PC COMPUTER
SYSTEM CARE AND MAINTENANCE
Web Site and Class
for Windows users

The Class Was Given At The Los AngelesSearch History Library
formerly Los Angeles Family History Library And Elsewhere


Instructor -- Jon Schweitzer
Revised 17 February 2014.


HOME    OLD LAFSL HOME    NEW LAFSL HOME
See the Computer Internet Security Class and Web Site at
http://www.encinojon.com/comintsec/ and Fix PC Computers 

Main Class Topics
1. Placement, Care, Cleaning, Cables and Mouse
2. Windows Versions
3. Books
4. Improve Computer Performance, Efficiency and Disk Management
5. Cleaning Out Many Other Files and Correcting Registry Files
6. Updating Windows
7. Copying and Backup
8. Startup or Boot Disk
9. Disk Compression
10. Organization
11. Computer Parts and Hardware
12. Printing
13. Software
14. Help Websites
15. Computer Definitions, Dictionary, Encyclopedia and Search Engine
16. Upgrade
17. Computer Problems
18. Internet Problems
19. Repairs

1. Placement, Care, Cleaning, Cables and Mouse
Keep all hardware and disc media (CDs and DVDs) away from heat sources and out of direct sunlight. Use compressed air in a can to blow off your keyboard and if you feel comfortable working on your computer, remove the cover of your computer and blow out the dust.
Keep USB cables under 6 feet in length and 10 feet maximum.
If you must have your USB device farther away than 10ft, you should consider using wireless hardware.
Don't have your computer connected to the wall power, phone or Internet when it's lightning outside.
To save yourself mouse problems and work cleaning out your Mouse that has a ball, buy yourself an Optical Mouse.
Keep magnets away from your computer and floppy disks.

2. Windows Versions
The different versions of Windows might have different navigation to accomplish the same task. You will have to learn the navigation paths to access and accomplish each task in your Windows Version. You can use the Windows Help, a website you find on the Internet using Google or buy a book that has most of the tricks or help.

3. Books
I suggest that you have a book of "tricks" for your version of Windows. I suggest you obtain a "Visually" book such as "Master Windows (2000, XP, Vista or 7) Visually". The XP book is 672 pages and costs $18.19 new or $.39 used plus $3.99 shipping from one of Amazon.com "stores". Amazon.com is at http://www.amazon.com/

Terms that might be in the books and below: The paths to complete the tasks use the term "click" and "roll". "Click" is pressing and releasing the left button of your mouse and right-click is pressing and releasing the right button of your mouse. My term "roll" is keeping the left button of your mouse pressed and moving the mouse pointer or arrow ("roll" the mouse ball) through the different locations.

The tasks below are written for the Windows XP.

4. Improve Computer Performance, Efficiency and Disk Management
Removing unwanted programs from the Start Menu.
When you remove the programs from the Start Menu, you are not removing them from your computer. You are only removing the startup of the programs when you turn on your computer.
To remove a program: Click Start, All Programs, locate program, Right-click program, Click Delete, box appears, Click Yes.

Add icons or shortcuts of programs in All Programs on Desktop.
If you need to use the programs in your computer, make "shortcuts" for the programs to have on the "desktop" screen.
To make a shortcut: Click Start, All Programs, locate program, Right-click program, Click Creat Shortcut, Click and hold and drag Shortcut to Desktop.

Check amount of C: (Hard Drive) disc used and unused or free space.
Click Start, Click My Computer, Click the drive you want to check, menu appears, Click Properties, Properties dialogue box appears showing the % of used and free space, click OK to close. If the free space is less than 50%, your computer might be slower than average. Clean out unwanted "Things" and recheck. Store rarely used things elsewhere. See 7. below.

Check the amount of free space on all other hard drives.

Delete selected files from Recycle Bin
Double-click the Recycle Bin on the Desktop, Roll to and click on Open, select files to delete, click on File and roll to Delete, release button, click Yes in Confirm Delete Box.

Empty Recycle Bin
Double-click the Recycle Bin on the desktop, Click on File and roll to Empty Recycle Bin, click Yes on Confirm Delete Box.

Recycle Bin Properties settings.
Right-click Recycle Bin on the Desktop, menu appears, Click Properties, Recycle Bin Properties box appears, Click, hold on the the slider and drag to 2%, Click "Use one setting for all drives:", Click OK to close.

Removing CHK, TMP, COOKIES and other files.
Click Start and roll to "Search", Search Resuls appears, Click type of file, enter *.chk, cookies.* and at least 2 day old tmp.* in "All or part of the file name", Click Search, specify drive, mark file(s) to be removed and delete files.

