5 ways to speed up your PC

By following a few simple guidelines, you can maintain your computer and keep it running smoothly. This article discusses how to use the tools available in Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) and Windows Vista to more efficiently maintain your computer and safeguard your privacy when you're online.

Free up disk space
By freeing disk space, you can improve the performance of your computer. The Disk Cleanup tool helps you free up space on your hard disk. The utility identifies files that you can safely delete, and then enables you to choose whether you want to delete some or all of the identified files.
Use Disk Cleanup to:

• Remove temporary Internet files.

• Remove downloaded program files (such as Microsoft ActiveX controls and Java applets).

• Empty the Recycle Bin.

• Remove Windows temporary files.

• Remove optional Windows components that you don't use.

• Remove installed programs that you no longer use.

Tip: Typically, temporary Internet files take the most amount of space because the browser caches each page you visit for faster access later.

Detect and repair disk errors
In addition to running Disk Cleanup and Disk Defragmenter to optimize the performance of your computer, you can check the integrity of the files stored on your hard disk by running the Error Checking utility.

As you use your hard drive, it can develop bad sectors. Bad sectors slow down hard disk performance and sometimes make data writing (such as file saving) difficult, or even impossible. The Error Checking utility scans the hard drive for bad sectors, and scans for file system errors to see whether certain files or folders are misplaced.

If you use your computer daily, you should run this utility once a week to help prevent data loss.

To run the Error Checking utility:

1. Close all open files.

2. Click Start, and then click My Computer.

3. In the My Computer window, right-click the hard disk you want to search for bad sectors, and then click Properties.

4. In the Properties dialog box, click the Tools tab.

5. Click the Check Now button.

6. In the Check Disk dialog box, select the Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors check box, and then click Start.

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