to Better Computer Resources
may not realize it, but your computer has a
TEMP directory, or at least it should!
directory is a place on your hard drive where
applications can place working files while
you're using them. Say you open Microsoft Word,
and then open Excel. While you're in Excel,
operating files in Word can hang out in your
TEMP directory waiting for you to get back
should you crash your computer while you
have those programs open, the working files
don't have the opportunity to properly close
out. So they get locked up in there and start
to accumulate. This can cause memory problems
because your computer gets confused when
it finds too many similar files all hanging
around. "Hey...it's getting crowded in here
and I can't concentrate!"
if you use email and open those fun EXE files
that all your friends send you, where do
you think they go to open? Your TEMP directory,
where else! And guess what? They're probably
still sitting in there, eating up resources
and taking up space, even after you thought
you deleted them.
to Clean the Closets!
never cleaned out your TEMP directory.
Geez, you didn't even know you had one!
So let's get after it now. Close all your
applications first to make sure nothing
you have running is using that space. Then
right click your Start button to open the
mini menu. Click Explore. This is an easy
way to get to your Windows Explorer to
see the directories and files on your hard
drive. (Or if you have a Windows key on your keyboard, you can just hit Windows + E to open Windows Explorer.)
scroll down your directories under your main
'C' drive. You'll be looking for a directory
called TEMP, which will usually be found
either under c:\temp or c:\windows\temp.
WinXP Users...Note! If
you are using one of the newer operating systems,
such as Windows XP, you'll have to go to your real temp
directory, which is found under c:\documents
and settings\[your name]\local settings\temp. And if you don't see this path on your computer, there's a good chance that you still have the default settings on your computer that hide these folders. See this article to learn how to change these settings so you can more easily work with your computer: Why Does Explorer Think I Only Want to See My Documents.
you open your TEMP directory, you'll probably
see lots of files. Any files starting with
a tilde ( ~ ) and/or ending with TMP are
dead crashed files and you can feel free
to delete them. You may find lots of other
stuff in there, but this directory should
be clean! Most likely, the other files are
duplicate copies of files you opened via
email, docs and exe files. Until you have
time to go through them all to make sure
you don't need them any longer, it's a
good idea to move them out to some other
note! Microsoft Word tends to put
most of its temp files in the current active directory—the
one where the document you're using is located.
So you might also want to search your hard
drive for files with ~*.tmp. The ~ (tilde)
will locate all files starting with a temporary
tilde designation. The * is your wild
card that covers whatever the files could
be called. And the .tmp assures that these
are actual temp files. You can then feel
free to delete these files.
Once you get
used to checking the contents of your temp
directory more often, you'll become familiar
with the stuff you'll find in there and you'll
begin to notice a lot of the same stuff reappearing.
By that time, you'll also feel more comfortable
just hitting Ctrl/A to select all, and
hitting the ol' delete key to trash all the
Mean There are MORE Closets?
cleaned out your TEMP directory and that's
great. But there are other things you should
do to clean up your hard drive. Delete
any old files you no longer need. Now that
doesn't mean that you go into your directories
and start ripping out any files you don't
recognize, because' chances are they're
important program files! I'm talking about
doc files and images you know you no longer
also others that you may not realize are accumulating.
When you go on the Internet
and surf a page with your browser, all those
pages and images are being cached [pronounced
cashed] on your hard drive. This is
a good thing, because it saves you time when
you're on the
Internet, by more quickly retrieving pages
you've visited before.
is where temporary copies of files are saved.
Depending on the space
settings your browser defaults to, you
may have lots of files eating up your hard
space. So open your browser and look for
preferences or options settings.
You may have to dig into advanced preferences/options.
You're looking for a setting for your cache
or temporary Internet files. Once
you find that setting, you might want
to not only
delete the stored files you have accumulated
so far by clicking the delete button, but
you can also lower the space allocated
your cache with the Settings button.
Should I Delete my Cookies?
people hate computer cookies. These
are files put in your cache while you're
the net. They contain a small amount of
code that, when you return to that site,
can tell the site who you are if
with them or visited them before. This
can be a good thing, or it can be a
bad thing. I guess it depends on who
and what you do while online.
you do banking, shopping or have to register
with a special site in order to return again
without reregistering, you've got a cookie
for that site on your computer. When you
clear your cache, you'll most likely be asked
if you'd also like to remove all your cookies.
I'd suggest you don't! This may cause you
to lose registration on sites that are important
better suggestion is to go into your browser
cache manually after you've removed the basic
junk and check for your cookies. You can
fairly easily read them because they'll have
your name or computer name and the address
to the site. If the site is something important,
leave it. If it's junk, delete it. It's
can also set an option in your browser, somewhere
under your option settings, depending on
what browser you use, to notify you when
some site is attempting to save a cookie
to your computer. Then you can either write
down the site to delete that cookie later...or
refuse it while you're there.
