Keeping your computer healthy – Part 3

As promised last week, we will continue to look at the essential ways in which to keep your system in top shape and the easiest ways to minimise the number of technical support calls that you will have make in the coming years that you own your PC.By simply following the steps I am going to give you today and the tips over the past two weeks, you will be able to take the most fundamental but also the most important steps to ensuring that your PC has a trouble-free existence.

Once again, I would like to state that the information given here to help maintain or repair your computer should not cause any problems whatsoever, however you use the contents of this article at your own risk and neither the Herald Express nor myself can be held responsible for the outcome of those actions.Rather than reading the information given here by itself, I would suggest that you follow the points through step-by-step in front of your computer.

If you imagine that you go to a car show room and you buy yourself a brand new 2.4 litre V6 sports car and then when you get it back to your house you stick 500lb of brick into the back of it and leave them there for the life of the car.Doesn’t make much sense does it?Many people are happy to do it with their computer though – let me explain!

All modern day computers are able to perform many tasks at once, however, as many of you may realise the more tasks you try to do at once, the slower your computer will become.Try to download video off the Internet, write to a CD, play a tune from your hard-disk and print from Word all at the same time and you may find that your computer becomes pretty sluggish.

However what most people don’t seem to realise is that many programs load up when they first turn their computer on.These programs start themselves up and stay there until you turn the computer off, whether you want to use them or not.

Obviously if you get a dozen of these programs loading on start-up and sitting in the background on the off chance that you might use them, your computer as a whole will become much slower and possibly less reliable.Look at the bottom right hand side of your screen and you’ll see what I mean.Each of those little icons by the side of the clock is a program that is sat in the background eating up all your computers resources making it perform slower.Now just think to yourself do you actually use these programs enough to have them constantly sat in the background, or would you prefer to just start them up when you needed them?Personally one of the first things that I do when troubleshooting and repairing a computer, is to take off all the programs that are loading on start up and never have I had the owners comment that they actually ever used the shortcuts for any of their programs!

Don’t get worried now, we are not actually going to remove the program itself, just stop it from sitting in the background adding little features into Windows, which we neither want, nor use.

Now, first off, position your mouse pointer over one of the little icons down in the bottom right hand corner of your screen, the ones sat next to the clock.Right click on them and have a good look around to see if you can see an option to remove it or prevent it starting when Windows loads up – Repeat this for all the icons except for the speaker icon and then we’ll move onto removing the more stubborn programs.

Okay then, next right click on the start menu at the left hand side of the screen and click on explore, if you look in the right hand side of this window that opens up you will see a folder called ‘programs’ double click on this folder and then double click on ‘startup’.Have a look to see if there are any shortcuts in this folder that you don’t want starting every time your computer boots up and if you find anything you think looks irrelevant then right click on it and the click ‘delete’, the computer will ask if you’re sure so then click ‘yes’.This shortcut will be stored in the recycle bin, so if you restart your computer and experience any problems then simply restore the file that you deleted from the recycle bin.

Finally, to get rid of the really stubborn programs, go into Windows System Information by clicking on ‘Start’ and then to ‘Programs’, ‘Accessories’ and then to ‘System Tools’ and finally click on ‘System Information’.Once the window has opened up, click on Tools and then System Configuration, now if you click on the startup tab you will be able to see any of the remaining programs that are automatically loading up when the system first boots.Simply uncheck the box next to anything you don’t want to load up when you turn your computer on and then restart.A word of warning – Don’t fiddle around disabling ‘ScanRegistry’, ‘TaskMonitor’, ‘SystemTray’ or ‘LoadPowerProfile’, because these are essential for the smooth running of Windows.Basically use your discretion at what looks unimportant to you, because if you find that when you’ve restarted your computer it isn’t running correctly you can always re-enable any of the programs that load on boot-up by going back into System Configuration and re-checking any of the boxes that you disabled before.

That’s just about covered all the tools that are built into Windows to help keep your system in top working order, just be careful when carrying out the steps above.


About the Author – Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.