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Computer Housekeeping

Computer Housekeeping

~ Presented by Sarah Mason ~

Š Sarah Mason


Computer Housekeeping TABLE OF CONTENTS 1.1 ~ Backups using Vista .......................................................................................... 4 1.2 ~ Backup using Windows XP .............................................................................. 6 2 ~ Hardware cleaning ................................................................................................ 9 3 ~ Manage files and folders in Explorer and Emails ........................................ 13 4 ~ Temporary Internet files, Cookies and History ........................................... 14 5 ~ Search for temporary files in explorer ~.tmp.............................................. 16 6 ~ Windows Defender .............................................................................................. 17 7 ~ Window Security Centre .................................................................................... 18 8 ~ Uninstall unwanted programs .......................................................................... 20 9 ~ Disk Cleanup ........................................................................................................ 21 10 ~ Defragment ........................................................................................................ 22 11 ~ File Compression ............................................................................................... 23 12 ~ Clean the Registry ............................................................................................ 23

Š Sarah Mason


Computer Housekeeping Introduction These notes are designed to provide reinforcement material for tutor led training sessions. These revision exercises assume that the necessary programs has been fully and correctly installed on your computer.


For students to gain confidence in performing general maintenance on their machines.

Objectives After completing the course the user will have experience in the following areas: Backups

Using Defender

Hardware cleaning

Using Windows security centre

Manage Files and Folders

Anti-virus updates & scans

Deleting temporary files, history, cookies

Uninstall unwanted programs

Delete temporary explorer




System Tools system tools



File Compression Recycle Bin Clean the Registry

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Computer Housekeeping Weekly 1.1 ~ Backups using Vista Creating a backup of your files and settings is extremely straightforward and should take less than ½ hour. You can either use the Windows XP or Windows Vista backup feature which will take a copy of all files and settings on your machine or you can buy software which will do the same basic task but have extra functions. The screenshots here are for use with Windows Vista. Step 1 From the start button choose Backup and Restore

Step 2 Choose Back up files

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Computer Housekeeping Step 3 Choose the files to backup, (I have selected everything!)

Step 4 Choose an automatic regular update time for the machine.

Step 5 Decide where you will be backing up your information If you have a large number of photographs, it may be wise to invest in a portable hard drive.

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Computer Housekeeping 1.2 ~ Backup using Windows XP Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Backup to start the wizard.

Click Next to skip past the opening page, choose Back up files and settings from the second page, and then click Next. You should see the page shown here, which represents your first decision point.

Decide What to Back Up You might be tempted to click All information on this computer so that you can back up every bit of data on your computer. Think twice before choosing this option, however. If you've installed a slew of software, your backup could add up to many gigabytes. For most people, the My documents and settings option is a better choice. This selection preserves your data files (including e-mail messages and address books) and the personal settings stored in the Windows Registry. If several people use your computer—as might be the case on a shared family PC—select Everyone's documents and settings. This option backs up personal files and preferences for every user with an account on the computer. If you know that you have data files stored outside your profile, click Let me choose what to back up. This option takes you to the Items to Back Up page shown below.

Select the My Documents check box to back up all the files in your personal profile, and then browse the My Computer hierarchy to select the additional files you need to back up. If some of your files are on a shared network drive, open the My Network Places folder and select those folders.

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Computer Housekeeping Decide Where to Store Your Backup Files On the Backup Type, Destination, and Name page, Windows asks you to specify a backup location. Click Browse and choose any of the following locations:

• • • •

Your computer's hard disk. The ideal backup location is a separate partition from the one you're backing up. If your hard disk is partitioned into drive C and drive D and your data is on drive C, you can safely back up to drive D. A Zip drive or other removable media. At 100-250MB per disk, this is an option if you don't have multiple gigabytes to back up. Unfortunately, the Windows Backup utility can't save files directly to a CD-RW drive. A shared network drive. You're limited only by the amount of free space on the network share. An external hard disk drive. USB and IEEE 1394 or FireWire drives have dropped in price lately. Consider getting a 40 GB or larger drive and dedicating it for use as a backup device.

