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Keep Your Computer In Shape

Many of us find out computers slowing down and/or having aggravating little problems that conspire to rob our time, patience and productivity. This condition normally occurs a little at a time and is hardly noticeable until suddenly one day things just are not right anymore. Here are a few common problems and what you can do to fix them, as well as prevent them.

My printer won’t print.
If it has paper and toner/ink and there’s no paper jam, but it still won’t print, try a few of these tips.

Delete your old printers. Windows does a pretty good job of detecting and setting up most new printers when connected, but it never gets rid of the printers that are no longer being used. Click on Control Panel, then click the printers icon and check out the printers installed on your computer. If there are any old printers listed, get rid of them. Just click your right mouse button on a printer you no longer use, and then click delete. Continue until you have only the printer(s) you actually use listed in the window. Your printer should resume working normally. Whenever you upgrade/switch to a new printer on your computer, take the time to remove the old one you are replacing.

Turn your printer off, wait thirty seconds, turn it back on. Sometimes Windows seems to forget that your printer is there. Often, this trick will restore normal function; if not, try restarting Windows.

My programs take to long to start; my computer is slower than it used to be.
Restart your computer. Restarting your computer is best done daily, first thing in the morning.

Check your anti-virus programs. Some (like McAfee) will lock down every conceivable threat to your computer. While this sounds like a good thing, it is often overkill. You want protection from Internet-based intrusion, e-mail scanning, scanning downloaded files and spyware, but do you really need to virus check your DMS system, spreadsheets, documents etc. every time you click on an icon or open a Word document? Normally, NO. For this type of total protection, schedule a daily complete scan of your hard drives for 1:00 a.m. and relax a tad.

Remove every trial version of software on your computer. If you haven’t tried it or bought it by now, you don’t really need it. Click on the Control Panel; then click Add/Remove programs. Review the list of installed programs and get rid of anything you don’t use by clicking on the program and then clicking Change/Remove.

Remove any old, no longer used programs from your computer using the same procedure as above.

Run Disk Cleanup. Click Start, then All Programs, then Accessories, then System Tools, then Disk Cleanup. Now select all the items you wish to get rid of. You’ll at least want to get rid of contents of the Temporary Internet Files folder, Recycle Bin, Temporary Offline Files and Downloaded Program Files.

My computer takes forever to start/restart.
Eliminate most of the automatic startup programs on your computer. Click Run, which is in the Start menu, and type in MSCONFIG. Then click the Startup tab. Disable all but the necessary programs by clicking the box next to each, thereby removing the check mark that tells them to load automatically. MSCONFIG will prompt you to restart your system when you are done; go ahead. You can always reinstate anything that you may really need by rerunning MSCONFIG.

These tips probably won’t solve all of your problems, but it’s an excellent start. Keep this list handy and try these tips every couple of months and you will find that your computer runs consistently better.

Vol 5, Issue 9

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