Home Office: Spring Cleaning for Your PCDump worthless files that clutter your system and crimp performance.
What do a new car, a garage, and spring have in common? Nothing good if your wife wants to put her new car into a garage packed with all your favorite old computer equipment--like a '386 Novell file server and a couple of Diablo daisy wheel printers.
Facing this potentially volatile situation, I begged, wheedled, and finally made an offer that I hoped would buy me some time: "How about I spring clean your PC and you park the new car in the driveway?" I said, trying sound like I was the one making the big sacrifice.
Actually, spring cleaning a PC can be either a quick task or--if you have an overloaded garage to avoid--a weekend project. The result will be a faster-running machine with fewer crashes and General Protection Faults.
Dusting and Cleaning Your PC
Raise your hand if you haven't deleted the files in your Temporary folder (also known as the temp folder) in a long time. The more.tmp files that're stashed in that folder, the longer it takes for your machine to boot, print, and load some programs. That's because some activities automatically check the temp files before taking any other action. (One of my consultant friends said he's seen--and this is the record so far--7000.tmp files.)
To get rid of temp files, go to the Desktop and open My Computer, right-click your C: drive, select Properties, and click the Disk Cleanup button. When you see the Disk Cleanup dialog box, make sure the only boxes checked are Temporary Files and Recycle Bin, then click OK.
While you're deleting things, clean up Internet Explorer's cache and history. From the Start Menu, go to Settings, Control Panel, Internet Options, and click the Delete Files button in the area titled "Temporary Internet Files." In the same dialog box, you'll see Clear History--just click the button. For a short time your browser will respond sluggishly because it has to save the pages you visit often, but in a few days things will speed up because it won't need to cull through outdated files.
Lincoln Spector has a nifty way for your PC to clear out the temp directory every time you boot up the system. (I did this to my mom's PC and it works like a charm.) Check out "Empty the Temp Folder Automatically."
Dig this: Looking for something to do other than cleaning your hard drive? Try Snarg. After the first few images flash on screen, click the tiny pound sign on the right edge of your monitor, then click on the "squeee" link or, if you have the courage, the "framina" link. (Return and click on the other link afterwards.) Hint: Move your mouse around and click here and there until patterns emerge, or until your significant other walks in and asks how the hard disk cleaning is going.(With thanks to SteveW.)
I like tweaking my system, so I enjoy removing unwanted files manually. (Better than cleaning the garage, right?) But you may want a utility to do it for you, or maybe have it done on a scheduled basis. In an old--but still useful--story, Scott Dunn explains how Windows 2000 and Win ME users can set Windows to clean out the Recycle Bin and deep-six offline network and cached Internet files. See "Superscrub Your Drive Automatically."
There are plenty of utilities around that do the the job, and many are free. I don't have a preference, because most do essentially the same thing. Experiment with one or two of the tools below and see how they fit with your computing style.
CleanIt v2.0. This free, easy-to-use utility locates and deletes files in your temp folder as well as temporary files in other folders.
Chris Free Software Cleaner. OTOH, you might like a graphical view of your files before you start removing them. In that case, take a look at Chris Free Software Cleaner. It's small, loads quickly, and is terrific for finding those humongous files you no longer need.
Clean Disk. This tool gets rid of temporary files, cookies, and history folders and files. It's free, but the author encourages you to send him $23 to motivate him to upgrade the product and develop new tools.
Ontrack Internet Cleanup. You might prefer a commercial product, something that does more than many of the shareware and freeware versions. In that case, try Ontrack's $27 Internet Cleanup utility. The product removes cookies, Internet cache and history files, recently accessed files, and other items clogging your hard drive.
Dig this: If you have to sit through endless, mind-numbing staff meetings, you should feel better if you know how to cuss in another language. (Trust me, this is therapeutic. Remember, I'm a licensed family therapist.) First, try a site that teaches you how to curse in Swedish.
Of course, that's rarely enough. You might consider sending your boss a memo created with the Dialectizer (such as "Youay areyay oneyay ofyay ethay umbestday upervisorssay I'veyay everyay adhay otay enlstay otay...") Visit the Dialectizer and try Hacker, Pig Latin, and other delightful dialects.
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