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Disk Defragmentation

Your computer stores data; including pictures and documents in predetermined data “packages” with any one document being broken into one or more of these packages.  The analogy of train cars can be used here, imagine a line of similar sized cars - in the beginning your computer will fill these cars with the data packages in an orderly fashion. Now you delete some information from a saved document, effectively emptying that cars package.  When storing the next document the computer fill’s the empty car but now has to go several cars down the row to deposit the rest of the packages of data that make up that document.
Following this line of thought you might see that over time your computer will become very disorganized.  This disorganization costs the user time waiting for the computer to find all the packages that make up any given saved item.  In general it slows down everything that runs on the computer. The answer is to reorganize your computers cars!

Beginning with the Vista operating system, your computer will start to automatically defragment after it is idle for a few minutes.  It is possible to do this manually if needed.  In Windows 8 you can start by doing a “Search” for “Defragmentation and Optimization”.

For older Operating Systems;
ACK stresses that the user should read every message the computer gives them and advance through the screen instructions with some caution.  USE the HELP button or the F1 key to clarify any actions or words that are unclear, use the Cancel button if necessary, and most importantly be patient.

1) Begin by closing everything that is running on the computer including virus protection and screen savers.  This step is not always needed depending on your operating system or the speed of the processor in your computer but will always save time (minutes) when running this tool.

2) Now left click (for standard mice) on the START button, the ALL Programs tab, the Accessories tab, and finally the System Tools tab; the user is presented with a menu.  From the menu select the Disk Defragmentation tool and click on it.  A window will appear, look for two buttons, one marked Analyze and the other marked Defragment.  Click on the Defragment button and sit back as this may take a awhile.  The more often you do this the less time it will take.

This task should get done at least twice a year.  Remember to turn on any “protection” that was turned off after you have run this task.

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Disk Cleanup

Disk Cleanup enables you to clear or compress your disk’s files..

The Disk Cleanup tool uses a “compression” formula to streamline the files kept on the computer, it also looks for unused items such as scripts that might have come (harmlessly or not) from opening web pages.

Compression is fairly complicated but as a simple example let’s say that in any given document the word “the” will equal the number 1 - every time the computer saves the word “the” in upper or lower case it throws out two characters “h” and “e”.  In the case of having hundreds of occurrences of the word “the” you can see that the savings is sizable, now imagine that the computer replaces the word “computer” with the number 2.
Compression is not as simple as the examples here but trust that in most cases it will halve the size of your file or document and also trust that it will decrypt it such that you’ll never know it was squeezed.

Disk Cleanup will not happen automatically even after clicking the Disk Cleanup button, it will ask the user if they want to continue.  We stress that the user should read everything and advance with some caution.  This tool does not automatically delete anything from your computer but you will need to go look (Windows Explorer or Program List) for those things that Disk Cleanup considers as being unused for some period of time.  In many cases Disk Cleaner will actually store unused programs in a folder that it will put on your open (desktop) display screen.

This task should be done at least twice a year.

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