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Ways to Maintain Your PC

Updated on February 13, 2013

Every PC owner wants to keep that machine running smoothly. In this Part of
Tens chapter, I outline several tricks that you can use to keep your machine
reliable and stable. Some of these tips cost money (such as selecting faster hard-ware), but others won’t cost you a cent. Go, Speed Racer, go!

Defragment Your Hard Drive

Over weeks and months of use, computers running any version of Windows XP and
Vista will invariably slow down significantly because of hard drive fragmentation.
First, a quick explanation about fragmentation: When you delete a file from your
hard drive, that area of your hard drive can then accept data from another file. If the
file to be saved is larger than this open area, however, Windows must split the file
into fragments. When your computer needs to load a file, Windows automatically
(and invisibly) reassembles these fragments back into the complete file. However,
the more fragmented the files are on your hard drive, the longer this step takes, and
the slower your PC becomes.
When you defragment your hard drive (called a defrag), the program rearranges the
data on your hard drive so that each file is contiguous(no longer divided up into indi-vidual fragments) — making it much easier and faster for Windows to read that file
when you ask for it!
To defragment your hard drive, follow these simple steps:

Windows XP

1. Click the Start button, and then choose Programs➪Accessories➪
System Tools➪Disk Defragmenter.
2. From the list that appears, click the drive you want to defragment.

3. Click the Defragment button.
4. When the defragment is complete, click the Close button on the Disk
Defragmenter window to exit the program.

Windows Vista



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