After you've chosen a backup location, enter a descriptive name for the file, click Next to display the wizard's final page, as shown here, and then click Finish to begin backing up immediately.

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Computer Housekeeping Set a Schedule—and Stick to It If you're disciplined enough, you can repeat the above steps once each week and perform regular backups when you're ready. If you'd rather not count on remembering to perform this crucial task, however, set up an automatic backup schedule for Windows. When you get to the final page of the Backup Wizard, don't click Finish. Instead, click the Advanced button, and click Next to open the When to Back Up page. Choose Later, and then click Set Schedule to open the Schedule Job dialog box shown here.

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Computer Housekeeping 2 ~ Hardware cleaning Cleaning your computer and your computer components and peripherals helps keep the components and computer in good working condition and helps keep the computers from spreading germs. To the right is an example image of how dirty the inside of your computer case can get. This example is a dirty computer case fan.

2.1 ~ Case cleaning Why? Keeps the appearance of the computer looking new. During cleaning, if ventilation locations are found, these can be cleaned helping the case keep a steady airflow to the computer, keeping components cool and in good working condition.

Procedure: The plastic case that houses the PC components can be cleaned with a lint-free cloth that has been slightly dampened with water. For stubborn stains, add a little household detergent to the cloth. It is recommended that you never use a solvent cleaner on plastics. Make sure all vents and air holes are hair and lint free by rubbing a cloth over the holes and vents. It is also helpful to take a vacuum around each of the hole, vents, and crevices on the computer. It is safe to use a standard vacuum when cleaning the outside vents of a computer; however, if you need to clean the inside of the computer, use a portable battery powered vacuum to prevent static electricity.

2.2 ~ CD-ROM or other disc drive cleaning Why? A dirty CD-ROM drive or other disc drive can cause read errors with CD discs. These read errors could cause software installation issues or issues while running the program. Procedure: To clean the CD-ROM drive we recommend purchasing a CDROM cleaner from your local retailer. Using a CD-ROM cleaner should sufficiently clean the CD-ROM laser from dust, dirt, and hair. In addition to cleaning the drive with a special disc designed to clean drives users can also use a cloth dampened with water to clean the tray that ejects from the drive. Make sure however that after the tray has been cleaned that it completely dry before putting the tray back into the drive.

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Computer Housekeeping 2.3 ~ CD / DVD cleaning Why? Dirty CDs can cause read errors and/or cause CDs to not work at all. Procedure: Cleaning CDs and DVDs should be done with a cleaning kit but can also be done with a normal clean cotton cloth or shirt. When doing this with a clean cotton cloth or shirt, wipe against the tracks, starting from the middle of the CD or DVD and wiping towards the outer side as shown in the below picture. Never wipe with the tracks; doing so may put more scratches on the disc.

2.4 ~ Keyboard cleaning Why? Dirt, dust and hair can build up causing the keyboard to not function properly. Procedure: Many people clean the keyboard by turning it upside down and shaking. A more effective method is to use compressed air. Compressed air is pressurized air contained in a can with a very long nozzle. Simply aim the air between the keys and blow away all of the dust and debris that has gathered there. A vacuum cleaner can also be used, but make sure the keyboard doesn't have loose "pop off" keys that could possibly be sucked up by the vacuum. Why? If the keyboard has anything spilt into it (ie: pop, Pepsi, Coke, beer, wine, coffee, milk, etc.), not taking the proper steps can cause the keyboard to be destroyed. Procedure: Below are a few recommendations to help prevent a keyboard from becoming bad once a substance has been spilt within it. If anything is spilt onto the keyboard turn the computer off immediately. Once the computer is turned off, quickly flip the keyboard over helping to prevent the substance from penetrating circuits. While the keyboard is upside down,

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Computer Housekeeping shake the keyboard over a surface you do not mind getting wet or that can be cleaned up later. While still upside down, use a cloth to help clean out what can be reached. After you you have cleaned the keyboard to the best of your ability leave the keyboard upside down for at least one night allowing it to dry. If a keyboard does not work after trying it again later it is recommended that it be replaced. If the keyboard works but some of the keys are sticky or cannot be pressed in you can attempt to do additional cleaning in attempt to resolve the issue. Unfortunately many times when any sticky substance such as a nondiet pop is spilt directly onto the keyboard it's usually a loss unless you plan on spending dozens of hours attempting to clean each key.

