To help your computer run as smoothly as possible it is important to defragment and clean your hard disk drives routinely. Defragmenting your hard disk drives forces your computer to rearrange any unorganized program files in a more efficient way. And, the disk cleanup feature removes any unnecessary files from your computer. Performing these two operations at least once a month will keep your computer running faster and more smoothly.
How To Defragment Your PC
To access the disk defragmenter, right-click on the “My Computer” icon and select Manage. Expand the “Storage” menu if you need to and click on “Disk Defragmenter”. The Disk Defragmenter pane will open to the right. Select the drive you wish to defragment. If you have only one drive it will automatically be selected. Click the “Defragment” button to begin the defragmentation process. This may take up to an hour depending on the state of your computer. You will be able to track the progress by looking at the progress bar at the bottom of the disk defragmenter pane.
To access the disk cleanup tool Click on Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, and then Disk Cleaup. In the files to delete window you can specify which files should be removed from your compuer. Typically you want to delete any temporary internet files and anything in your recycle bin. All items in the list are not important to the operation of your computer and can be deleted. To start the disk cleanup, click OK.
If you don’t want to have to manually run the cleanup tool every month you can use Windows XP to schedule this recurring event so that once a month, at the time you specify the computer will run it on its own. To schedule tasks you will need to use the Scheduled Tasks icon in the Control Panel.
Open your Control Panel and double-click the “Scheduled Tasks” icon. Next, double-click the “Add Scheduled Task” icon to open the Scheduled Task Wizard and click Next. In the list of programs click the task you would like to schedule. For now let’s add the disk cleanup task. Click Disk Cleanup and then click Next. Click the Monthly option button and click Next. In the start time box, change the time to the hour and minute you would like the cleanup performed. This should be a time when our computer will be left on but not in use. You may wish to set it for midnight for example. Click the day of the week you would like the task performed and then click Next. Click Finish to schedule the disk cleanup task. Now your computer will perform a disk cleanup once a month on the day and time you selected.