Basic Maintenance Computer System

Following are some basic system maintenance steps that will help
to keep your system running smoothly;  in many cases they will
actually cure some common performance related problems.  You
should undertake to carry out the steps in the order that I have
listed them, so before you start, be sure to download HD Valet – a
drive cleanup utility that removes temporary, unneeded and ‘junk’
files from your hard drive.  It is highly configurable, and
will aid you greatly in the clean up of your drive.  You can
download it “”>

  1. Empty your internet cache.For users of Internet Explorer:
    • Close all instances of your browser.
    • Open Control Panel and double click on Internet
    • In the General tab, in the section where it says
      Temporary Internet Files, press the button marked Delete
    • In the dialog box that pops up, place a check mark in the box
      Delete all offline content.This removes all subfolders that are created in the Temporary
      Internet Files\Content.IE5

    For users of Netscape or Mozilla:

    • From the menu bar, choose Edit / Preferences / Advanced /
    • Press the Clear cache button.

    For Mozilla Firebird/Firefox:

    • From the menu bar, choose Tools / Options / Privacy /
    • Press the Clear button.

    For Opera users:

    • From the menu bar, choose File / Preferences / History and
    • Press Empty Now.
  2. Clean up unnecessary files from your hard drive with
    HDValet – which you should have downloaded and installed
    previously.  Read about HD Valet here:””
    target=”_blank”>Make Room On Your Hard Disk
  3. “My Documents”:  Make sure that you do not have too
    many files, folders and sub-folders in ‘My Documents’.  Create
    new folders outside of ‘My Documents’ and move stuff to the
    new folders.  The ‘My Documents’ folder is a special system
    folder, and there is a known issue in Windows, where too many
    files/folders within it can cause your system to become very
    sluggish.’My Documents’ is what’s known as a “Shell Object” – based on an
    “environment” concept.  It is actually a special Shell
    Object, called a Shell Folder.  Shell Folders are not
    real folders, but they do point to real folders on the hard drive –
    think of them as a special kind of shortcut.  ‘My
    Documents’ is not the only kind of Shell Object – others can be
    created, too.  The ‘Internet Explorer’ on the desktop is
    a Shell Object, though NOT a Shell Folder.The idea of Shell Folders is to have all user files available from
    a common location.  The registry’s entry for the personal
    “environment” of ‘My Documents’ is not a true folder, as I have
    said, rather it is a “NameSpace” that can actually point anywhere
    (not just c:\my documents). As far as Windows is concerned, ‘My
    Documents’ resides in the registry only; the physical location
    and contents has to be enumerated continually by the
    .  With a large registry and many files and
    folders in the “physical” location of ‘My Documents’, it is very
    easy for Windows to become bogged down or sluggish, particularly
    under heavy load.  Note that this does not mean that
    Windows WILL get bogged down, only that it can.  There is
    NO magical number of files or folders that might result in a
    sluggish system.  Some systems will run absolutely fine
    with many folders and many MBs in ‘My Documents’, while others will
    groan with relatively few.  This information is aimed at
    those who may experience a slowdown, or general sluggishness in
    Windows, and Windows Explorer in particular.  It is just
    one thing to keep in mind when troubleshooting a slow system.
  4. Clean up your registry with one or both of the following
    freeware tools — be sure to read the help files.

  5. Streamline your startups.  Take some time to study
    the following web pages to determine what programs you have running
    at startup, what is necessary and what you can disable.  To
    help you, “_blank”>Startup List will tell you what you have running at
    startup on your system.  Wherever possible, use the
    preferences or options of the application involved to prevent it
    running at startup.  This is important, because msconfig is
    designed as a diagnostics tool, and may not prevent items from
    running permanently.  Where there is no option within the
    program, you can try using msconfig – which will work in many
    cases.  To do this, press the Start button and choose
    ‘Run’.  In the Run box type msconfig and press
    [Enter].  Choose the Startup tab and you will see a
    list of items.  Be sure to only uncheck those items you are
    sure can be disabled, or have confirmed with the following

    For the adventurous amongst you, but particularly for
    troubleshooting purposes, following is a list of possible startup
    locations. Otherwise, you may skip directly to item 6.

    WARNING: Editing the registry incorrectly can result in your
    operating system failing to function. Do this only if you are
    confident, and be sure to back up your registry first, or create a
    restore point, in case something should go wrong.  What YOU do
    with this information is YOUR responsibility, and YOURS

    List of possible startup locations.









      HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows (AppInit_DLLs)

      HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon (Userinit)

      HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon (Shell)

      HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\Notify\

      HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\System (Scripts)







      HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System (Shell)

      HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows (Run)

      HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows (Load)

      HKCU\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\System (Scripts)

    • ServicesHKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\
    • Browser Helper ObjectsHKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\explorer\Browser Helper Objects\
    • Active Setup Stub Keys (These are disabled if there is a twin in HKCU)HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Active Setup\Installed Components\
    • ICQ Agent AutostartHKCU\Software\Mirabilis\ICQ\Agent\Apps
    • STARTUP FOLDERS:Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\StartupDocuments and Settings\[user name]\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

      Documents and Settings\Administrator\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

      Documents and Settings\Default User\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

      WinNT\Profiles\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

      WinNT\Profiles\[user name]\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

      WinNT\Profiles\Administrator\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

      WinNT\Profiles\Default User\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

      Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

      Windows\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

      WinME\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

      WinME\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

    • OTHER MEANS:WINDOWS\win.iniStart=









      Task Scheduler

  6. TEMP Folder:  Reboot and immediately empty your
    Windows\Temp” folder – or “Documents and
    Settings\[username]\Local Settings\Temp
    ” for Windows XP
    users.  Note that emptying the Temp folder is quite
    safe, but only following a reboot.  This is because
    applications and setup routines store working files in the temp
    folder, and setup routines in particular, often need to finish
    their cleanup process after a reboot.  It also ensures
    that you don’t delete a temporary file that may be needed by an
    application that is currently running, with the possibility of
    loosing work.Here are some possible TEMP folder locations.

    • Your system may vary:[Drive]:\Windows\Temp[Drive]:\Documents and Settings\[User Name]\Local Settings\Temp

      [Drive]:\Documents and Settings\Default User\Local

      [Drive]:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\Local

      [Drive]:\Documents and Settings\LocalService\Local

      [Drive]:\Documents and Settings\NetworkService\Local

    • Windows Update temporary folder:[Drive]:\WUTemp[Drive]:\Windows\WUTemp

      [Drive]:\Program Files\WindowsUpdate\V4\temp

  7. Empty your recycle bin.  You’d be surprised how
    many people fail to empty their recycle bin regularly, and it can
    grow to many megabytes, or even gigabytes!  If you have Norton
    Protected Recycle Bin installed, empty that, too.  Right click
    on the recycle bin and you will see the options available to
  8. Scandisk and “” target=
    your hard drive.
  9. Keep your system well maintained by following these few
    simple steps.  You may be surprised at the difference a clean
    system can make.

  °Mike°, 2003-2005

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