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The Computer Buzz November 20th, 2008

Nome and Paul Van Middlesworth - owners - The Computer Fact


Keep Your PC Running Strong

About 75% of the home and small business desktop computers in use today have the Home or Professional version of Microsoft's Windows XP operating system. Of the remainder, 10% have MS Windows Vista, 8% have MS Windows 2000, 98 or ME and Apple shares the remaining 7% with Linux based operating systems.

For users with Windows 2000, 98 or ME our advice is to not spend money on your PC. If it has a problem that you can't fix, it's time to move up to a Windows XP computer, either new or used. The problem with 8 to 10 year old PCs with the old operating systems is that they are highly vulnerable to Internet "malware" attacks and that there are few modern applications that support the pre-XP operating systems.

For PCs with MS XP and Vista operating systems, keeping them running optimally is a fairly simple four part process.

1. Make sure that you have enough RAM to handle the burden of modern operating systems and applications software (with XP that would be 1.0 to 2.0Gb, with Vista, 3.0Gb).

To check your RAM, boot your computer to the desktop and depress the "control", "Alt", and "delete" keys simultaneously. "Windows Task Manager" will appear. (If it doesn't your Windows OS is corrupt and needs to be repaired or reinstalled.)

The center tab on Task Manager is "performance". Once your virus-scan stops updating itself, your RAM (PF usage) should settle down to between 200 and 300Mb (XP) and 600 to 800Mb (Vista). If your PC is using more than the amount of RAM indicated above it probably needs a clean up. The "total" amount of RAM installed is displayed in the text on the lower right under "physical memory". If it is under 1.0 Gb. for XP or 3.0Gb for Vista, you need to add RAM.

2. Make sure your hard drive (C drive) has at least 50% of free space and is un-fragmented.

To check your C drive simply "left" click on "my computer" and "right" click on "local disc" or "C drive". Then left click on properties. This will display a pie chart of your "C drive", its size and the amount of free space available. To check for fragmentation, left click on "my computer", right click on the "C drive", left click on "defragment now", left click on "analyze" and wait for the report. Windows will tell you whether or not defragmentation is necessary.

A clean running five or six year old PC with Windows XP will usually run applications faster than a brand new Windows Vista computer, so don't be too quick to give up on your old PC just because it has a few years on it

The last two Items are:

3. Keeping your hard drive free of excessive programs in "start up".

4. Keeping your PC free of "malware" (spy ware, ad ware and viruses)

We will discuss these items next week.





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