|** Get a good surge &
spike protector, with a modem socket.
This simple device is not a 'waste of money' as I had thought.
Even turning on an appliance in your house while your computer is on can
create havoc with your hard drive. Avoid the cheapest protectors
- invest in a good one. Electricity does fluctuate, and some nasty zappy
thingies can come over the telephone line as well.
** Invest in a back-up
system: Tape, Zip Drive, extra HD.
If your computer has never crashed severely..."just wait !" You
will lose ALL of your information except for the small bits put on floppy
discs - if you bother to do this. All email, all saved data
- including fax settings and your astrological program data !
Nearly everyone that I know has lost precious information. Believe
me, you will feel sick when your system crashes and you do not have a back-up
system. The cheapest way to go is with a basic tape drive.
Get the gigabyte zip drives if you can afford it.
** Install a 'system fixer',
Aid by Cybermedia'
First Aid (for Windows) is the best that I know of and it is
updateable on the Net. Avoid Norton Crash Guard - this is
virtually worthless and it wiped my brother-in-law's hard drive !
Sweep is also OK, but it does not have a background-running 'crash
guard'. Both software programs have many features and you
will feel like an expert just by having them installed ! This will
pay for itself my keeping your computer away from the workshop.
** Defragment your Hard Drive
This is so easy, and should be done at least every month, even once
a week is not too often. Techies will get a decent defragger
using Norton Utilities or Nuts and Bolts, but the one that
comes free with Windows is sure better than nothing at all. Go to
Programs \ Accessories \ System Tools. Email me if you still need
advice, but it is easy to do. Go on and do a complete Scan Disk
as well. BTW, these may take some time to do, so have a few cups
of coffee, or just go to sleep for the night. One important tip:
be sure to close off ALL programs - including crash guards, anti-viruses,
etc. - otherwise the defragger or scan disk will keep stopping and
TO SPEED-UP YOUR COMPUTER
And Prevent Freeze-ups and Crashes
Most people will find that their computer slows
down after awhile,
maybe after a year or so, depending on how
many programs you have added to your system.
Don't fall into the trap of spending lots
of extra money on that new 450 Mhz computer !
If you follow these tips, you will have a
faster, cleaner system.
Get rid of that
background photo on your desktop. Choose a plain background.
Doing this made an appreciable difference on my PC. I miss seeing
the beautiful New Zealand Alps, but it is worth it.
Turn off that
screen-saver. New screens will not "burn", and besides, you can
set your screen to turn off automatically (or go into power-saver mode)
via the Settings \ Control Panel. Screen savers are cute, but not necessary
and they soak up valuable resources (especially if you have limited RAM).
Run a "system
fixer", as noted above. At the very least, it will enable your
'windows refresh' feature.
Turn off all unnecessary
programs. Do you really need that anti-virus running when you
are off-line ? It took me awhile to figure out just what was running
'in the background', but once I started to close things down, my system
froze-up less often and ran faster. Often programs interfere with each
other. Clean Sweep really bogged my system down so now I only
enable it when necessary.
Get the free download
which frees-up your RAM. A 'must-have' utility ! Email me for
details or just use a search engine to find it. If you have 32 Mb of RAM,
typically there is only 8 Mb or so left for your applications; Win 98 soaks
up a lot of RAM as well.
your hard drive regularly. See the section above for details.
Get rid of those
old programs and files that you do not use anymore. Unfortunately,
if you just hit 'Delete' or dump them in the Recycle Bin, there will still
be remnants that remain all over your hard drive. These bits and
pieces and unnecessary programs can 'muck up' your system. Use your
'Uninstall' feature or something like 'Clean Sweep' in order to get rid
of all extra junk. However, you may have to take the BIG STEP, which
... Reformat your hard
drive. This means to deliberately wipe everything off and start
over ! Yes, a big step, but after a year or two (especially if you
are a heavy user of your PC) you just may be forced to do this. Techies
tell me that reformatting creates new magnetic lines on your hard drive,
which is healthy for your system. You may also want to partition
off your HD as well. Get some good advice on exactly how to do this, and
of course back up everything first !
Get more RAM.
32 Mb is a must these days, and 64 - 96 is not the over-kill that it used
program that keeps giving you problems. Even Windows can
be reinstalled. Just set-up the program using the CD or floppies as you
would normally do, and be sure to chose the option for saving your old
data files when prompted. Often a program will have a file that becomes
corrupted, so you need to reinstall the software to make it work like it
And if you still have troubles ?
Well, most likely what you need is not a faster chip, as much as a new
motherboard. The cheaper motherboards (and other components
besides the main chip) can cause lots of freezes and crashes and problems
in general.... and these cheaper items can be found on such big names
as Compaq. It is not the so-called trusted name that make
the difference, but exactly what is inside your computer - and it takes
a techie to find this out. If you do decide to upgrade to a whole
new computer, or to replace your main chip and motherboard, find a friendly
techie (who is not also a salesperson of computers) who can give you some
good 'inside information'.
luck ! Hope this helps !