Delete E-mail messages in your E-mail program - Review all email messages and delete the unwanted ones.

Remove unwanted fonts.
Click Start, Click Settings, Click Control Panel, Click Fonts, choose fonts and delete.

Do not use a Screen Saver - they sometimes cause big problems.
A Screen Saver is a moving picture or pattern on the monitor screen that protects the monitor tube (CRT) or LCD.
To remove the Screen Saver: Right Click on a blank area of your Desktop, Click Screen Saver, choose "(None)" for Screen Saver and Click "OK".

Close Misbehaving Programs.
Hold down together Ctrl + Alt and press the Delete key once, choose and Click the program and Click End Task. Repeat the operation to close all unnecessary programs.

Running ScanDisc.
Close all possible open programs by holding down Ctrl + Alt and pressing the Delete key once, choose the program and click End Task. Repeat the operation to close all unnecessary programs.
Follow the instructions at http://help.isu.edu/index.php?action=faq&catid=31&docid=668

Removing obsolete or unwanted programs
Click start, Click Control Panel, Control Panel appears, Click Add/Remove Programs, review programs, Click one program at a time to remove, Click Add/Remove.
After uninstall the program(s), clean out leftover files using the free programs in 5. below.

Defragmentation of your hard drive
Use the free great program at http://www.auslogics.com/disk-defrag/index.php after using the free programs in 5. below. Do not defrag a SSD or a solid state drive!

5. Cleaning Out Many Other Files and Correcting Registry Files
Clean the files in your computer using the FREE CCleaner program downloaded at http://www.ccleaner.com/ I use it once a week. This program will do such an excellent job of cleaning you MUST be careful what you remove by reviewing the several lists of things on the left that can be removed.

Use a registry correcting or cleaning program like Eusing FREE Registry Cleaner that is downloaded at http://www.eusing.com/free_registry_cleaner/registry_cleaner.htm

Also use the FREE "ALL In One Cleaner, Repair, Protect, and Optimize program" Advanced WindowsCare that is downloaded at http://majorgeeks.com/Advanced_WindowsCare_v2_Personal_d4991.html

Use the last two programs at least once a month or when you remove a program or have a computer or software problem.

If you buy a new PC you must clean out all the JUNK that the vendor or PC manufacturer installed to make money. See this WEBSITE and download the free Decrapifer program at http://www.pcdecrapifier.com/

6. Update Windows
Learn now to Update Windows at the Taskbar here http://www.microsoft.com/protect/computer/updates/mu.mspx

7. Copying and Backup
Copying, removing and storing rarely needed files

Burn a CD, DVD or use a flash drive, external USB hard drive or extra internal hard drive for backup.

Make back-ups and store copies of at least the following files:
a. Bookmarks/Favorites
b. Data files
c. Document files
d. Email addresses (Address Book)
e. Email Inbox and Sent
f. Graphics and photos
g. Programs and Drives that cannot be obtained elsewhere

Use the free backup program GFI Backup (formerly Titan Backup) from http://www.gfi.com/backup-hm/ I suggest that you not do daily backups unless you are using ACTIVE security programs that daily scans and removes "THINGS".

"Have you ever had to re-install Windows from scratch? If so you know what a slow and tedious process it can be. But if you take a few precautions there's no need for you ever to do it again." See http://www.techsupportalert.com/partitioning-hard-drives-1.htm Parts 1, 2 and 3.

The best way to backup your computer files or computer hard drive is to do hard drive imaging. If you do the HARD DRIVE IMAGING you will enjoying the full use of your computer again within about 1 hour after a computer crash, virus infection or other major computer failure. See http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2259168,00.asp

Hard Drive Imaging does not completely take the place of backing up your drive. You will have to do incremental backups of the image with or without a schedule using one of the image making or backup programs.

You can place the hard drive image on another internal or external hard drive and in a new partition.

Obtain the best HARD DRIVE IMAGING freeware at:
http://www.techsupportalert.com/best-free-drive-imaging-program.htm

XXCLONE is a simple hard drive imaging freeware obtained at: http://www.xxclone.com/ A "How to..." is: HERE
The freeware version of XXCLONE does not do incremental backups. XXCLONE will make only a floppy booting disk. Use XXCLONE for placing an image on only an internal hard drive.

