Maintain Performance: Window’s System Utilities

By | August 23, 2014

I’ve explored and written about Windows Registry Keys, which is as we know by now is part of all Windows operating system’s software package. With that said let’s turn our attention to the tangible elements of the computer; its  hardware components, and Windows system utilities. A computer’s life is prolonged if maintenance is performed periodically to keep it running efficiently.

Some retail stores offer a service package which takes the burden off the consumer to perform these tasks for a price. But to perform system clean ups isn’t difficult or time consuming as you might think and on top of that you may even find it rewarding taking matters into your own hands.

Windows Disk Clean Up:
View Temporary Internet files
Delete Temporary files in Internet Explorer
Windows Defragmenter
How often should I defragment my system?
To Analyze
To Defragment a Disk:
System Configuration Utility
System Restore – Windows 7
To Open System Restore
How to Create a Restore Point
Disclosure

The inside of a chassis (computer case).

The Motherboard

 

Computer hardware consist of the mouse, keyboard, monitor, hard drive, sound and graphic cards, CD / DVD drive, memory chips, etc. It’s basically anything tangible…anything you can physically touch / hold in your hands.

Learning how to maintain, upgrade, and troubleshoot your system puts you ahead of the curve. It’s really easy to learn how to diagnose problems, which can save you lots of time and money. I remember when I purchased my first personal computer; it was a NEC X86 and I was afraid to touch it.

But as time passed I learned I couldn’t hurt the thing; it did my bidding. As long as I didn’t’ knock it over, drop it, or spill coffee on it everything was Gucci. From then on it was easy for me to learn how to upgrade, install / uninstall software,  and defrag. It was more fun than work. The following are step-by-step common tasks I use to keep my computer working efficiently:


Windows Disk Clean Up:

To help your computer fun faster and regain hard disk space Disk Clean up is a Windows utility that will remove temporary files, empty the Recycle Bin, and unused system files.

Disk Cleanup

 

    1. Click the Start button > In the Search programs and files type cleanmgr.ex
  • In the drive list click the hard disk you wish to clean and > click OK.
  • In the Dialog box on the Disk Clean up tab check or uncheck the files you want to delete or omit for the cleanup process > click OK.
  • In the message box click > Delete files.

View Temporary Internet Files:

Removing IEs temporary Internet files will delete previous viewed webpages and speed up the computer.

    1. Click Start >In the Search programs and files type iexplore > click Tools on the menu bar > the General tab is displayed > under Browsing history > click Settings
  • In the Website Data Settings Dialog box > click View files

 

IE Website Datra Setings


 

Delete Temporary Files in Internet Explorer:

Click Start > In the Search programs and files type iexplore > Click Tools on the menu bar > the General tab is displayed > under Browsing history > click Delete

IEBeware: If you check the Cookies and Website data box and have a shopping cart stored per se at Best Buy or Amazon it will delete your visited website preferences and shopping basket.


Windows Defragmenter:

Over time files are added  to the hard drive and they become fragmented, in other words  the clusters making up the files are no longer adjacent to one another. Fragmented files slow down a computer in basically two ways:

1. The system has to keep track of all the scatters clusters.

2. The hard drive’s read/write head assembly has to move around to different locations on the drive’s surface to consolidate a single file.

As we request information from the computer by clicking links or typing on the keyboard sometimes it takes awhile before we get a response. This is happening because files are scattered across the hard drive and the read/write heads are moving inefficiently joining the files needed to produce our requests. In other words, the files are discontinuous and need to be continuous clusters.

This is when a utility created by Microsoft comes into play and it called Disk Defragmenter. It collects and rejoins files to their associated clusters.  After defragmenting the hard drive is becomes responsive and runs more efficiently. This task also can prolongs the life of the hard drive because the mechanical movements are reduced.


 

How often should I defragment my system?

Users who like myself delete files often and constantly revise should perform defragmentation. Although I  sometimes take advantage and use the  Analyze feature and check the View Report button to see if my drive actually needs a defrag. Defrag can also be scheduled to run when ever you like. I would suggest to defrag your system at least 2 times a month.

 

How to open Disk Defragmenter in Windows 7:

1. Click the Start button > In the Search programs and files field type dfrgui.


To Analyze:

This process will display the percentage of the disk is fragmented; if the disk is above 10% it should be defragged.

1. Select the disk and click the Analyze Disk button.

Windows Analyze option


To Defragment a Disk:

Select a disk > click Defragment Disk button. Just in case you want to stop the process you have the option of aborting by Stop Operation.

Windows Defragment option

When completed > Click Close.


System Configuration Utility:

System configuration a/k/a MSCONFIG is used to identify and troubleshoot problems which prevent your system from starting properly. The Dialog box has tabs and each one represents a specific type of configuration. The following is a description of each System Configuration:

Microsoft MSCONFIG dialog boxThe General tab: It lists your choices for startup.

