "surface scan" so uncheck that. You should actually watch this run most of the time, it doesn't take long. If you do want to let it run while you're away, you can safely check "automatically check errors."
- Reboot. Just do it.
- Defragment. This is in the same place as ScanDisk, except it's called Defrag. If it tells you that you're not too fragmented and don't need to defrag, do it anyway.
- Reboot. Just do it.
- Regclean. This can be found here. Instructions to install this in a clean manner are here. The way you need to run this is as follows: Run the program, if it finds errors, choose 'fix', reboot, run it again, if it finds errors, choose 'fix', reboot, and run it again. Keep repeating until it doesn't find any errors. THEN REBOOT ONE MORE TIME.
I've found that deleting *.tmp files has helped make some "mysterious" problems go away. It is usually the first thing I do when sitting down to a troubled windoze box. And he has a good point, it certainly can, however I don't necessarily recommend this as a first course of action, and I certainly don't recommend it as a monthly practice, but rather a course of action for a computer that you regularly do maintenance on that still seems to have bizarre problems.
RegClean doesn't come with an install program. It's just one file which you can download here. So here's my suggestion for a clean install.
That's it! You now have RegClean where it should be with a convenient icon in System Tools where it belongs.
- The file you download is a zip archive. Unzip the contents somewhere temporary (your desktop is fine).
- Make a folder
C:\Program Files\RegClean and put RegClean.exe (NOTE: the zip file is also called RegClean.exe because it is self extracting, you want the file that was INSIDE the zip file) in there. Don't worry about the other two files that were in the zip, they are unnecessary (you may choose to read the Readme if you like, but it's not needed to make the program run).
- Right click on the Task Bar, click properties. Select the tab on the right, click Add. Click Browse, and browse to and select
C:\Program Files\RegClean\RegClean.exe. Click Next.
- It will ask you where you want the icon installed, choose Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools. Click Next.
- It will ask for a name, it will suggest 'RegClean.exe.' Change this to 'RegClean.' Click Finish.
- Verify that there is an icon in Start -> Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools for RegClean, and that it starts the RegClean utility.
- Delete the zip file, and any other temporary files
This page is © Phil Dibowitz 2001 - 2004