No More Computer ‘Cavities’


So Halloween has come and gone and the piles of candy are slowly dwindling. There is nothing left to do but throw away the rotten pumpkins, find a storage space for the costumes, and schedule a dentist appointment for the kids. With all those sweet treats filtering through their little teeth, there is good reason to get a thorough cleaning. Something as simple as a cleaning can save a lot of heartache (and toothache) in the future.

The same is true for our computer systems. Just like candy leaving unwanted byproducts on our teeth, there are many things that stick to our computer systems during normal operation. Instead of Twix bars, M&M’s, and Skittles, our computers collect cookies, temp files, and unused programs. These things build up until our machines no longer function properly. Luckily, there are dentists for computer cavities, too.

The first visit we should make is to a disk space optimizer. Freeing up disk space is a vital part of keeping your computer at optimal levels. During the course of your daily computer activity, your system will save temporary files and applets from the Internet or your operating system. These files eventually become cumbersome and must be deleted.

There are several programs or applications that will complete a thorough disk cleanup on your machine. Windows has a disk cleanup tool (located in the system tools section of the accessories folder) that will remove unwanted programs, empty your recycle bin, and delete temporary Internet files. You will have the option to delete selected files or programs before the cleaning takes place.

The next visit should be to a disk defragmenter. Your hard drive stores information in files and folders. As we update, add, and change data, these folders and files may become fragmented. This fragmentation slows down our operating speed and makes simple tasks much more difficult. The remedy lies in disk defragmentation. Use a program that will consolidate your files and organize them into an easy to read format. Windows users can find a disk defragmenter in the system tools section of the accessories folder. It is a good idea to run a disk defragmenter monthly or whenever you add significant amounts of data at one time.

The last visit on your post-Halloween cleanup quest should be to a competent spyware defender. New technologies in dentistry allow kids to get a coating on their teeth to protect against future cavities. A spyware defender script will do the same for your computer — it will offer lasting protection against unwanted programs or files. This is where you need to be careful ... there are many free spyware defender programs available for download, but most of them end up causing more problems than they are worth. The best option is to go to http:// to run a free scan of your system.

As always, Computer Problem Specialists is available to help you through the clean-up process. Even the Windows tools can be confusing, be sure to call us at (928) 468-0000 to speak to a technician. We are happy to answer your questions.

There’s nothing wrong with candy ... as long as steps are taken to remove the lingering sugar before it does any harm. The same holds true with temp files on our computer. These files make Internet surfing much faster and enjoyable. If we take the steps necessary to clean up our computers, we won’t be getting any bad news come January check-up time.

Daniel Taft is the senior network administrator and member/owner of Computer Problem Specialists, LLC with a degree in applied computer science. His career spans more than 20 years.


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