1. Normal startup: It starts up Windows normally.

2. Diagnostic startup: Starts basic services and drivers only and is used to rule out basic Windows files as the issue.

3. Selective startup: Start basic services and drivers and applications you choose.

The Boot tab:

1. Safe boot– Minimal: At startup opens the Windows command line in safe mode starting only critical system services without Networking.

2. Safe boot – Alternate shell: Opens the command line on startup in safe mode running only critical system services without Networking and our friendly graphical interface.

3. Safe boot – Active Directory repair: Opens in safe mode with our user-friendly graphical interface with critical services and Active Directory.

4. Safe boot – Network: At startup opens with the user friendly interface in safe mode with critical services and Networking.

5. No GUI (Graphical User Interface) boot: Skips the Windows Welcome screen on startup.

6. Base log: The %SystemRoot%Ntbtlog.txt contains data from the startup process.

7. Base video: At Startup the user interface is opened in minimal VGA mode.

8. OS boot information: Displays and identify drivers as they load during startup.

9. Make all boot setting permanent: You can usually make adjustments by selecting the Normal boot process , but if this is selected you can only make changes manually by going back and unchecking the options you selected.

The Services tab: Services lists all the services currently running on your system and those that are stopped. You can filter them by clicking each button by Service – Manufacturer – Status and also if you’ve disabled any it will display them by date disabled. It allows you to uncheck to stop a service from running at startup in order to pin point which service is causing or contributing to startup problems.

You have the option to Hide All Microsoft Services and just show the services from third parties. If by chance you’ve have chosen Selective startup on the General tab you have to either choose Normal startup on the General tab or check off the services’s to have it run again at startup.

Caution: If you disable a service that is normally ran at startup it will cause instability and end up causing a malfunction. Be aware of the dependencies a service(s) you disable may have.

Disable all:  Will not disable all of the secure Microsoft services needed to operate the system at startup.

 

Windows System Configuration Utility The Startup tab:This list consist of application currently running on the computer at startup. It includes the publisher’s name, the path to the executable file, the location of the registry subkey / shortcut that initiates the application to run. Un checking the  an application will disable it on the next start up.

If by chance you’ve have chosen Selective startup on the General tab you have to either choose Normal startup on the General tab or check off the services’s to have it run again at startup. If you’re concerned an application has been compromised or corrupted you can confirm it’s location in the Command column to see its path to the executable file.

Tools tab: Offers a host of diagnostic tools you can run and information. If the computer doesn’t start: This might be a sign that the Master Boot Record (MBR) is damaged and to repair it you need the Windows installation disk (hopefully you created one via Backup and RestoreCreate a system repair disc in Control Panel).

  1. Insert the system repair disk.
  2. Restart the computer
  3. Select Windows 7 > click Next.
  4. Select Command prompt and the BOOTREC /fixboot will fix the damaged Master Boot Record.
  5. Finally, click Exit >  remove the DVD > restart the computer.

When you disable applications that usually run at start up it could end up affecting other applications and may disrupt their functionality.


System Restore – Windows 7:

Just so you know or have already figured out you’ll left click the mouse 99% of the time using computer applications.
System restore is an excellent Windows utility that will restore you system to a previous version or earlier point in time. It will NOT alter or affect your personal files, such as pictures, documents, or e-mail.

The Restore Point comes in very handy when your system is infected by a virus, a program or application is installed triggering irregular behavior. You could resolve these types of issues if you merely uninstall the application or restart the system; however, if that doesn’t work the system restore is the answer unless the virus / malware prevent executable files from running.

How the restore point works is a feature called System Protection which on a regular basis will create and save restore points which contain registry configuration and more. Restoring personal files that have been corrupted or deleted is not a function of System Restore; therefore they will not be restored.


To Open System Restore:

In Search Program Files box type – System Restore > Left click System Restore listed in Program 1.

System Restore

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If prompted to enter the administrator password then do so. Left Click Next.

 

Second dialog box of system restore

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At this point as you can see I have 2 restore point I can choose from. Choose the point where you know the computer was running perfectly> Left click Next. Continue to follow the easy instructions to completion.


How to Create a Restore Point:

You can also manually create restore point in cases where you intend to install a new application or game.

System Restore in Windows 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re proactive you’ll create a restore point manually. Left click Start button > Right click Computer > Left click Properties.

 

System Restore recovery choice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Left click System Protection > Left click Create. Enter short description > Left click Create. Continue to follow the easy instructions to completion.

Conclusion:

To optimize pc performance is not a waste of time; it’s a waste of money. Anything within time degrades if not properly cared for and computers are no different. So, protect your investment and try some of these tasks and you’ll be amazed at what you alone can accomplish.


Full Disclosure:

The links / banners on windowsregistrykeys.com are affiliate links, which they have granted this website the honor of advertising their merchandise. I will earn a commission if you click on the link or make a purchase using that link. If you make a purchase, the price you pay will be the same whether you use my affiliate link or go directly to the vendor’s website. By using my affiliate links, you are helping support this site and I genuinely appreciate your patronage.


Author: Wanda

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      I have to admit computer fascinate me still. They’re advancements are constant therefore always something to learn and experience.

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