The more complex free Paragon Backup and Recovery 2010 software is obtained here: http://www.paragon-software.com/home/db-express/

8. Startup or Boot Disk
You might need this to get back into the computer if you have big problems.
Make a Startup or Boot Disk by going to My Computer, right-clicking on the A: drive and choosing "Format...". You must have an A: drive and you must install one or buy an external floppy drive.
See here for more details http://www.computerhope.com/boot.htm

9. Disk Compression
Do not compress your hard drive because it will increase your risk of data loss and other things.

10. Organization
File Manager
Reorganize directories and files
Rename directories and files

Bookmarks
Organizing of Web/Internet Bookmark/Favorites

My Bookmarks

Managing Your Bookmarks and Favorites
http://www.livinginternet.com/w/wu_surf_bkmk.htm

11. Computer Parts and Hardware
CD Drive and burner
CPU (Central Processing Unit)
DVD drive and burner
Hard drive(s)
Keyboard
Mass storage
Memory - RAM (Random Access Memory) - 1 Gig or more
Modem
Monitor
Mouse
Scanners - must have an excellent OCR (Optical Character Recognition) program
Surge Protector

See details about these things at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_hardware

12. Printing
Money Saving Hints About Inkjet Printers
Money saving suggestions about using CISs
Money saving suggestions about refilling ink cartridges
http://www.encinojon.com/inkjet/

13. Software
Check system requirements before buying.
Buy software from Crigslist, computer shows, Computer Periodicals and on the Internet at eBay. Look at some eBay buying hints at: http://www.encinojon.com/ebay/ You must have a PayPal account to buy most things.

When installing new programs, try to make the programs not open at computer start-up or remove it from the START MENU and make a shortcut on the Desktop.

Free Programs and Tools - the Best
See many of the best FREE programs at Gizmo's at http://www.techsupportalert.com/

A Great list of many FREE programs (tools) are at Windows Secrets at http://windowssecrets.com/
http://www.freebyte.com/antivirus/


14. Help Websites
http://pcsupport.about.com/?once=true∓
http://www.helpwithwindows.com/
http://annoyances.org
http://www.pcmech.com/


15. Computer Definitions, Dictionary, Encyclopedia and Search Engine
http://www.techweb.com/encyclopedia/

16. Upgrade
CD to DVD drive
DVD drive - faster speed
Hard drive size - replace with larger to 1 GB - research motherboard for max size
Hard drive - add 2nd for backup/imaging - research motherboard for max size
Operating system version - Windows 2000 to XP or 7 - NOT VISTA - research motherboard
RAM size - 500 MB to 1 or 2 GB - research motherboard for max size
USB card

17. Computer Problems
Program locks up (stalls)
Holding down Ctrl +Alt and press Delete once, Close Program box appears, Click program you want to close and Click End Task, Dialog box appears and Click End Task to close program. You could have virus or malware in your computer. Reboot and rapidly press F8 to gain access to the "Safe Mode" and then use your security software to scan for viruses or malware. See my Computer Internet Security class and website at http://www.encinojon.com/comintsec/

If you have big problems and the above doesn't work, try a keyboard soft reboot by holding down Ctrl +Alt and press Delete twice or the reboot button on the front of computer or unplug the computer.
Also try turning off your computer, wait 5 minutes before turning it back on.

Best Free Technical Support Sites are at http://www.techsupportalert.com/best_free_tech_support_sites.htm

Best computer troubleshooting sites http://www.techsupportalert.com/best_troubleshooting_sites.htm

Use your computer or another computer to search the Internet for a solution to your problem.

18. Internet Problems
Web site stalls - click the "Reload" button.
Restart your computer when your "resources" drop below 70%.

19. Repairs
Computer
I suggest that you do all the work below BEFORE you need it because you might not be able to do it when there are computer problems or a crash!


When you need to replace or remove the operating system or hard drive or fully reformat the hard drive:
Make an inventory of what is on your present hard drive such as:
a. Fonts
b. Programs installed
c. Peripheral equipment

Locate all your disks for the programs, motherboard, drives and other peripheral equipment such as printers and scanners.
Replace lost drivers using the Web site at: http://www.driverworld.dk/
Driver problems and solutions are at: http://www.driverforum.com/

Save copies of:
All setups/configurations for programs
Bios
Bookmarks/Favorites
Browser setup entries
Data files
Document files
Email addresses (Address Book)
Email Inbox and Sent
ISP settings
FTP setup entries
Fonts
Graphics and photos
Passwords

Copy items to be saved to another mass storage device
Burn a CD or DVD or use a flash drive, external USB hard drive or extra internal hard drive.


Monitor
To fix a bad or stuck pixel in a LCD monitor see http://www.wikihow.com/Fix-a-Stuck-Pixel-on-an-LCD-Monitor

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