2.5 ~ LCD cleaning Why? Dirt, dust, and finger prints can cause the computer screen to be difficult to read. Procedure: Unlike a computer monitor, the LCD / flat-panel display is not made of glass, therefore requires special cleaning procedures. When cleaning the LCD screen it is important to remember to not spray any liquids onto the LCD directly; do not use a paper towel as it may cause the LCD to become scratched. To clean the LCD screen we recommend that you use a soft cotton cloth; if a dry cloth does not completely clean the screen, you can apply rubbing alcohol to the cloth and wipe the screen with the damp cloth. Rubbing alcohol is actually used to clean the LCD before it leaves the factory.

2.6 ~ Mouse cleaning Why? A dirty optical-mechanical mouse (mouse with a ball) can cause the mouse to be difficult to move as well as cause strange mouse movement. Procedure: To clean the rollers of an optical-mechanical mouse, you must first remove the bottom cover of the mouse. To do this, examine the bottom of the mouse to see which direction the mouse cover should be rotated. As you can see in the below illustration, the mouse cover must be moved counter clockwise. Place two fingers on the mouse cover and push the direction of the arrows.

Once the cover has rotated about an inch, rotate the mouse into its normal position, covering the bottom of the mouse with one hand and the bottom

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Computer Housekeeping should fall off including the mouse ball. If this does not occur, attempt to shake the mouse gently. Once the bottom cover and the ball are removed, you should be able to see three rollers located within the mouse. Use a cotton swab, your finger, and/or fingernail and move in a horizontal direction of the rollers. Usually, there will be a small line of hair and or dirt in the middle of the roller, remove this dirt and/or hair as much as possible. Once you have removed as much dirt and hair as possible, place the ball back within the mouse and place the cover back on. If the mouse still appears to be having the same issue, repeat the above process; if after several attempts the mouse is still having the same issues, it's likely that your mouse has other hardware issues and we recommend that it be replaced. Note: Cleaning your mouse pad with a damp cloth can also help improve a computer's mouse movement.

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Computer Housekeeping 3 ~ Manage files and folders in Explorer and Emails Make sure you delete files and emails that you no longer need. They are taking up valuable space on your disk! I know you may have xxx gigabytes of storage on your disk - they are very big these days - but good housekeeping says keep only what you need!

Empty your 'Recycle Bin' - When you delete a file, it does not disappear permanently into cyberspace, it stays on your disk in the 'Recycle Bin', just in case you deleted it by mistake. At least once a week, you should empty your Recycle Bin completely, to ensure that it does not get clogged up with all your computer rubbish. Ensure that once you delete items from your hard drive, you remove them from the recycle bin

Ensure that once you delete your emails, also delete them from your DELETED ITEMS.

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Computer Housekeeping 4 ~ Temporary Internet files, Cookies and History The Temporary Internet Files (or cache) folder contains Web page content that is stored on your hard disk for quick viewing. This cache permits Internet Explorer or MSN Explorer to download only the content that has changed since you last viewed a Web page, instead of downloading all the content for a page every time it is displayed. Cookies are small parcels of text sent to the user and then are sent back to the Webste next time the site is accessed. These cookies contain information about user names, passwords and information about which pages were visited. This history facility is a record of the last visited web pages. All the above facilities can be ‘emptied’ to clear out your machine. Step 1 If you open the Internet and navigate to the TOOLS menu, choose Internet Options, the screen below will appear:

Step 2 In the Browsing History section choose DELETE

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Computer Housekeeping Step 3 Choose Delete All

Step 4 Tick the check box shown here. Choose YES

Step 5 Change the settings if required – Days to keep history – 0 Disk space to store temporary files 50kb

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Computer Housekeeping 5 ~ Search for temporary files in explorer ~.tmp Some programs create temporary files and then leave them behind - they do not delete them. This can happen because the program crashed or maybe the developer of the program simply forgot to add the code needed to delete the temporary files after the program is done with them. The temporary files left behind by the programs accumulate over time and can take up a lot of disk space. Open MY COMPUTER In the search box, type


Click on Advanced and choose LOCATION C Delete the files you can with the .tmp extension.

