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Thursday, 28 April 2011

Disk Cleanup, and Defragmentation - my weekly MUST do!



I'll bet, right now, that many of my readers will say; "What?"

With the amount of bloggers out there who do not regularly clear (once a month, or more often) the Browser cache, it would not surprise me that they have never heard of Disk Cleanup and Defragmentation, of the Hard Disk on their computers. It's not mentioned by any salesman I've ever met, nor is it highlighted anywhere, to my knowledge. It is, however, an essential part of your Computer Care and Maintenance program ... especially, if you use the Internet, download files, and get regular updates!


So, what is my friend, Disk Cleanup? Windows Help1 describes it as;

"... Delete files using Disk Cleanup

If you want to reduce the number of unnecessary files on your hard disk to free up disk space and help your computer run faster, use Disk Cleanup. It removes temporary files, empties the Recycle Bin, and removes a variety of system files and other items that you no longer need..."



Indiana University 'Knowledge Base' 2, describes Disk Cleanup, inter alia, as checking, and cleaning up;

"...
  • Temporary Internet Files: Files stored on your local drive that allow web pages to load more quickly
  • Downloaded Program Files: A storage location for programs downloaded when you visit specific web sites that use ActiveX and Java applets
  • Recycle Bin: Files that have been marked as deleted
  • Temporary Files: Items in the TEMP folder "



It is so easy, and important, to do. Disk Cleanup takes around 5 minutes to run - while you make a cuppa, and a sandwich. Please take 3 minutes, or less (I didn't have my watch on) to watch this Windows Help Video. Disk Cleanup is a program on your Windows Start - Accessories - System Tools file.


It is right near my next friend, the Disk Defragmenter!

Windows Help describes Disk Defragmentation as a method to;

"... Improve performance by defragmenting your hard disk

Fragmentation makes your hard disk do extra work that can slow down your computer. Removable storage devices such as USB flash drives can also become fragmented. Disk Defragmenter rearranges fragmented data so your disks and drives can work more efficiently. Disk Defragmenter runs on a schedule, but you can also analyze and defragment your disks and drives manually..."





The fragmentation of files, referred to in the above quote, can be described as, if you'll excuse my poor analogy, like this...

" When you download files, they come in folders, or 'boxes'. Your Hard Disk opens the boxes to access the contents, and stores the contents wherever it can - because it is busy and hasn't got the time to look for somewhere, neat and tidy. It doesn't worry about the box it came in, either. It just leaves that where it was! So, when you want the contents, the computer brain has to look all around the Hard Disk. Maybe, a little bit is here, there's another bit, etc. The contents are FRAGMENTED! This takes up CPU time and effort. It's gotta work hard! So, defragmenting your Hard Disk - REGULARLY - gets the Hard Disk working better, because it can find things quicker.The Disk Cleanup , gets rid of the Files, or 'Boxes', which are of no further use! These are called 'Temporary Internet Files'."


Take a minute, (and that's all it takes), to view this Windows Help Video on Disk Defragmenter

Don't be dismayed by this story, but - sometimes, Disk Defragmentation can take time. My daughter's PC took me 17 hours to 'defrag' - because she had never done it before, and had over 7 years worth of cleaning to do. Now, her computer runs like new, again! Thanks, Dad!

Once you have done it a couple of times, it will take far less time than to take a shower, and dress.


Reference:

1. Windows Help
2. Indiana University - University Information Technology Services - Knowledge Base - "In Windows, what is Disk Cleanup?"

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