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Follow these instructions to use the Weekly Cleanup folder on your desktop for Windows XP only.
(If you haven't created it yet, Click here for instructions)

JAN 2009- Here's an easy method if you're lazy like me

1. Open the first item (1. Internet Options). This is a dialog box and has buttons to click to Delete Cookies, Temporary Internet Files and History. Do all 3. Be sure to check the box to delete Offline content as well. You will see this in the small window that comes up after you click Delete Files.

Note about Cookies: These are small text files added to your computer by sites visited on the Internet. They may contain user names and passwords for special sites you visit. After deleting them, you may have to enter the information again when you visit the site. An example is if you have a Yahoo user name for e-mail or other features. This user name is stored in a cookie and is accessed whenever you visit Yahoo. After deleting cookies, Yahoo will ask you to log in with your user name and store it in a new cookie. For a detailed explanation of cookies, click here.

2. Open the second item (Disk Cleanup) Wait for the analysis to complete. May take a while. Click OK to cleanup the C drive. Check the boxes on items you want deleted. Suggest leaving the Compress choice unchecked. That will add a lot of time to the process. Click OK and then Yes. This window closes automatically when done.

Notes about "Scandisk" for previous users of Win 9x/Me:. This tool has been replaced by Checkdisk in XP. It seems to have gone backward to DOS days, but the NT technology has always worked this way.

Scandisk (or Checkdisk) searches the hard drive for errors in registration between the actual files on the drive and the record of where they are. Similar to the card file in a library. If you have a card and the book is missing, you remove the card. If you have a book and no card, you remove the book.

In XP, this procedure is not necessary before doing a defrag as in previous versions of Windows. It can still be done, but there is no menu in System Tools for it. To access it, open My Computer, Right click on the C drive and choose Properties and then choose the Tools tab to get this dialog box:

 

Click the Check Now Button to get this box:

Check the Automatically fix errors box. (If you check the "Scan for bad sectors" box, it will take hours and is only needed if you suspect a failing drive.) Click Start and you will get a message that it will be run the next time you start Windows. Click OK.

Note: the next step (Defrag) can be also be done in the Properties box above.

3. Open the third item (Disk Defragmenter) This program scans the hard drive to reorganize it for more efficient operation. Often called Disk Optimizer. Click OK to Defrag the C drive. If it says "You don't need to run Defrag", do it anyway. Click Start. When done, It will ask if you want to quit Defrag. Answer Yes. In XP, you may see more than one drive. Many XP computers include a separate drive letter for the "Recovery" information (Notably HP machines). Do not defrag the "Recovery" drive.

Close all windows. You now have a clean machine.

Notes:

If Scandisk or Defrag gives an error message that says something like "The program has restarted 10 times. Do you want to continue?", click No and look for another way to run the program. This happens because a program running in the background (like Norton AntiVirus) keeps reactivating the hard drive and making Scandisk or Defrag restart at the beginning because it detects an apparent change in the drive's contents. There are 3 methods to solve this. One is to use Ctrl, Alt, Del to shut down all running programs. (See note below) When you restart the computer, these will all return. The second method is the restart the computer in SafeMode. Click Here to learn how to do this. A third method is to use Msconfig to close all unnecessary programs. You can use this method to shut down your antivirus program (the usual cause of the problem) and then don't forget to use Msconfig to turn the antivirus back on again after the defrag.

Note: CTRL-ALT-DEL works differently in XP. It looks like this:

The applications tab shows the visible running programs. It does not show the background programs as in the 98/Me style. Switching to the Processes tab shows the background programs.

Since it is very difficult to know what these processes represent, it is better to use the msconfig method to shut off the background programs.

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