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Computer Housekeeping Monthly 6 ~ Windows Defender Windows Defender is software that helps protect your computer against pop-ups, slow performance, and security threats caused by spyware and other unwanted software by detecting and removing known spyware from your computer. Windows Defender features Real-Time Protection, a monitoring system that recommends actions against spyware when it's detected, minimizes interruptions, and helps you stay productive.

Windows Defender should run automatically checking for spyware and other security threats. It should automatically check for updates on the Internet so you shouldn’t need to do anything here.

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Computer Housekeeping 7 ~ Window Security Centre The Windows Security Centre is primarily a monitoring tool. It looks at three separate items Microsoft has identified as being essential to system security; a firewall, system updates, and anti-virus protection. Based on what the monitoring tools find, Security Center provides recommendations a user might want to consider to increase system security. Firewall – A firewall is a program designed to prevent unauthorized access to your machine. Automatic Updates – When problems or security breaches of windows are discovered, Microsoft release ‘patches’ to solve the software problem. It is important to update whenever offered the opportunity. Virus Protection (Malware) – Windows recognizes that there is an anti-virus piece of software of the machines and reports back that it is running and up to date.

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Computer Housekeeping 8~ Anti-virus update eg Avg updates AVG is a free anti-virus software that can be installed on your machine. It will regularly check for updates for new patches against viruses, Trojan horses and worms. Now and again, it is worth looking at the program to see if it is updating.

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Computer Housekeeping Six Monthly 8 ~ Uninstall unwanted programs If you want to remove a program from your computer, make sure you use the 'Add/Remove Programs' function (via Control Panel) (XP) or Programs and Features (VISTA) rather than just deleting the files you can see. If you don't use the proper procedure, you will leave debris littered all over your disk!

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Computer Housekeeping 9 ~ Disk Cleanup Disk Cleanup is a computer maintenance utility included in Microsoft Windows designed to free up disk space on computer users' hard drive. The cleanup process firstly involves searching and analyzing the hard drive for files that are no longer of any use. It then proceeds to remove the unnecessary files, freeing up disk space on the hard drive. There are a number of different file categories that Disk Cleanup targets when performing the initial disk analysis: Compression of old files Temporary Internet files Temporary Windows files Downloaded Program files Recycle Bin Removal of unused applications or optional Windows components Setup Log files Offline files

From the start button, choose, all programs, Accessories, System Tools, Disk cleanup Select the files to be deleted Click OK

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Computer Housekeeping 10 ~ Defragment If you have done a major computer housekeeping operation and deleted and/or moved a lot of files at once, it may be a good idea to check your disk to see if it needs De-fragmenting. You can find this function among the 'performance and administration' tools in the Control Panel. When lots of files have been moved around and/or deleted, this leaves spaces on the disk that may not be usable properly or efficiently. This function shuffles the files around on the physical disk to make sure that all the space can be used efficiently in future. From the start menu, choose all programs, accessories, system tools, disk defragment.

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Computer Housekeeping Annual 11 ~ File Compression If disk space is really tight, and you have already performed the other housekeeping tasks in this list, it might be time to use Compression on your files. File Compression changes the structure of the files so that they take up less space on the disk, although there may be a performance penalty by doing this. It is best to use compression only on files that are not used very often.

12 ~ Clean the Registry Use a Registry Cleaner. The registry is the database that is used in Microsoft Windows to store information about each program that is installed in the computer, and its current status. A Registry Cleaner scans your system, especially the registry, and allows you to correct and/or remove any errors found due to bad housekeeping. Using a Registry Cleaner program regularly should have a significant effect on improving the performance of your computer system. Registry mechanic is a free download which has proved useful in the past.

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Computer Housekeeping