Important Notes! If
you refuse a cookie while on a site, the site
will most likely kick you out. Also note that...more recently, many cookies have now become a problem due to the fact that many sites now try to use tracking cookies, or Spyware to track your movements in an effort to track marketing trends. There are many anti-spyware programs available that you can run to remove these more intrusive cookies. Many of these programs are free, such as AdAware. Or you can download this free program that I found to be quite useful in allowing me to manually inspect/delete cookies on my computer. See these two articles for details: Crushin' Cookies and Hey, Who’s Peeping Through My Windows?
you've cleaned out your old files, you've
cleared out your TEMP directory, and you've
cleared your browser cache and crushed a bunch of useless cookies. Very good! There
are a couple other things you can do, but
so far, you've done the most important ones
that will help free up resources and help
If you have time,
you should also run a scandisk to
check for errors on your hard drive. When
crash, you can have pieces of files left
on your hard drive—file bits scattered
So it's helpful to check for those every
few weeks or months, depending on how
much you use your computer. And it's a good idea to also defrag your computer to reorganize those pieces to help your system run more efficiently.
Today Trash Day?
you do the internal checking, it's a good
idea to take out the garbage. Right
click your trash can and empty it! This
will save you time because you won't be
checking all the files you assume have been
the scandisk utility. You can either
search Help off your Start menu,
or right click on your C drive and
a wonderful job! Now there's one last clean
up. However, realize that this step can
take a long time, maybe a few hours.
So if you don't have a program that allows
you to set these tasks at a time when you're
cozy in bed, then plan it for a time when
you don't need your computer. Also very
important—although newer versions of
Windows won't allow you to run a Defrag before you run a Scandisk to check for
errors. Trust me! I learned the hard
way...you must run a scandisk BEFORE you Defrag your hard drive! Otherwise you
run the risk of trashing projects. You
can tear their file structure up and destroy
them. Been there!
And newer versions
of Windows helps you bypass all those resident programs
that cause the Defrag and Scandisk to restart,
by setting up requests for these tools to run
the next time to restart your computer. This
allows them to run before all the excess applications
are loaded, which saves time and helps avoid
hard drive corruption.
See this article for more details: What the Heck IS Defragmenting Anyway and Why Do I Need To Do It?
Thought *I* Was My Computer's Driver?
I guess in a way you are the person driving your
computer. But there are also drivers in
your computer that help your computer talk to
various components, such as your printer and
your monitor. Inside your computer, there is
a video card for your monitor. But you also
need a video driver to make things show up
monitor. HA, you choose the wrong video
driver and you'll see just how important they
are, because you won't see much of anything!
Video drivers can get old. Manufacturers regularly
put newer models on their web sites which you
can download, free of charge, to upgrade your
video driver. If you get a new application
and it's doing strange things, especially freezing
up, most likely you need to upgrade
your video driver.
can try a test to see if your
video is the problem. Either click Start/Settings/Control
slip the hardware accelerator down two knotches.
See if that helps. If so, upgrade your
and later reset your accelerator.
Note! On newer
versions of Windows, you may have to dig around
to find the Hardware Accelerator. Try
checking the Control Panel/Display settings.
Particularly under the Advanced and/or Troubleshooting tabs.
It's in there—somewhere! It may also be on
some advanced tab in the Properties for your
same is true for your printer. Printers need
print drivers to tell your printer what the
applications are trying to tell it so your
pages print properly. If your print driver
is old, your pages can print out whacky!
Programmers keep up with the latest technology
when they create new programs. If you're
still using that old print driver from when
you first got that printer, chances are
it won't know about the new technology and
it can cause pages to print incorrectly.
So it's important to update this driver,
simply need to find the manufacturer of your
devices (video card or printer) and locate
their web site. Search out the specific model
number you need, download the new version
and usually just double click the file to
start the install. Most sites will give you
discover what type of video card you have,
click Start/Settings/ControlPanel. Then either
open your Display icon for Video info or
your Printer icon for printer details and
follow the next paragraph for your device...
video, once you open the Display icon,
click the Settings tab. Depending on
your operating system, you'll see another button
Device, Adapter or Advanced.
Somewhere in there, you'll find lots of information
to write down about your video card. The
version, etc. (See the image below for an
example of what info you can find.)
printers, once you open the Printer icon.
You'll see all the printers you have installed
listed. Right click on the printer
you need to investigate, then click the Properties choice
from the mini menu that'll appear. Now here
you'll have to play detective because
most printer dialogs are different. But ferret
around and search for a button that says
About. Click it and you'll see the details
about the driver you're running. Write that
you just need to go to the web and find your
manufacturer and see if they're offering
a newer driver. You can go to a search engine
(I prefer Google for the best hits.) So go
to http://www.google.com and type in the
name of the company you need.
there you have it. Keep that puppy clean
and in good order, and you'll experience
a lot less problems. Now get in there and
rip up that hard drive!
If the troubleshooting techniques above didn't solve your problems...see this article for other ideas and articles links:
Troubleshooting Computer (and MS Word) Errors