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Is your computer sluggish? Cluttered? Bursting at the seams? In this course, author and computer teacher Laura Bungarz shares some of her favorite techniques to help you speed up your home PC. Learn about defragmenting, checking your RAM, sorting files, and using utilities you already have to clean up "behind the scenes." Laura will also provide tips on upgrading your computer and, if your budget permits, looking for a new PC.
We have another way of speeding up our computer, and that is through what's called defragmenting the hard drive. What I'm going to show you is how to get to the disk defragmenter. When you buy Windows and you put it on your computer, it's part of Windows. I'm going to show you where it is, and I'm going to show you how to use it. What you're going to do is you're going to click on your Start menu. This one's hiding in All Programs, Accessories, and it's in the System Tools. You're going to see the Disk Defragmenter in the menu there, and you're going to click on it. It's going to bring up this crazy little box here.
What it is, is you've got your hard drive. You might see two or three here, C, D, and maybe even a recovery disk or partition will be there. C is typically where Windows hangs out. Most of us that are not real nerds will put Windows on the C drive. What you want to do is you want to look for how much fragmented the hard drive is. The higher the percentage of fragmentation, the slower your computer will be. What you want to do, is you want to have it analyze the disk first, just to make sure that that percentage showing is correct.
Then what you want to do is, you'll defragment the disk. This is a process that can take a really long time. I want you to plug in your laptop when you do this. I want you to make sure you do it at night, not when you need to send an important e-mail in 10 minutes. If defrag is not done often, it can take eight, 10, 12 hours to run when you do it the first time. After that, it will speed up. If it's something that's done regularly, it won't take very long. For some of you, it may be scheduled in the background, and you may not even realize your computer is doing it. You may come in here and be surprised to find that your computer actually just defragmented yesterday.
But for many of you, it's probably something that's never been done before, or at least you've never manually done it before. You're just going to want to have a look and see if your hard drive is defragmented. What you'll see at the top here is that we can schedule defragmentation. This is turned on, and on this computer it's set to run at 1:00 a.m. every Wednesday. You can change that. You configure the schedule, and you can decide to run weekly, and what day, and what time of the day, and which disk you want to run it on. Typically, you would run it at least on your C drive.
Weekly is really, really good, in terms of frequency. For most average computer users, weekly is lots. If you're the type that only checks your e-mail once a week, and you turn on your computer for 10 minutes once a week, you probably don't need to do it more than once a month and maybe even less than that. If you're a power user like me, and you're on it consistently, weekly for sure, if not more often. In the time of day that's appropriate. Pick the day and the time and click okay. As long as you leave your computer on, it'll run. Then when you get up in the morning and you discover the disk defragmenter has done it's thing, you can reboot your computer, and you'll probably find your computer runs a little faster.
That's everything you ever wanted to know about defragmenting your hard drive.
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